img_3681

Freshman Christian Pearson has had a strong start to his Penn career.

Credit: Ilana Wurman , Ilana Wurman, Ilana Wurman

NEW YORK — Some games just make you want to retire. Again.

Penn football scored early and often in its reunion with former coach Al Bagnoli, drubbing Columbia on Saturday, 42-7. The win is the Quakers’ 19th consecutive victory over the Lions (1-4, 0-2 Ivy), and the first for the Red and Blue (2-3, 1-1) over the man who helped the program clinch nine Ivy League titles between 1992 and 2014.

“I’m glad that the game is over, I can honestly say that,” a relieved coach Ray Priore said. “People try to make it about the coaches, but it’s really about the kids. And I was really proud of how our kids were focused all week.”

For the second consecutive year, the Lions managed to get on the board first, as quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg hit Cameron Dunn 10 minutes into the game to give Columbia an early 7-0 advantage. However, similar to the teams’ 2014 matchup, the Lions’ early touchdown would be the totality of Columbia’s success on the day, as the squad racked up only 131 yards after its opening drive score.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” Bagnoli said. “We’ll have to take a look at everything and get back to work.”

The Red and Blue scored 42 unanswered points over the course of the next 24 minutes, cruising to a laugher of a victory that proved that — despite a sideline shakeup — the Penn-Columbia matchup is equally as lopsided as ever.

Quarterback Alek Torgersen threw the first of his three touchdown passes with two minutes left in the quarter, finding tight end Ryan Kelly for a 19-yard strike that knotted the score at seven. Torgersen, who missed last week’s contest against Fordham, looked sharp in his first action since suffering a concussion on Oct. 3 vs. Dartmouth. The junior finished the day with 326 total yards of offense.

“Sitting out last week killed me. It was upsetting,” Torgersen said. “Coming back this week, I was really fired up to get out there and play with my brothers.”

The Red and Blue’s offense got back into action with nine minutes left in the second quarter, as Torgersen found freshman receiver Christian Pearson for a 25-yard score. In his first career start, Pearson had 10 catches for 126 yards, both game and career-highs.

“We’ve got a really young team,” Priore said, adding that the Quakers regularly start three freshmen on defense. “It’s nice to see them picking things up.”

Following a botched snap on a Lions’ punt, junior running back Brian Schoenauer busted off an 11-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-7. Sophomore Tre Solomon followed up soon after with a one-yard plunge, and the Quakers went into halftime up, 28-7.

Following the intermission, Kelly snagged a 32-yard score from Torgersen to open up a four-touchdown lead and unofficially commence the blowout. The senior totaled only two catches on the day for 51 yards, but both came in big spots, as each went for a touchdown.

With 8:22 left in the third period, Solomon took another one-yard plunge to make the score 42-7. That turned out to be the final scoring action of the game, as both teams — playing mostly reserves — wore down the clock for the final quarter and a half.

Besides surrendering a handful of yards in garbage time, Penn’s defense absolutely eviscerated Columbia throughout the game. In addition to limiting the Lions to 101 yards passing, the Red and Blue forced four turnovers, including interceptions by seniors Tyler Drake and Ian Dobbins. The Quakers have now outscored their opponents 77-20 in the past six-plus quarters.

Saturday’s contest played out similarly to last year’s contest between the two schools. In 2014, Columbia jumped out to a 7-0 lead before surrendering 31 consecutive points in the eventual 31-7 defeat, part of a winless 0-10 Lion campaign.

So in that sense, Saturday’s game was more of the same. After all, hardly anything ever changes in the Penn-Columbia rivalry.

That is, until you look to the sidelines.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.