SPORTS BRIEF: Harvard falls to Penn

What should have been a day of celebration for Harvard turned into a solemn affair today, as Penn (5-4, 3-3 Ivy) upset the Crimson (7-2, 4-2 Ivy) 22-13 in front of 7,819 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Penn.

Senior running back Clifton Dawson eclipsed the Ivy League’s all-time rushing yards mark with a 55-yard carry in the first quarter on his way to 119 yards on the game.

But the Quakers and four first-half turnovers proved too much for Harvard to overcome.

After taking a 7-0 lead on a five-yard pass from junior Liam O’Hagan to sophomore tight end Jason Miller, set up by Dawson’s 55-yard scamper, Penn responded with a running attack of its own. Penn’s Joe Sandberg scored on a 15-yard run on the ensuing drive to tie the game at seven apiece.

After a three-and-out for the Harvard offense, the Quakers put together a six play, 62-yard touchdown drive capped off by an 11-yard Sandberg run. Sandberg finished the first quarter with 56 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries against the Ivies’ best rush defense.

The kickoff after the touchdown made things no better for the Crimson, when freshman running back Cheng Ho fumbled the kick and Penn recovered at the Harvard 22.

The Crimson defense stiffened, holding the Quakers to just two yards and a field goal, but trailed 17-7 just 1:30 into the second quarter.

The disasters were not yet finished for Harvard. On the next drive, the Crimson had marched to the Penn 46 before an attempted pass for junior wideout Corey Mazza was tipped and intercepted by Penn’s Patrick Kimmener and returned to the Quaker’s 40.

The defense again forced a Quaker three-and-out, but the first play of Harvard’s next drive was a botched handoff from O’Hagan to Dawson, and Penn recovered at the Harvard 19.

Three plays yielded just three yards, but another field goal gave the Quakers a 20-7 lead.

The Crimson bounced back, adding a pair of field goals just before the half to trail 20-13 at the break.

But the second half gave Harvard no help. The Crimson opened the half with a long drive that reached the Penn 24 before a missed field goal by junior kicker Matt Schindel.

From there, Harvard would never sniff the end zone again in a field position battle. The Quakers downed three punts inside the Crimson’s 5-yard line, one of which led to a safety in the fourth-quarter after O’Hagan tripped and fell while dropping back to pass.

Harvard finished the second half with just 97 yards after racking up 248 in the first.