Groundhog Day


For the Brown Bears, Saturday played out like a movie. The gritty underdog with just one conference win came in, fell behind early and rallied to win on an overtime field goal.

For Penn, it was a Hollywood ending as well. Except it wasn't a story of triumph like Remember the Titans or Invincible.

The movie was Groundhog Day.

The last two weeks have unfolded just like the 1993 movie in which Bill Murray's character can't escape reliving a nightmare of a day over and over again.

For the second straight week, Saturday's game went into overtime thanks to missed opportunities, partially in the kicking game. For the second straight week, Penn got the ball first, stalled, and missed a field goal. And for the second straight week, its opponent got the ball second, stalled and did not miss.

Derek Zoch had to relive every kicker's nightmare, that lonely feeling that follows watching a big kick sail wide (or off the post in the case of the Yale game.)

Now, the seasons have begun to turn into Groundhog Day for the Quakers, who lost their last four last season and dating back to last year have now lost six of eight Ivy games for the first time since the movie was being shot in 1991 and 1992.

The task gets no easier against Princeton, Harvard and a Cornell team that upset the Tigers on Saturday. And plenty of questions linger with a talented quarterback who has been burned by rookie mistakes, a young secondary that's last in the league in pass defense and a kicking game that's running out of places to turn.

But perhaps the biggest question is whether the team can do what it failed to do last year and rebound from a couple of consecutive losses. Or will that dark, billowing cloud of losing continue to grow?

After a second straight loss Saturday, the cloud grew some more. It grew a little darker over a team that seems to have forgotten how to win and a campus that is losing interest.

And when the campus woke up Sunday morning, braved its collective hangover and walked outside, that cloud was still overhead.

Just like Groundhog Day, nobody saw his shadow.

Translation: 11 more days until baskeball season.

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