In a game where there were 55 first downs, 875 passing yards and 1,050 yards of total offense between Penn and Brown, defense was obviously not the story of the day. And while it is true that the Quakers defense allowed Brown's offense to score five touchdowns, the Penn offense could not have gotten the ball back at the end of the fourth quarter to make its miracle comeback without the strong defensive stands at the end of the game. With 10 minutes and 20 seconds left in the game, Penn wideout Rob Milanese fumbled the ball on his own 42-yard line. Brown had just scored its third touchdown of the second half, and the weary Penn defense was forced back onto the field. The Brown offense started up just where it had left off the previous drive, with quarterback Eric Webber completing a 15-yard pass to Stephen Campbell, which was followed by a 10-yard Mike Malan run. A Quakers penalty gave the Bears first and goal from the five-yard line, and it looked certain that Brown would take a commanding 42-20 lead. But it was at this point that the Quakers defense dug in. Ed Galan stuffed Malan for a loss of five, and two plays later the Bears were forced to kick a field goal. "We have an explosive offense," Penn co-captain Joey Alofatuli said. "As long as we can get some drive stops in there somewhere, we can turn the ball over to the offense and they have the capability of scoring." But the Quakers offense wasn't able to turn itself around just yet. After a Gavin Hoffman incompletion, an intentional grounding and a completion that came up short of a first down, Ryan Lazzeri was forced to punt to the potent Brown offense again. With only 6:10 to go in the game, the Penn defense had to make a stop -- and fast. Surprisingly, after a one-yard run on first down, the Bears elected to throw the ball on second and third downs. Both attempts were incomplete, and Brown was forced to punt. The drive lasted just 1:06. "I assume that if you have those kind of receivers and the quarterback is putting up the kind of numbers he is, you are going to try and throw some high percentage passes," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said of the Brown play selection. "But, if you don't complete them, time doesn't come off the clock." With 5:04 left, the Quakers offense drove down the field in 17 seconds and scored a touchdown, cutting the lead to 38-27. But the Penn defense still needed two more stops to make a Quakers win possible. The Bears started their next drive on the Penn 41 after a failed on-side kick, putting even more pressure on the defense. But John Galan penetrated the line on a first-down rushing play, tackling Malan three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Brown passed on the next two downs, and was forced to punt on the third. But there was no rest for the Quakers' weary "D." The Red and Blue defensive unit was back on the field 17 seconds later after another offensive strike. With their lead cut to 38-33, the Bears were able to complete a 17-yard pass to Campbell. But instead of running out the clock, Penn's ability to stop the ground game compelled the Bears to pass on the next three plays, and they came up short on each. "We didn't get the first downs that we had to," Brown coach Phil Estes said. "I know how good this Penn offense is, and giving them the ball in the fourth quarter with any amount of time, that there was the possibility that they were going to come back and score." The Quakers defense gave the offense the ball with 1:41 left in the game, which was plenty of time to pull off another TD. Brown got the ball back with 28 seconds left, but after two complete passes to Campbell, backup quarterback Kyle Rowley was brought in to attempt the Hail Mary. While the pass was well short of the end zone, Campbell caught the ball and quickly lateralled to a teammate. Another lateral followed, and it almost looked as if Brown might score. But the Penn defense had worked too hard to watch the game end like that. A frantic Brown lateral went out of bounds, and Penn had its improbable victory.Comments powered by Disqus
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