Penn’s 17-game win streak in league play was threatened when visiting Yale entered the fourth quarter with a 20-10 lead, but the defending Ivy League champion scored 27 points in the final 13 minutes to win, 37-25, yesterday at Franklin Field.
The Bulldogs (3-3, 2-1) were effective on offense, as Patrick Witt threw for 258 yards and two scores and Alex Thomas became the first 200-yard rusher against Penn since 1997, rumbling for 204 and a touchdown. But when Yale’s big-play receiver, junior Chris Smith, was knocked out of the game with an injury in the third quarter after racking up 148 yards and two touchdowns, things began turning in Penn’s favor.
Yale’s offense only had to punt once in the second half - at the end of the third quarter - but after that punt the Quakers (4-2, 3-0) reeled off back-to-back touchdown drives, the second sparked by a recovery of a high kickoff meant to be fielded by the blockers near the 40. That put Penn up, 23-20, and while the Bulldogs did tie the game at 23, they would never be up again.
“We were really trying to make those big guys [on the Yale return team] run around and go get the ball, not be able to set the wedge,’’ said Penn coach Al Bagnoli, who picked up the 100th Ivy League win of his career. “Connor Loftus hit it perfectly, the ball bounced, and we were fortunate to recover.’’
Billy Ragone accounted for four touchdowns, passing for three and running for another while racking up 330 total yards of offense to lead Penn to its fourth straight win. He hit Ryan Calvert from 20 yards out to take a 30-23 lead, and Yale fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up a 25-yard TD run by Brandon Colavita (18 rushes, 156 yards).
Brown 35, Cornell 24 - Kyle Newhall-Caballero passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, sophomore tailback John Spooney (156 yards on 20 carries) became the first Brown player to rush for 100 yards since 2009, and the Bears (5-1, 2-1 Ivy) impressed against the host Big Red (2-4, 0-3).
Dartmouth 37, Columbia 0 - Nick Schwieger had 157 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Big Green (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) proved unwelcoming hosts to the Lions (0-6, 0-3).
Holy Cross 16, Bucknell 13 - Ryan Taggert was 32-of-58 passing for 380 yards and two touchdowns, Nate Stanley had nine receptions for 109 yards, and the Crusaders (4-3, 2-0 Patriot) edged the Bison (4-4, 1-2) on John Macomber’s 30-yard field goal in Pennsylvania.
Maine 23, Richmond 22 - The ninth-ranked Black Bears scored 23 fourth-quarter points to stun the Spiders (3-4, 0-4 Colonial Athletic Association) in Virginia, surviving a school-record performance by Richmond receiver Tre Gray (12 receptions, 128 yards).
Quarterback Warren Smith capped a 11-play, 64-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to give the Black Bears an improbable lead with 3:42 left.
URI 38, Delaware 34 - Robert Bentsen threw three touchdown passes, Anthony Baskerville had a a career-high 147 yards receiving and a touchdown, and the Rams (2-5, 1-3 CAA) beat the Blue Hens (4-4, 2-3) for the first time since 2002.
Bryant 34, Robert Morris 24 - Jordan Brown rushed for 179 yards and followed Jordan Harris’s blocked punt late in the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run to lift the Bulldogs (5-3, 3-2 NEC) over the host Colonials (2-5, 2-2).
Merrimack 43, Stonehill 30 - James Suozzo threw for 261 yards and two TDs while running for 127 yards and three more scores, and the host Warriors (5-2, 4-1 Northeast-10) survived a 23-point fourth quarter from the Skyhawks (2-6, 1-4).
New Haven 45, Bentley 38 - Ryan Osiecki accounted for 296 total yards and had a hand in five touchdowns to keep the host Chargers (7-1, 5-0 NE-10) ahead of the Falcons (4-4, 3-3).
Southern Conn. 48, AIC 47 - QB Kevin Lynch hit receiver Willie Epps with three seconds left for their third scoring connection to bring the Owls (6-2, 5-1 NE-10) back from 12 down with five minutes to go, and Christopher Hazelton’s PAT dropped the host Yellow Jackets (4-4, 3-3).
