When Dalyn Williams spiked the ball and pointed to the sky in celebration, he thought the win was all but in the bag.
The Dartmouth sophomore had led the Big Green down the field as time ticked away, leaving his special teams unit with a chip shot of a field goal, a 21-yarder to nail through the uprights for the lead and the win.
“We got a really good push up front,” Park said. “And I saw a lane, and I saw an opening and just took off.”
Park blocked junior Riley Lyons’ field goal and miraculously pushed the game into one extra session.
But it would take four overtimes for this one to come to an end.
In the longest game in Ivy League history, junior running back Kyle Wilcox ran for a game-winning 20-yard touchdown in the fourth overtime while Lyons missed three game-winning or go-ahead field goals to give the Quakers (2-1, 1-0 Ivy) a thrilling 37-31 win over the Big Green (1-2, 0-1 Ivy).
The fifth consecutive matchup between the schools to be decided by one score may very well have been the rivalry’s finest game.
“This one had as many highs and lows as any game I could recall,” Penn coach Al Bagnoli said.
With their backs against the wall, the Quakers received huge games from both familiar faces — senior quarterback Billy Ragone and Park— and an unheralded one in Wilcox.
While Wilcox was the story of the day on the ground (18 carries for 94 yards) with his 20-yard run to pay dirt around the right end that sent Franklin Field into a frenzy, Ragone found his legs again after rushing for only one yard on the season before Saturday.
Ragone rushed for 62 yards on 13 attempts, none more important than a jaw-dropping 27-yard scramble for a score on a third-and-12 in the second overtime with Penn trailing, 28-21, after a touchdown pass from Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams to Kirby Schoenthaler had given the Big Green the lead.
Getting flushed from the pocket due to heavy Dartmouth pressure, Ragone found nothing but open field ahead of him as he headed down the right sideline after his team was stuffed on a fourth and one at the five-yard line in the first overtime.
“It was nice to finally get a play with my feet,” he said. “First time all season.”
The Quakers made plenty of plays with their feet, rushing for 218 yards on 50 carries after amassing only 20 yards on 30 carries against Villanova last week.
Dartmouth wasn’t shy in its ability to run the ball either. The Big Green ran for 242 yards on 45 carries on the backs of Williams and senior Dominick Pierre.
Williams put up 77 yards on the ground, getting into the end zone once while Pierre gashed the Red and Blue for 151 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per carry. He didn’t have a rush for negative yards the entire day.
In the first overtime, the Big Green gave Lyons a second chance to win the game after stuffing Ragone, setting him up for a 34-yard attempt.
This time, Lyons hooked the kick left, setting the stage for Ragone’s heroics.
Though both Loftus and Lyons converted field goals in the third overtime, Lyons missed his third field goal in the fourth overtime, a 42-yard attempt that had been significantly complicated by Williams taking an sack on 3rd and 16 and a personal foul that negated a touchdown run by Pierre.
“Nobody feels worse than Riley does,” Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens said. “But it’s a team sport.”
Given the golden opportunity, the Quakers converted, using Wilcox’s outside speed to send the fans home happy.
All the insanity went down without Penn’s top rusher and receiver.
Senior wide receiver Conner Scott was spotted on crutches on the sidelines and is out for at least one week, while senior running back Brandon Colavita went down after hearing a pop in his knee in the third quarter and is due for an MRI on Monday after being carted off the field.
After all of the emotional highs and lows of Saturday’s game, it is almost hard to believe that the Penn season is only three games old.
“Is that all it is?” Bagnoli asked.
“It feels like we’ve just played five or six.”
SEE ALSOComments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.