ITHACA, N.Y. -- Penn quarterback Gavin Hoffman knew he had a lot to prove going into Saturday's Ivy League championship game at Cornell. He had to beat the Big Red on unfriendly Schoellkopf Field in what was unquestionably the most important game of the season for the Quakers. He also had to show that all the records he had set, all the milestones he had passed and all the big plays he had made for the Red and Blue since transferring from Northwestern last year would not be overshadowed by the lack of an Ivy League ring. "As a quarterback, that's sort of how you're graded -- are you able to lead your team to a title?" Hoffman said. Against Cornell, Hoffman finally came up with his A-plus, throwing for 330 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Quakers to a title-clinching 45-15 victory over the Big Red. With the season-ending effort, Hoffman became the first Penn quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season -- just another addition to a resume that includes Penn records in career passing yards, career passing touchdowns, career 300-yard games and passing yards in a game. All the records and milestones on that impressive resume are now legitimized for Penn's star quarterback with the Red and Blue in sole possession of the Ivy League title. "I think it definitely adds a lot of credibility to [the numbers] that I won a championship," Hoffman said. "All the quarterbacks before me that did well all had one and that's sort of been the tradition here at Penn. "There's been so many titles under [Penn coach Al] Bagnoli, and I didn't want to go through my career here sort of being the drought of the Penn tradition." Far from being a drought, Hoffman opened up the floodgates on the quarterback position for the Quakers this season. His air attack highlights a new, pass-friendly group of Ivy League quarterbacks who have taken to the skies more than at any other time in Ancient Eight history. And he proved that his arm can strike at any time three weeks ago when he unloaded for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to spark a 41-38 come-from-behind win over visiting Brown. He had a record 476 yards passing in the game. "I think personally that was probably my best game overall," Hoffman said. "The comeback against Brown is something I'll always remember." Of course, his feelings after winning the Ivy title in chilly Ithaca are also something that will be hard for Hoffman to forget. "It was more like I was just relieved," he said. "Then the happiness factor came in an hour or two after [the game] when I was riding on the bus going home and I just sort of realized how big a deal it was for us." It's also something Hoffman will definitely put at the top of his Red and Blue resume until next year rolls around. "[The Ivy title] means a lot more to me than any of the passing records," he said. "The records will someday be broken -- they could be broken a year after I retire -- but winning a championship and being a championship quarterback is something I'll have and no one can break that or take it away from me." Looking at the huge list of possible offensive returners for his final season of Penn football in 2001 -- including running back Kris Ryan, wide receiver Rob Milanese and the entire offensive line -- Hoffman is also confident that he can add another ring to his collection before his career is over. "I think it's going to be a real exciting year," he said. "I think we'll just build on repeating as champs and hopefully have a better overall record and try to make some noise that way." And almost as if to prove that he's out for rings more than records, he added, "I don't have any specific goals for me personally. I just want to make myself better so we can look to repeat as champs again."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.