Saturday, October 22, 2011

Opportunity lost

With Alex Thomas running wild and Penn unable to cover Chris Smith, all indications pointed to this being the day when Penn's Ivy League winning streak would be coming to an end.

With a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, a confident Yale team believed it was on the verge of a breakthrough victory. However, it all unraveled in a mistake-filled fourth quarter.

Penn took advantage of two special-teams miscues to score 27 points en route to a 37-25 victory.

"Obviously a disappointing loss for us," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "We felt we did enough good things to give ourselves an opportunity to win the ball game. I thought the key play in the game was the sky kick they recovered. It gave them some life and gave them an opportunity to score quickly during that stretch. It is a play we need to execute and we need to keep possession of the football. Give Penn credit, they are champions for a reason. They execute down the stretch and do a nice job making the plays they are supposed to make."

Former Cheshire High star Billy Ragone had just thrown a 16-yard TD to Luke Nawrocki to pull the Quakers within four points. Connor Loftus chipped the ensuing kickoff into the air. A couple of Yale players retreated and Penn recovered.
"The wind was blowing in and the ball hung up," Williams said. "It had started to drift away from him and I think he didn't react accordingly. We knew because we think we are a good return team, whether it is a squib or a sky kick, rarely do they kick it of deep and if they do, we think we have a chance to make people pay."

With Smith out of the game with a hamstring injury, Deon Randall fumbled a kickoff leading to another one of Penn's four fourth-quarter touchdowns. So instead of Yale remaining in first place in the Ivy League, it is Penn which improved to 3-0 in league play.

"It is a crushing loss but that is what happens when you don't make the plays when you need to," Thomas said. "You have to credit Penn they did a great job of finding a way and that is what champions do."

It could be a costly loss in other ways as starting right tackle Roy Collins (ankle), Smith (hamstring) and Thomas (knee) were all knocked out of the game. Smith and Thomas are hoping to play next week against Columbia although Collins' injury looked the most severe of the three as he was on crutches on the sidelines.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's Gio? I haven't heard that he's injured. It seems that he's been under-used all year, but with Smith hurt, I would have thought he'd be in there returning kickoffs, which he was terrific at, as well as being active at wide receiver. What happened?

9:29 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya Jim, any word on why Gio no longer plays receiver? He has been one of the best playmakers on the team since his freshmen year so I have a hard time believing that some of the receivers being thrown out there are better than him. Is this another Jordan Farrell situation all over again where the senior with the most skill is benched in favor of one of Coach W's "guys"

12:22 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I've seen Gio in at receiver during practice and games. He's not out there nearly as much as he used to be but that has as much to do with the emergence of Allen Harris, Deon Randall and Cameron Sandquist as it does any perceived slight from the Yale coaching staff.

12:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't recall a better kickoff returner than Gio (Harv '07, etc.) Maybe Ken Wolfe in '60. Doesn't Gio hold some Yale records? The returner who was used in the 4th qtr on Sat after Smith got hurt didn't do quite as well.

3:51 PM 

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