PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The University of Pennsylvania football team is on the brink of earning at least a share of the Ivy League title. The only thing standing in their way? The Big Red of Cornell who pay Franklin Field a visit on Saturday in the season finale for both teams.
Penn is 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the Ancient 8 after an incredibly impressive 35-25 win on the road at Harvard. The victory snapped the Crimson’s 22-game winning streak.
“That was a great job done by our kids,” Penn head coach Ray Priore tells KYW Newsradio. “Stayed very, very focused the entire week of practice. I knew our kids were very much in the zone going up there. But, again, really good football team, played in some tough weather conditions, we had to raise our game to the level that we needed to. We capitalized on some key opportunities during the game. Our big players played big at that time and I’m very, very proud of all of them.”
Listen to the entire interview with Penn’s Ray Priore
At the top of the list of big players playing big was Penn sophomore wide receiver Justin Watson. He finished with 249 all-purpose yards in the win, catching seven passes for 149 yards and a score while also rushing for 100 yards on just five carries. One of those carries was a 79-yard scoring run.
“I think our offensive staff has done a great job utilizing our talent and our players,” Priore says. “Each week, it’s a different plan, different way of attack. Justin is that type of athlete where you can put him in many different places, whether it is playing wide receiver or any one of the positions, last week, put him in the backfield and that causes problems for opposing teams. Credit to our offensive staff and to Justin and his teammates for executing so well last weekend.”
The Quakers are one of three teams sitting with one loss in the Ivy League, the others are Harvard and Dartmouth. If all three win, they would share the title and it would be the first time three teams shared the Ancient 8 crown since 1982. Harvard will visit Yale on Saturday while Dartmouth hosts Princeton.
The 2015 season has been a rough one for Cornell. The Big Red bring a 1-8 record into Saturday’s game, but the one win did come last time out as they shut out Columbia, 3-0, in Ithaca.
“I am all prepared for their team, their seniors playing their final game, to come down here and come out and do their best,” Priore says. “For our kids, we expect the same, we expect our kids to rise to the occasion.”
Priore scouts the Big Red.
“They have a really, really good running game,” Priore says. “Play tenacious defense.”
Last season, Penn defeated Cornell in Ithaca, 34-26.
Saturday’s game will kickoff at 1:00pm.