After winning at Harvard a week earlier, the Penn football team returned to Franklin Field yesterday ready for a party. The Quakers celebrated the best way they could - with another defensive masterpiece.
Penn held Cornell to four first downs and only 110 yards of total offense in a 34-0 rout that clinched the Ivy League title outright.
"It certainly ranks up there with some of the best efforts I've ever been involved with," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said after his team completed a 7-0 Ivy League season.
"We've probably had as much adversity this year as I can remember," he added, referring to his team's many injuries at quarterback and tailback throughout the season.
Senior wide receiver Kyle Derham was the first player to get his hands on the championship trophy. He held it aloft and was swarmed by his teammates as many of the 9,018 fans at the game celebrated on the field.
"I've been dreaming about that for a pretty long time," Derham said. "It was the best feeling of my life so far."
Derham capped Penn's scoring by catching a 25-yard touchdown pass from Keiffer Garton late in the third quarter. Garton also found Luke Nawrocki from 9 yards out in the quarter and ran one in himself from 8 yards out in the second quarter.
Lyle Marsh scored the game's first points with a 3-yard touchdown run on Penn's second drive, and Andrew Samson kicked field goals of 23 and 45 yards.
Penn (8-2 overall) racked up 418 yards of offense - including 249 rushing yards - and made 26 first downs.
The Quakers sacked Ben Ganter and backup Stephen Liuzza twice each and allowed the Big Red (2-8, 1-6 Ivy League) to convert only two of 13 third downs.
"Anything less than a shutout would have been a disappointment to us," senior linebacker Jake Lewko said. "It's just a great finish - we couldn't finish any other way, really."
Fellow senior Chris Wynn reflected on the end of Penn's six-year championship drought.
"You always see the videos and the pictures of the guys from years past holding up the trophy," the cornerback said. "To finally get it done and see the trophy and hold it . . . is an indescribable feeling."
Bagnoli admitted that "we have very broad expectations here," and that going six years without a title "was too long."
But the motto that defense wins championships rang true as Lewko and Wynn delivered the 14th Ancient Eight football title for Penn.
It was also the seventh outright championship in Bagnoli's tenure, making him the most successful coach by that standard in Ivy League history.
Watch video of the Ivy League championship trophy presentation at http://go.philly.com/pretzel.EndText