It seemed all too appropriate that the scoreboard clock at Franklin Field read 9:11 when backup running back Todd Okolovitch broke into the end zone for the Penn football team's seventh touchdown on Saturday. But for a Dartmouth defense that could seemingly do nothing right all day long, the game had ended and the call for help had been extended a long, long time before this prophetic 911 appeared above the west end zone. When asked where his squad could go after this loss, Big Green coach John Lyons summed it up nicely. "The first thing we can do is get on the bus and get the hell out of here," Lyons said. Four minutes into the Quakers' 48-14 dismantling of Dartmouth, the Big Green found themselves on top, 7-0. But five minutes later -- courtesy of a Kris Ryan four-yard touchdown run and a pair of 35-yard strikes from quarterback Gavin Hoffman to Colin Smith and Rob Milanese -- the Quakers had responded with three quick touchdowns to go up 21-7. This quick turnaround was replete with the big-play offense that the Quakers have come to love through three games of the 2000 season. "I just think we got on little bit of a roll, and made some plays early, and got some momentum, and took advantage of some opportunities, and things kind of snowballed from there," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "I don't think anybody in their wildest imagination could have predicted this kind of score." Perhaps the Quakers thought the game was measured in how quickly they could find the end zone, because the home team didn't seem content to settle for lengthy drives. The first 15 minutes of Saturday's contest saw Penn's offense put together six plays good for 20 yards or more, including a 33-yard rush by Ryan and five long strikes from Hoffman to a variety of wide-open receivers. "I think we're really coming along in the passing game, and we're really learning the new offense," Milanese said. "We're getting a lot more comfortable, and we're finding hot reads on some of the plays." Hoffman's accuracy (25-for-30), the Quakers' receivers' sure hands and game-breaking ability, combined with the return of Ryan gives Penn an offensive attack sure to leave opponents crying out for help. "We came out and had a great first drive, and then they came out and went right down the field. They had a good plan against us and spread us out," Lyons said. "We tried everything. We blitzed, and everything we could do we did. Gavin ran the offense real well." The Red and Blue's quick-strike success -- four of seven scoring drives were six plays or less -- is a feature that any coach is sure to envy. And while the Quakers demonstrated sterling ball control on a 13-play, 88-yard drive in the fourth quarter, Penn's ability to pull off a 20- or 30-yard play seemingly at will is what makes it all the more dangerous. "It's not like we have only one or two guys that I go to," said Hoffman, who found Milanese three times, Smith twice, tight end Ben Zagorski and receiver Doug O'Neill on passes good for 20 yards or longer. "It seems like everyone is getting a piece of the action," Hoffman said. "That makes it really easy on me, that defenses aren't rolling coverages toward a single person. It makes it easy on me and more fun to distribute the ball." Granted, the Big Green have struggled against the pass this fall, but the Quakers are averaging 352 yards in the air -- and 465 total yards -- over the past three weeks. "I think it's a combination of the new offensive system with the plays, which make it easy to get open," Milanese said. "We're very deep at receiver, and we have to talent to go with it. "And I think we're confident that we're better than the other team, and we expect to win."Comments powered by Disqus
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