PHIL ADELPHIA Penn placekicker Dave Shulman had hit only five of 10 field goal attempts going into Saturday a Ivy League championship match up at Franklin Field Bat in the end Penn 23-21 win hinged on Shulman's foot, and the Quaker kicker went three for three on field goal tries.
Or three for four depending on your point of view.
With just three seconds remaining in the game. Shulman came out for his third and longest attempt of the afternoon, a 38-yard try against the 21-mile-per-hour wind. The ball traveled just half the necessary distance.
The clock read 00; the scoreboard had Harvard winning, 21-20, and the Crimson squad was leaping and slapping hands in celebration of the team's first Ivy League championship since 1975.
And then, Shulman got the fourth shot that a lot of people thought he didn't deserve.
Saying that a Harvard player roughed the Penn placekicker on the unsuccessful attempt, referee Bob Lynch spotted the ball at the Harvard 11 and let Shulman aim for the uprights again.
This time, the Penn junior got off a 27-yard kick that sailed through the goalposts, securing for the Quakers at least a share of the Ivy League championship. Penn's first since 1959, as well as its first win over Harvard since 1972.
The Harvard coaches and players argued that Shulman was never hit, but the refs let the roughing penalty and the three-pointer stand.
"I got killed." Shulman said later. "I've never been so happy to get hit in my whole life."
The win ups the Quakers season record to 5-1 in the Ivies and 6-2 overall, while the Crimson falls to 4-2 in the league and 6-3 overall. Both Harvard and Dartmouth, also 4-2 by virtue of its 22-16 win over Brown Saturday, still have a chance to grab a share of the title if Cornell can upset Penn in Ithaca this weekend.
Although Harvard had a one-point lead when time officially ran out. Penn appeared to be on its way to a 20-0 rout with only 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Quakers owed much of their advantage to the Harvard offense, which fumbled the ball in its own territory twice in the first three quarters, setting up a Penn field goal and a ID.
The type of defense we play promotes turnovers. Penn center and team Co Captain Chris DiMaria said. To be honest I was surprised there weren't more turnovers with the wind the way it was."
In addition, the Crimson relinquished possession in the first quarter when a member of the Harvard line jumped off sides on a Quaker punt from midfield.
Given so many opportunities, the Penn offense moved the ball well against a normally unyielding Crimson defense. Tailback Steve Flacco rushed for 69 yards on the afternoon--more than any back has against Harvard since Dartmouth's Sean Maher had 77--and contributed 15 yards to a 54-yard Quaker TD drive that followed the offsides penalty.