At halftime, Penn football was down 13-10 to Harvard and needed somebody to step up in the second half. That somebody turned out to be sophomore wide receiver Rory Starkey.
Starkey caught two touchdowns for the Red and Blue — the team's only second-half scores — in Saturday's tight 24-20 win over the Crimson, good for DP Player of the Week honors.
After not playing a single snap last season, the sophomore came out of nowhere to star as one of Penn's leading receivers, serving as a target for senior quarterback Nick Robinson all season long.
Coming into this weekend's game, Starkey had already made a name for himself as an offensive weapon for the Quakers. His four receiving touchdowns were already the most of any player on the team, and his pair against Harvard means he now has double the next-best receivers, sophomore Ryan Cragun and senior Kolton Huber at three each.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, Robinson and Starkey combined for a 70-yard touchdown to put the Quakers up 17-13. The pass was both Robinson and Starkey's longest scoring play of the season and took away any positive momentum Harvard had from the break.
The Crimson would answer back later in the third to retake the lead, but Starkey again would electrify the visiting crowd with seven minutes to play in the final quarter.
On fourth and 1 inside Harvard's red zone, Robinson found Starkey once again with a 16-yard pass that the sophomore grabbed with one hand before securing the score in the end zone. Even more than putting Penn back on top, Starkey's second touchdown of the day put the Quakers' defense in the spotlight after stopping the Crimson twice late to seal the game.
Starkey has shown time after time that he is capable of not only playing with the Ivy League's best, but thriving in high-pressure scenarios. He still has one more game to add to his 2019 statistics, but 2020 and 2021 might hold even more success.