And then there was one.
On Saturday, Penn sprint football completed the dream season, defeating Post University, 41-12, on the road. The win gave Penn (7-0) the outright Collegiate Sprint Football League championship and marked only the second time in school history that the Quakers have finished the season alone atop the standings.
While the final score indicates a blow out, the game didn’t start out that way. Penn got off to a sluggish start and Post (0-7) was hungry to pull off the upset. At halftime, the Quakers maintained a slim 14-12 advantage.
This game, however, was a tale of two halves. In the second half, the Red and Blue scored on their first drive and never looked back, holding the Eagles scoreless on their way to 27 second-half points. Five different Quakers finished the day with touchdowns, but it was sophomore running back Jake Klaus who carried the team. The New Jersey native ran the ball 27 times on his way to an astonishing 248 yards and two touchdowns.
“At the end of the day, I have to give all the credit to my line,” Klaus said. “They’re opening holes for me, and I was just hitting them. I started to feel it a little bit, and just got a little more confidence. It was just really fun to get the ball, and just do my thing a little bit.”
While it might’ve been Klaus’ game, this was still Mike McCurdy’s team. The senior captain and quarterback ends his career as Penn’s all-time leader in passing yards, and set the single-season passing record this year with 1,740 yards. The reigning CSFL co-MVP was relatively quiet on the day with only 188 total yards and two touchdowns, but the victory served as a fitting finish for one of Penn’s all-time greats.
“I think this team will go down in sprint history as one of the greats, especially at Penn,” McCurdy said. “And to be a part of it, to share it with all these guys, is really what will be the most cool down the road.”
Moving on into the post-McCurdy era will be challenging, but the Quakers look like they’ve already found the quarterback of the future in freshman Eddie Jenkins. Jenkins has greatly impressed in his limited appearances and today was no different. The dual-threat quarterback ran the ball only two times, but he made the most of his brief opportunity with a 51-yard touchdown scamper.
As exciting as it is to look ahead to the future, the Red and Blue have every right to take some time to look back on what an amazing season this was. With early wins against both the service academies for the first time since 2000, the Quakers looked primed to run away with the title with three games still left.
Nothing changed after a 53-7 beatdown of Chestnut Hill, but the undefeated season came dangerously close to ending last week against Cornell. It took a 93 yard drive in the game’s final minute and a successful two-point conversion just for Penn to force overtime. After two extra periods, the Quakers were finally able to escape with a 27-20 win and lock up a share of the championship, but the game was a big wake-up call for the Red and Blue before their final game of the season against Post.
Heading into the game, the Quakers were well aware of the stakes. Lose and Penn would’ve been forced to share the CSFL championship for the fourth time in school history, but this team was too good to let that happen.
“During halftime, we set the tone,” coach Bill Wagner said. “Everybody’s got to take care of business and everybody had a responsibility they knew would had to be done. It was time to step up and do the job.”
And the Quakers got the job done exactly how they have all year. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough. And for the Red and Blue, enough was enough to win it all.