St. Anselm 47, Pace 21 - Quarterback Mike Pierce’s 395 yards of total offense helped the Hawks (1-6, 1-4 NE-10) to a school-record 576 yards and a win over the host Setters (1-6, 0-5).
Middlebury 49, Bates 43 - The highest-scoring game in Bates’ 117-year history ended on a sour note for the Bobcats (2-3 NESCAC) when Panthers QB McCallum Foote hit Nick Resor for a 10-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left. Foote finished with 412 passing yards and five touchdowns for Middlebury (2-3).
Amherst 24, Wesleyan 10 - The host Lord Jeffs improved to 5-0 in the NESCAC behind QB Brian McMahon (205 rushing yards) and back Evan Bunker (176 total yards), dropping the Cardinals to 3-2.
Trinity 31, Bowdoin 0 - The NESCAC’s top defensive unit held the Polar Bears (2-3) to just 96 yards of total offense, while Ben Crick coaxed 119 yards and two TDs out of nine carries for the host Bantams (5-0).
Williams 38, Tufts 17 - The balanced attack of the host Ephs (3-2 NESCAC) was led by quarterback Adam Marske’s 210 passing yards and two touchdown tosses and kept the Jumbos (0-5) winless.
Colby 13, Hamilton 7 - Nick Kmetz threw two touchdown passes and the Mules (1-4) forced six turnovers to beat the host Continentals (2-3).
Salve Regina 36, MIT 13 - Freshman QB Bradley Skeffington had a hand in three touchdowns to boost the Seahawks (5-3, 3-2 NEFC Boyd) past the Engineers (1-6, 0-5).
Endicott 27, UMass-Dartmouth 14 - The NEFC Boyd-leading Gulls (8-0, 5-0) got eight tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack from Kevin Eagan to beat the visiting Corsairs (4-4, 3-2).
Framingham St. 27, Westfield St. 24 - James McCarthy had seven catches for 185 yards and two scores, Melikke Van Alstyne rushed for 114 yards and a TD, and James Muirhead sacked Tyler Dow on fourth down with 28 seconds remaining as the host Rams (6-2, 5-0 NEFC-Bogan) held off the Owls (3-5, 2-3).
Western New England 49, Plymouth St. 7 - Kevin Cook ran for a career-high 112 yards on 11 carries and accounted for three touchdowns as the Golden Bears (7-1, 5-0 NEFC Boyd) topped the Panthers (4-4, 2-3).
Curry 31, Nichols 20 - Anthony Carnevale threw for 265 yards and a TD, while rushing for two more, to pace the visiting Colonels (4-4, 2-3 NEFC Boyd) over the Bison (0-8, 0-5).
Mass. Maritime 34, Maine Maritime 6 - Walter Butler’s 48-yard fumble return for a touchdown was one of nine turnovers forced by the Buccaneers (5-2, 3-2 NEFC Bogan). The hosts reclaimed the Admiral’s Cup from the Mariners (4-3, 2-3) for the first time in eight years.
Worcester St. 31, Coast Guard 30 - The visiting Lancers (6-2, 3-2 NEFC Bogan) got 298 yards passing and four touchdowns from QB Tony Tokarz and the Bears (1-6, 1-4) missed a 43-yard field goal on the final play.
Bridgewater St. 42, Fitchburg St. 0 - Mike McCarthy rushed for two scores and passed for another, and the host Bears (5-2, 3-2 NEFC Bogan) limited the Falcons (2-6, 1-4) to just 44 yards.
Norwich 41, Husson 7 - The visiting Cadets (5-3, 5-0 ECFC) saw five different players score in a blowout of the Eagles (0-7, 0-4).
Castelton St. 39, Anna Maria 34 - Brandon Bergeron’s pick of Santino Simone with 1:05 remaining kept the host AMCATS (0-7, 0-4 ECFC) winless since the program’s inception.
SUNY-Martime 31, Mt. Ida 29 - The Privateers (6-1, 4-0 ECFC) foiled a game-tying, 2-point conversion attempt by the visiting Mustangs (3-4, 2-2) with 51 seconds left.