PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The University of Pennsylvania will look for a third straight win on Saturday afternoon when the Quakers travel to Harvard.
Penn improved to 4-4 (2-3 in the Ivy League) with a 38-35 win over rival Princeton last weekend. This game saw the Quakers blow a 24-7 lead, rally from a 35-31 deficit and hold on for a win during a wild final 72 seconds of action. That final stretch featured a potential game-clinching Penn interception wiped out by a penalty, a potential game-winning touchdown for Princeton changed from a good catch to incomplete and finally a potential game-tying Princeton 31-yard field goal going wide right.
“It was exciting,’ Penn head coach Ray Priore tells KYW Newsradio. “In my time here, it was probably one of the most exciting games with the back-and-forth, back-and-forth to the very end, to the very last snap. The game wasn’t over until three seconds left in the game. It’s a testimony to our kids and how hard they fought.”
A key to victory for Penn was the ground attack. The Quakers cranked out 317 rushing yards and averaged six yards a carry against the Tigers. For the first time since 2004, Penn had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game as senior running back Tre Solomon (116) and sophomore running back Abe Willows (136) each hit triple figures. Willows also scored twice as he has had an increased role in the offense the last six quarters of action.
“All of our tailbacks are talented in very, very different ways,” Priore says. “Abe’s able to put his foot in the ground and get really, really fast through the hole and whatnot and when we needed that extra step on Saturday. He added a nice punch with Tre, so it’s great with the next man up mentality and those guys have been playing well.”
Despite the three league losses, Penn still has an outside shot at grabbing a piece of the Ivy League title. A lot would have to fall their way over the next two weeks to make it happen, but any scenario has to start with a win over Harvard. The Crimson are 5-3 (3-2 Ivy) and coming off a big 21-14 win at Columbia last weekend.
“Good football team,” Priore says. “Good, hard-running defense. Their up-front kids are playing really well. Similar to us, they’ve had some fluctuation at the quarterback position, but their skill kids are talented. Their return game is very dangerous.”
Last season, Penn beat Harvard at Franklin Field, 27-13.
Saturday’s game in Cambridge, Massachusetts kicks off at noon.