NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It was a weird sight. Moments after Penn kicker Jason Feinberg's extra point attempt split the uprights at the Yale Bowl on Saturday, members of the Yale football team rushed the field with their arms raised. Feinberg's kick, rather than tying the game or icing a victory for the Quakers, merely capped the team's only successful scoring drive of the second half, an impressive 1:25, 86-yard affair that saw tight end Ben Zagorski put an outstretched arm across the goal line as time expired. The point after merely put Penn down by three in its 27-24 loss to Yale. "I give our kids a lot of credit," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "We knew they were a good football team. We knew we were very well matched. We knew we couldn't make big mistakes, and we made two big mistakes." The Quakers started out well enough, biting off a big chunk of time before they even let the Elis have the ball. In just over six minutes, Penn moved from its own 18-yard line, to the Yale seven, where Feinberg chipped in from 24 yards. But shortly thereafter came Penn's two big mistakes. On Yale's first play from scrimmage, Elis quarterback Peter Lee hit wideout Eric Johnson down the right sideline for 57 yards to the Penn 8-yard line. That tandem - Lee to Johnson - would become a familiar refrain. The 35,000 fans at the Yale Bowl heard their names announced over the public address system 13 times on the afternoon. They heard it again just over a minute later as the two combined for a two-yard scoring strike. "We'd talked about it during the week," Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said of the Elis first play. "We said hey, if we get the ball where we want it, we're going to take a shot on the first play with the out-and-up." The Quakers' second big mistake also came in the first quarter. After the Penn drive stalled at its own 28, Yale's Steve Ehikian broke through the Quakers line and blocked Ryan Lazzeri's punt. The ball skipped back into the Quakers end zone where it was cradled by Scott Wagner for the touchdown. "I thought our kids showed great poise early, after they got behind on bam, bam, two big plays," Bagnoli said. "We came back and started to take control of the game after that." The Quakers actually controlled the ball for just under 13 minutes in the first quarter, but when the dust settled Yale had run five plays and taken a 14-3 lead. Penn held Yale and then scored on its second and third drives of the second quarter to take a 17-14 lead into the locker room. The first Quakers touchdown saw quarterback Gavin Hoffman throw to a wide open Rob Milanese for a 41-yard score. Apparently overlooked by the Yale defense on that play, Milanese should have garnered plenty of attention with his nine catch, 145-yard day. Hoffman -- who with 300 yards passing on the day overtook Jim McGeehan as the Quakers' career passing leader -- got the second Penn touchdown of the quarter on a quarterback dive from the one-yard line. The third quarter was almost a mirror image of the first. This time, it was the Quakers offense that took a seat on the sideline. Much like the Quakers' game-opening drive, the Yale offense put together a mammoth 13 play, 73-yard drive that took 7:10. The Quakers got the ball back and drove for nearly 20 yards before Hoffman was sacked for a nine-yard loss on third and three from his own 29. After the drive-ending sack, Yale's offense took the ball and didn't give it back to the Quakers until the fourth quarter, when a goal line stand by the Penn defense at its own two-yard line held the Elis to a field goal. Regardless, Penn ran only six plays in the third. "With the kind of offense that we have, [the defense's] job is to give them the ball as much as we can," Penn cornerback and defensive captain Joey Alofaituli said. "We just weren't able to get that done." The Quakers defense did have another goal line stand, though, forcing the Elis to twice settle for field goals in the first quarter after Yale had first and goals inside the Quakers five. Except for the final drive, the Penn offense was virtually ineffective in the second half. "I think we came out, and they kind of took us out of any rhythm or momentum that we had," Bagnoli said.Comments powered by Disqus
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