BY ROCK HOFFMAN
COLLEGE FOOTBALL EDITOR
NEW YORK – When the Sports Information staff is trying to figure out where an impending win ranks in the annals of school history, you know it’s been a bad day one team and on a great fall Saturday for football – Penn had a terrible day. The Quakers were humbled by Columbia 44-6 on Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium.
It was the Lions (2-3, 1-1 Ivy) second home win in a row over Penn, just their second overall since 1997 and only their 23 win in 99 tries in a series that dates back to 1878. The Quakers (2-3, 0-2 Ivy) didn’t get on the scoreboard until there was less than six minutes left in the game thus making moot the work done to determine the last time Penn was shutout by Columbia (it was 1901, yes 118 years ago, in case you want to win a bar bet).
The Lions came in averaging 68.2 yards per game on the ground, they ran for 255 while holding Karekin Brooks, the leading rusher in FCS, to 60 yards.
Columbia set the tone early.
The Lions ran a flea flicker on the first play from scrimmage with Ty Lenhart connecting with Mike Roussos for a 47-yard play then Columbia ran the ball four straight times with Lenhart scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
“I think it was just a great way to boost momentum,” said Lenhart, who ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns while making his first start of the season after playing each of the first four games of the year. “The o-line had great protection, Mikey ran a great route and I just trusted him with it. It got us off to a great start. So, it was pretty cool.”
“Obvious by the final score we were outplayed,” said Penn head coach Ray Priore. “We faulted early on, they came out of the box, hit the long pass play and had us on our heels. We never could get back the momentum.”
After the Quakers missed on a fourth down conversion, the Lions converted one and it led to a 43-yard field goal by Alex Felkins.
Early in the second quarter, Kendren Smith intercepted Lenhart at midfield and his return set the Quakers up at the Lions’ 36 but Rory Starkey Jr. dropped a pass from Nick Robinson on fourth down and the Lions got the ball back. They wasted no time matriculating the ball down the field, needing just over two minutes to go 70 yards. Dante Miller scored on a 17-yard run to make it 17-0.
The Quaker attempt to answer came up short, well wide left actually when David Perkins missed on a 42-yard field goal try.
Late in the second quarter, the Quakers pinned the Lions deep in their own territory. After a punt gave Penn the ball at the Columbia 40, Robinson was sacked by Cooper Wilson, who stripped the ball and Daniel DeLorenzi recovered it. However, Brian O’Neill got the ball right back for Penn with an interception but in the final seconds of the half Perkins was wide left again – this time from 36-yards out.
The Quakers first two possessions of the second half ended with punts while the Lions scored touchdowns on their first two series to build a 30-0 lead. Columbia added a pair of fourth quarter scores 25 seconds apart on Lenhart’s second 1-yard run and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Luke Adams. Penn’s Conor O’Brien had his own scoop and score to prevent the shutout but a beautiful day for college football in a great setting couldn’t have been uglier for the Quakers.
Email Rock Hoffman at Rock@footballstories.com