Coming off a disappointing home loss to Harvard the week prior, Penn football headed to New Jersey to face an 8-1 Princeton team as a 14-point road underdog. From the jump, the game played out like many experts predicted it would — Princeton drove 78 yards down the field to score a touchdown, forced a punt, and drove down another 80 yards to take an early two-score lead. Penn's offense couldn't muster much, but a blocked-punt touchdown made the score 12-7 going into halftime.
A costly fumble on the first drive of the second half, when Penn was in the red zone, was returned 92 yards for a Tiger touchdown, which again made the lead two scores. Afterward, another promising drive for the Quakers stalled out in enemy territory, but an interception gave Penn some life. The Quaker offense would go on to score, with sophomore quarterback Aidan Sayin finding junior wide receiver Julien Stokes for a two-yard score. Penn was back in business. On the ensuing possession, the Tigers faced 4th and 10 at the Quaker 32 and opted to go for it, only to be denied by the Red and Blue defense, giving Penn's offense one final shot to win the game.
It was around this time that news broke of Harvard's loss, ending the Quakers' chances at a share of the Ancient Eight crown. But this was unknown to the Red and Blue, who kept on battling. With just over five minutes left in the team's season, Sayin and company drove 67 yards in 15 plays, but were facing a 4th and goal at the five-yard line, with five seconds left — their last chance to end their season with a win and deny their longtime foe an Ivy League title. Sayin lined up in shotgun, with tailback Trey Flowers, in his last ever game for Penn, flanking his left side in the backfield. Once he received the snap, Sayin stepped up in the pocket, only to find an uncovered Flowers wide open and backing up into the end zone. Sayin fired a pass right to Flowers, and the senior caught it just as he was about to be hit by a Princeton defender. The result: a 20-19 lead and eventual victory.
While they didn't win an Ivy title, this was the perfect way to cap off a truly impressive season for the Quakers, especially for the many seniors who had a cathartic win in their last time wearing the Red and Blue. And for Flowers, in the words of offensive coordinator Dan Swanstrom, "How about that for [his] final play!"
Read about the rest of DP Sports' End of the Year Awards for the 2022-23 season here.