Moments after a dramatic Homecoming comeback kept the Penn football team's Ivy League championship hopes alive, hundreds of Penn fans rushed onto Franklin Field in celebration. The fans had just watched as Harvard kicker Robbie Wright's field goal attempt fell short, securing a 36-35 victory for the Quakers. Penn can win the Ivy League title with a win over Cornell on Saturday. But even though Penn did not clinch anything this weekend, that did not stop the fans. They grabbed ahold of the west goalposts, rocking them back and forth in an attempt to tear them down -- but to no avail. Perhaps it was fate. Maybe it was just good, old-fashioned cement. But in the end, those wobbly uprights just wouldn't come loose. More than 300 Red and Blue faithful clustered around the end zone near Weightman Hall to remove those goalposts. The group -- which included current students and a smattering of alumni -- gathered around a dozen young diehards, who clung to the sturdy uprights for more than 30 minutes. Many alumni urged them on. Others in the crowd pumped their fists as they chanted "Bring it down! Bring it Down!" Yet, while the weight of several Penn students caused the uprights to slowly see-saw back and forth, there was just not enough force to topple them. "We got new goalposts, and they're just stronger than the old ones," Athletic Department spokeswoman Carla Shultzberg said. After numerous failed tries on the part of the goalpost-hungry throng, Franklin Field security -- directed by Penn Police -- brought the celebration to an end. They herded diehards down from the uprights and then pushed the entire crowd toward the exits. "It's cool that the fans stepped it up to try to tear the goalposts down," said Quakers fullback Adam Keslosky, an Engineering junior. "But we haven't won anything yet." By all accounts, the outpouring of support for the come-from-behind win was an exciting home finale for a Penn crowd that typically leaves once the toast is tossed at the end of the third quarter. But with an Ivy League championship still up for grabs when the Quakers head to Cornell next Saturday, the celebration paled in comparison to the emotional and highly charged drama that followed Penn's title-clinching victory over the Crimson in 1998. And at the end of this game, there was no confrontation with the Penn Police force. In 1998, thousands of fans stormed through a small army of riot-gear-clad guards. This year's incarnation also lacked the emotional celebration launching the uprights into the Schuylkill River. And instead of hailing a Penn tradition, many Penn students and alumni said that a celebration -- especially when Penn hadn't captured the Ivy League title and the goalposts didn't even fall -- was an embarrassment to the University. "This is a Penn tradition and it's being whored," College senior Josh Wilkenfeld said. "It's 10 guys who know nothing about Penn history tearing down the goalposts, and it's vandalism plain and simple." Another gray-haired alumnus called the bunch the "biggest bunch of foolish underclassmen I ever saw." Still, the game allowed some of the older fans to relive past Franklin Field memories and gave students like Wharton sophomore Matt Frohling their first chance to experience a big Penn football victory. "This is awesome," Frohling said. "I heard the stories about 1998 and was looking forward to throwing it into the Schuylkill." The Penn Athletic Department has not yet decided how to formally celebrate a Quakers title if Penn emerges from Ithaca, N.Y., victorious next weekend.Comments powered by Disqus
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