Even though a loss at Harvard (8-1, 5-1 Ivy) last weekend has mathematically eliminated Penn football (6-3, 3-3) from Ivy League title contention, the Quakers still have one game left. This is not just any game, though. Penn's 2023 finale is against the team's biggest rival: Princeton (4-5, 3-3). See if The Daily Pennsylvanian's Sports Department thinks the Quakers can pull out the win and end their season with a Senior Day victory.
Penn 13, Princeton 9 — Caleb Crain, Sports Editor
Although the Quakers are not going to win an Ivy title this season, there's still plenty to fight for, and I think Penn will show plenty of fight this weekend. But it will end up being a tough, physical fight where the Quakers will have to will their way to a victory. Princeton has the best scoring defense in the Ivy League, and has been holding offenses to just 5.4 yards per pass attempt. This could slow down junior quarterback Aidan Sayin and the rest of Penn's high-flying squad, but I see the defense stepping up and keeping the Tigers out of the end zone all afternoon long. Saturday is Senior Day, and the veteran-heavy defense will make its mark and leave Franklin Field as victors.
Penn 36, Princeton 24 — Imran Siddiqui, Editor-in-Chief (NARP)
Coming off of a close loss to Harvard last weekend, the Quakers have one thing on their mind: pucking Frinceton. This Saturday’s matchup offers Penn the chance to end the season on a high note with home field advantage.
Although Princeton started the season strong — just weeks ago the Tigers were tied for first place in the conference with three games left — the team hasn’t been able to put it all together since. While the Quakers have not played perfectly this season, neither have the Tigers. Coming off a two-game losing streak, Princeton is desperate for a win, but the Quakers have clearly demonstrated their ability to show out when it matters most.
It doesn’t hurt that just days ago and yards away from Franklin Field, Penn men’s basketball upset Villanova at the Palestra. High tides lift all boats, and this week will show that Penn’s teams will not choke under pressure at home.
Penn 27, Princeton 10 — Vivian Yao, Sports Associate
At this point, there’s nothing left for Penn to fight for, except pride. If pride means nothing — if ending an otherwise wasted season on a high note means nothing — then this team will be in deep trouble moving forward. Riding off a high of school spirit spurred by Penn men’s basketball taking down cross city rivals No. 21 Villanova, there is sure to be a crowd at this game. This is Penn’s chance to build up its lackluster football culture.
Penn matches up well against a Princeton team that has also struggled and underperformed throughout this season. Both teams will be coming off of overtime losses that have eliminated them from Ivy title contention. For Penn, winning this game will require them to put aside any lingering feelings of disappointment from that game. The margins for error in this game are still very small as Princeton lays claim to the top-ranked defense in the conference. All eyes will be on Sayin’s ability to play a turnover free game, and on the defense’s ability to play a complete one.
Even though championship hopes are dead, I still believe that there is spirit and fight left in this team. With pride on the line, I think the Red and Blue will do just enough to grind out a win to close out the season.
Penn 17, Princeton 13 — Griffin Bond, Sports Associate
I am not one to be superstitious, but outside of its loss to Dartmouth, Penn has matched last year's results week by week and nearly team for team — with the exception of Bucknell taking the spot of Lafayette in week two. Given the historical pattern, I feel obligated to have Penn repeating last year's result and coming away with a win. However, apart from the superstition, both teams' track record this season seems to support this outcome. Princeton has struggled recently, losing four of its last six games. Despite Princeton’s defense having allowed the fewest number of rushing yards per game in the Ivy League this season, last week, Yale ran all over the Tigers for nearly 200 yards and four rushing touchdowns. I trust the Ivy League’s second-leading rusher freshman running back Malachi Hosley to get the job done this weekend and dominate. Even if Hosley struggles, I expect the sophomore wide receiver Jared Richardson-Sayin combo to pick up the slack and bounce back after a down week against Harvard. Whether you like superstition, or cold hard facts, they both seem to say that Penn should come away with a win this weekend.
