Penn sprint football came into Friday night's matchup on a six-game winning streak against Cornell, and this time around things were no different.
For the first road game of the season, coach Bill Wagner and his team headed to Ithaca, N.Y. and dominated Ancient Eight rivals Cornell, 61-7.
This game was significant on multiple levels. For starters, this game marked Penn's (1-1) first and only matchup against another Ivy League squad.
For Wagner, though, this marked the last game against Cornell (1-1) of his 50-year career. He also has a storied history with Cornell coach Terry Cullen; the coaches have faced off 66 times in their career and have a collective coaching experience of 104 Collegiate Sprint Football League seasons.
"We've had some great memories playing Cornell over the years. There was one game we played that went to seven or eight overtimes, and we didn't get back to Philadelphia until 6 o'clock in the morning," Wagner said. "[Cullen] is a great coach and I'm happy to have shared so many great memories with him."
Cornell received the ball first on Friday night, but quarterback Aneesh Agrawal was picked off by senior Josh McBriar near midfield. Looking to improve off a rough last game against Army, senior quarterback Eddie Jenkins quickly found junior wide receiver Barry Klein for a 37-yard gain on the Quakers' first offensive play. Jenkins punched in a five-yard run to put the Quakers on the board.
After forcing a Big Red three-and-out, Jenkins again marched the Red and Blue down the field, finding senior wide receiver Billy Murphy for an 18-yard score.
With Cornell punting the ball on the ensuing possession, the Quakers put together a five-play, 69-yard drive culminating in another Jenkins rushing touchdown. Jenkins found Klein for a 45-yard touchdown, and the Quakers entered the second quarter with a commanding 26-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Jenkins added two more touchdowns — one on the ground and one through the air — while sophomore running back Laquan McKever scored a seven-yard rushing touchdown. The Red and Blue headed into the halftime locker room with a 47-point shutout on the board.
Coming out of the half, the Quakers took nine minutes off the clock on a 15-play, 69-yard drive that ended with Jenkins finding sophomore tight end Ben Klaus for a 13-yard score. Late in the third quarter, Penn was forced to punt for the first and only time of the day.
"Eddie Jenkins continued to totally dominate as a rusher and a passer," Wagner emphasized. "He is a player I'm extremely proud of."
In the fourth quarter, the Red and Blue netted another touchdown on a run by sophomore running back Sam Mintz to stretch their lead to 61.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Big Red finally mustered some short gains against the stout Penn defense, and Cornell's Jacob Wynkoop scored from four yards out to end the Quakers' attempt at a shutout.
The game marked the Quakers' first win of the season while a number of players set career highs across the board. Jenkins totaled seven touchdowns — bringing his season total to 10, which leads the CFSL. McKever ran for a career-best 154 yards and his first collegiate touchdown, while McBriar and junior Joshua Trybus snagged their first collegiate interceptions.
Wagner was impressed with his team's performance and noted that the game would likely be historically significant.
“This final game against Cornell will be remembered for many, many years … this team went out and scored 47 points in the first half, and played with such a passion, an energy, a desire to make this 50th year a championship year for Penn," Wagner said. "Everyone played, [and] all 45 kids contributed."
The Quakers will look to build off their big win when they travel to Waterbury, Conn. to face Post in their final non-divisional matchup of the season.
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