Penn hosts Columbia in key Ivy League game Saturday

Matt Leon
October 09, 2018 - 2:51 pm
Penn senior wide receiver Christian Pearson

Penn Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Penn Quakers will look to build on one of their most dramatic wins in recent memory on Saturday when they welcome Columbia to Franklin Field for an Ivy League tilt.

Penn improved to 3-1 (0-1 Ivy) this past weekend with a 31-27 victory in Fairfield, Connecticut, over Sacred Heart. Penn led 24-0 after scoring a touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter, but then Sacred Heart scored 27 straight points, taking the lead on a fumble return with just under 10 minutes to play in the game. 

Down 27-24 late in the fourth quarter, Penn's defense forced a fourth-and-one near midfield. Sacred Heart decided to punt and pinned the Quakers at their own 13 with 3:13 left. 

Penn then put together a brilliant eight-play, 87-yard drive, mixing the run and pass. The drive was capped by a 10-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Ryan Glover to senior wide receiver Christian Pearson with 79 seconds remaining.

"It was one for the ages," Penn head coach Ray Priore recalled. "Our kids showed the poise, resiliency to settle down, make plays late in the fourth quarter."

Pearson had his biggest game of the season, catching seven passes for 104 yards and two scores. Penn also got a huge game out of junior running back Karekin Brooks. He rushed for 191 yards and a score on 28 carries. 

"They give you a great dimension," Priore said of the two playmakers. "(Brooks) is an outstanding running back. He can make people miss on those extra guys in the box situations. Christian is another weapon outside; was hurt early in the season, he's back to full strength now. So great to have them both running on full throttle."

Columbia is coached by longtime Penn head man Al Bagnoli. The Lions are 3-1 (0-1 Ivy) and coming off a 34-24 home win over Marist.

"Really sound in all aspects of the game," Priore said of the Lions. "Special teams, they've been making plays there, (providing) short fields for their offense."

Priore noted that the Lions' offense has some playmakers, starting at the running back position.

"They've got two young men who can really fly," he said. "Both different styles, young freshman (Dante Miller) who's really got a great burst of speed, rocketed through (an 83-yard touchdown run) against Central Connecticut (in their season opener) in the flash of an eye. So they have good balance, good wide receivers, quarterback is putting the ball where he needs to. Good combination."

Last year, Columbia beat Penn in overtime in New York City, 34-31.

Saturday's game at Franklin Field gets underway at 1 p.m.

You can follow Matt Leon on Twitter @Mattleon1060.