BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The look on Penn coach Ray Priore’s face pretty much told you everything you needed to know about what happened Saturday afternoon at Goodman Stadium. And his team won.
But when was the last time his guys gave up 47 points and still won by 18?
“Well, I probably gave up that many somewhere along the line as defensive coordinator,” said the third-year Quakers coach, after the 65-47 win over Lehigh. “It was a very choppy game.”
That’s one way to describe it. The 65 points were the most for the Quakers since 1946. The 112 combined points were the most in a Penn game ever, and the most combined points on this field.
It was also the most points the Quakers have allowed in a victory.
Each team punted once. And Lehigh’s resulted in a fumble recovery. There were 52 first downs and 1,167 yards. Lehigh’s Brad Mayes threw for 444. Penn’s Karekin Brooks rushed for 269, three shy of the school record, in his first start. And he had a 64-yard touchdown nullified by a holding penalty with three minutes to go.
“They told me after the game,” Brooks said. “Usually before the game I get nervous. Until after the first [hit].”
He had 142 on 10 carries in last week’s season-opening home win over Division II Ohio Dominican. He had seven carries last season. This time he had 29 attempts. That’s an average of more than 10 yards per. And all because Tre Solomon, the top rusher in the Ivy League a year ago, injured his ankle in the season’s first quarter.
Solomon will be back, maybe even for Friday night’s Ivy opener at Franklin Field against Dartmouth.
Nice problem to have.
The Mountain Hawks, who were ranked 17th in FCS starting out, are 0-4. They lost last week at home to Yale, 56-28.
Brooks’ 411 yards is the most in back-to-back games in Penn history. He also threw for a TD on a jump pass off a direct snap, to defensive lineman David Ryslik early in the fourth quarter to make it 56-35.
“It feels good,” Brooks said. “I just practice running hard. That’s what I did today.
“I tried to celebrate with [Ryslik], but he ran off the field with the ball.”
The Quakers are 2-0 for the first time since 2004, when they finished 8-2. They’re going for a third straight Ivy title, something they haven’t done since the mid-1980s.
The only time they trailed was 7-0 after four minutes. It was 14-all after a quarter, 35-28 at the half.
And Justin Watson had only five catches for 47 yards, although he did turn a behind-his-back swing pass into a 54-yard TD “run” down the sideline.
“It’s like if we’d won 3-0,” Priore said. “At the end of the day we’re 2-0 and moving on. We’ll enjoy it. But trust me, we’ll have some lively conversations tomorrow.”
It could even include some choppiness.