Consistency is key. But sometimes inconsistency works.
After dismantling Mansfield (0-2, 0-2 South) in the season opener, 54-21, with an offensive show of force, it was a dominant defense that led Penn to a 16-7 win over Cornell (1-1) in its home opener.
The question facing the Quakers (2-0, 1-0) in the third game of the young season is whether they can find consistency on both sides of the ball for an entire game. Their chance to answer this question comes this Friday at Franklin Field against Chestnut Hill (1-1, 1-0).
Unfortunately for the Red and Blue, that will be answered without junior quarterback Eddie Jenkins, who injured his left knee in the first quarter last week against Cornell. The hole left by his absence is definitely going to be felt.
“He’s the team leader,” coach Bill Wagner said. “He’s the heart and soul of the offensive leadership.”
The home opener against Cornell started off slow for the offense as the Quakers didn’t get their first score until 10:10 in the second quarter on a three-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Jake Klaus.
Jenkins is confident in the ability of his teammates to step up in his absence.
“We got all kinds of playmakers on offense,” Jenkins said. “[Backup quarterback] Reed [Connor] played great against Cornell. [He] came in a tough situation and played a great game. Whoever is at the helm will have the opportunity to do some great things for our offense.”
Defensively, the Quakers played well in both games, but against Cornell they were unbreakable. After allowing 227 total yards and two touchdowns to Mansfield, Penn’s defense bounced back in a huge way. Against Cornell, Penn’s defense allowed only 108 total yards and one touchdown all game.
Cornell’s lone touchdown came at 12:22 in the second quarter as senior quarterback Connor Ostrander took it 38 yards to the house. After his touchdown, however, Cornell had 37 total yards for the rest of the game, which allowed the Quakers to escape a defensive battle.
The Quakers will look to dominate on both sides of the ball and find some consistency when Chestnut Hill visits on Friday.
Penn will have to look out for the duo of junior quarterback Michael Marino and senior wide receiver Reggie Robinson Jr. Marino threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns while Robinson Jr. had six receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a high-scoring victory over Mansfield last week.
“Chestnut Hill is a great team,” Jenkins said. “And being a division game, it’s one of the biggest games we got all season.”
“They have some skilled kids who are fast and quick,” Wagner added. “The quarterback Marino can throw the ball. The defense is also very good. They got nine starters back. The game is gonna be won up front.”
As their matchup with Chestnut Hill looms, the Quakers will try to prove the next man up mentality can be a success.