Penn 21, Princeton 17 — Valeri Guevarra and Kristel Rambaud, Sports Reporters
With both teams sitting at 3-3, there is only one thing at stake: pride.
This game — regardless of records — means a lot for these storied programs and has huge ramifications on the offseason. It will be a dog fight between heated rivals, especially considering how comparable their quarterbacks have been as of late. Sayin has notably not thrown a touchdown pass since the Quakers’ home loss to Brown, where he also threw three interceptions.
But Penn's defense has been the team's backbone all season, making stop after stop in the red-zone when the team needs it the most. The top-ranked conference defense in sacks has the opportunity to add to that total when they face off against the Princeton offensive line, who has allowed 25 against them.
This is not about being perfect anymore. That ship has sailed. It’s about getting the job done.
Penn 24, Princeton 21— Tyler Ringhofer, Sports Reporter
In a season that fell just short of an Ivy championship, the Quakers will look to end their season on a high note. Despite a campaign filled with what-ifs, close games, and missed opportunities, a bright spot on the team has been Hosley. Following a stellar 261-yard game against Cornell, Hosley continued to exceed expectations in totaling over 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns last week against Harvard.
I see the Quakers coming out motivated to play with nothing to lose after its triple-overtime loss. I expect Hosley to continue to dominate the run game and keep himself in the conversation for the national Jerry Rice Outstanding Freshman Player award. I like the Quakers in a close, hard-fought battle to finish the season strong.
Penn 33, Princeton 10 — Conor Smith, Sports Reporter
I do not see how Penn loses this game. Coming off a crushing defeat in Cambridge, Mass., the Quakers are entering their final game of the season against a highly motivated Tiger team. The players were forced to watch in horror as Harvard rushed the field celebrating its guaranteed share of the Ivy League title. The Quakers should not allow this memory to define what has, in total, been a great season for the program. With the seniors running onto Franklin Field for the last time, I predict Penn takes an early lead against the Orange and Black and does not look back.
Penn 24, Princeton 21 — Evan Stubbs, Sports Reporter
Penn, playing at home, boasts a better team and a better record than the Princeton Tigers. Yet, I see this being a close game, for the simple reason that every other Penn game against Ivy opponents in the 2023 season was decided by two possessions or less. For that reason, I expect a competitive game, with the combination of the Quakers’ talent and post-Harvard need for redemption giving the Red and Blue just enough to squeeze out a win.
Penn 31, Princeton 21 — Derek Wong, Opinion Photo Editor (NARP)
My quibble with Penn football is that the team has all the right pieces. Hosley has been the star of the season and, with well-coordinated plays with Sayin as his quarterback, the two can be unstoppable. Photographing the Cornell game on the field, I got an up-close look at how electric a well-oiled machine the Penn football team can be. However, key losses against Dartmouth, Brown, and Harvard showed that there’s still some ironing left to do, and the offense and defense have to be on the same page for the entirety of the game.
Luckily for the Quakers, this upcoming game has two factors in their favor. One, it’s a home game. Last season’s narrow win against Princeton was an away game, and the Quakers now have a clear home-field advantage with a more polished team. Second, the Tigers this season (4-5) aren’t as strong as they were last season (8-2). All Penn needs to do is play consistently, and it should be a satisfying, even if not satiating, conclusion to a wild season.
Penn 27, Princeton 23 — Allyson Nelson, Copy Editor (NARP?)
Tied for second place in the Ivy League a year ago, Penn and Princeton arrive at the final game of 2023 with an identical conference record and an identical goal of ending their campaigns on a positive note. With both programs facing an up-and-down season after almost reaching Ancient Eight glory, only one team will leave Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon with a winning conference record. The game will be filled with the grit and tenacity that has fueled this storied rivalry for decades, but I believe the Red and Blue will emerge victorious. Key to the Quakers' success is keeping interceptions at a minimum and prioritizing passing completion in high-stakes situations wherever possible. If last week's determination through three thrilling overtime periods is any indicator, Penn has what it takes to silence the Tigers' roar for the second year in a row.