This story is part of a series on Penn football's 18 Ivy League titles. Click here to read about the team's 1993 championship.
Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.
We have all heard the saying, but for Penn football in 1994, this statement was as accurate as ever. The Red and Blue relied heavily on strong defensive play to capture back-to-back undefeated seasons en route to two consecutive Ivy League titles.
“We made a very dramatic statement. I’m not sure our players realize some of the historical things that have happened,” coach Al Bagnoli said. “I can’t say enough about how hard it is to have one unbeaten season. It’s something few teams ever do. So [a second straight undefeated season] is just remarkable. We know that sooner or later, it’s going to end. That’s inevitable. But right now, it’s going to be later. And no one can take them out of the history books.”
The 1994 season for Penn football opened Sept. 17 with a dominant 27-7 win at Franklin Field. In the first half of the game, running back Terrance Stokes and the Quakers jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never looked back.
In their next game, the Quakers traveled to Hanover, N.H, and barely escaped Dartmouth to come away with a 13-11 win. In the days leading up to the game, a fire destroyed a chunk of the team’s equipment in Franklin Field, the team’s star receiver severely injured his hand in practice, and the team bus stalled for 90 minutes in Springfield, Mass. on Thursday night.
The Penn offense struggled to gain yards all game, but going into the fourth quarter, the score was 13-3 in favor of the Quakers. Subpar play on offense and a safety allowed Dartmouth to crawl its way back in the game. With 90 seconds remaining, it looked like the Red and Blue would lose for the first time in two years.
Fortunately for Penn, its defense, which had been coming up with big plays all game, produced another huge stop. Dartmouth was one yard away from the winning touchdown when senior linebacker Pat Goodwillie burst through and stopped Dartmouth running back Pete Oberle on fourth down.
“Unfortunately, today was one of those days,” Stokes said. “Luckily, the defense stepped it up and played a great game. That’s what teamwork is about — if one aspect of the game is slacking, the other side of the ball has to pick it up.”
The Penn defense came into the game ranked second nationally in pass defense and fifth in total defense. Against Holy Cross the next week, the defense lived up to that ranking and held the Crusaders to 17 yards of offense in the first half. Holy Cross was not able to cross into Penn territory until the third quarter, and the Quakers won by a score of 59-8.
In their next game against Columbia, the Red and Blue had another scare similar to the Dartmouth contest, as neither team scored a touchdown. The Quakers relied upon another dominant defensive performance. A school-record-tying four field goals from senior placekicker Andy Glockner, an honorable mention All-American, allowed Penn to come away with a 12-3 win.
“The defense had to play well today, and I thought it did,” Bagnoli said. “Except for that first drive, they really shut [Columbia] down.”
On Oct. 22 and 29, the Quakers played Brown and Yale, respectively. The defense again played well in both of these games and allowed a combined six points, contributing to two commanding victories.
The win against Yale marked Penn's their 700th win. Today, Penn ranks third all-time in wins in the Football Championship Subdivision with a record of 861-500-42, only behind Yale and Harvard.
“Their defense has been driving us crazy," Yale coach Carm Cozza said. “No one’s been able to do anything against them. They’re unreal.”
In front of 21,985 fans in Princeton, N.J., in a rivalry game, Penn clinched a share of the conference title. The Quakers took a 9-0 lead in the first quarter as Glockner kicked a 30-yard field goal and tight end Warren Rosborough scored on a two-yard touchdown. Princeton would not go away quietly though, scoring 12 points of its own in the second quarter and making the score 19-12 at halftime.
The third quarter of the game was scoreless. In the fourth quarter, the Quakers outscored the Tigers, 14-7, to secure a 33-19 victory.
The following week, the Quakers defeated Harvard at Franklin Field in a 33-0 victory to clinch their second straight outright Ivy League crown. Following the win, by tradition, the west goalpost was brought down and carried to the Schuykill River for a dunking.
“I’m on top of the world right now,” defensive end Michael Turner said. “Last year, we were so excited to be in this position. This year we had more of a chance to enjoy it. We could all feel it on the sideline today. It was fantastic, just as sweet as last year.”
The Quakers finished off the season and extended their win streak to 21 games against Cornell with a 18-14 come from behind win.
“This one was better [than 1993],” center Pete Giannakoulis said. “I’m a senior going out; we’re undefeated for two years, two rings, we stuck tight. … It can’t get much better than this.”
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.