HANOVER — When the Penn football made the trek to Dartmouth to take on the Big Green, the Red and Blue knew it was their first game of the year that actually mattered.
The Quakers weren’t able to rise to the occasion, though, as they fell to Dartmouth decisively, 31-13, tallying their seventh consecutive loss dating back to last season.
For Penn coach Al Bagnoli, it was a disappointment but also a learning experience.
“We’re still learning, we’re still growing,” he said. “And we’re gonna have to stay patient, because our schedule is very difficult.”
Midway through the first quarter, the Quakers (0-3, 0-1 Ivy) got the scoring started, burning the Big Green with a sneaky play-action pass down the middle of the field for a 54-yard touchdown to full back Matt Schwartz. The Quakers drove 76 yards in only six plays and 1:56.
Unfortunately for the Quakers, it would be the only time they would find pay dirt.
After tying the game at seven, Dartmouth (2-1, 1-0) proceeded to pick off Penn sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen. Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams capitalized, using his next-level athleticism to rush for a nine-yard score.
After a few uneventful offensive drives, the issue of turnovers reared its ugly head once again. A Penn fumble off a botched snap gave Dartmouth possession in Penn’s half of the field.
The Big Green capitalized once again. Williams gashed the Red and Blue for another touchdown run — this time a 24-yard scamper — to take control of the game, 21-7. Penn simply could not contain Dartmouth’s star quarterback, who rushed for three touchdowns on the game.
“They were read plays,” Williams said. “They over-pursued ... And that’s the most open [those plays] have ever been.”
By that point, it had gotten ugly for the Quakers , who allowed yet another rushing touchdown from Williams just minutes later.
With time winding down in the half, the Penn offense showed some signs of life, but a goal-line stand by Dartmouth forced the Quakers to settle for a Jimmy Gammill field goal. The Quakers went into halftime down, 28-10.
The Red and Blue looked strong coming out of the locker room, but they were unable to fully capitalize, putting only three more points up in the third quarter.
Ultimately, it was far too little and far too late. Dartmouth put a field goal on the board early in the fourth quarter and both sides were unable to do much offensively the rest of the game.
Penn’s tackling was suspect throughout the game, and although Torgersen showed promise with his strong throwing arm, the Quakers’ offense didn’t do enough to get the job done against a potential Ivy contender.
Senior running back Kyle Bramble was able to help with the Dartmouth effort as well, rushing for over 100 yards and the Big Green’s first score.
Over the course of the game, Penn was dominated on both lines. Despite having a 243-yard edge in passing yards, Torgersen was clearly outplayed by Williams, who found success in the air and on the ground.
Despite Torgersen’s two interceptions, senior receiver Spencer Kulcsar was quick to come to his teammate’s defense.
“He’s phenomenal. He’s been doing everything he can to be a leader,” he said. “A lot of those errors and interceptions are not his fault ... We’ve put him in a bad position.”
Kulcsar was the clear bright spot for Penn in the game. He tied a school record with 15 receptions, going for 125 yards including a spectacular 53-yard gain on a bomb from Torgersen.
A bittersweet moment came when Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens met with Bagnoli after the game for the last time in his career.
“He’s done a wonderful job,” Teevens said. “He was very thoughtful and complimentary of our team at the end ... And it was sincere.”
The Red and Blue will carry their losing streak into Fordham next week before resuming Ivy play against an also-winless Columbia squad on Oct. 18.Comments powered by Disqus
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