Princeton “Finishes” Strong, Tops Penn 28-7
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The word of the week, according to Princeton head football coach Bob Surace, was “finish,” and so even after Brown’s upset bid at Dartmouth fell short to end any chance of a share of the Ivy League title, his Tigers still were going to make sure that they took that word seriously.
Dartmouth closed out Brown while Princeton was midway the third quarter on Franklin Field at Penn, leaving the Tigers only pride to play for over the final 21 minutes. And Princeton did just that, playing with a lot of it.
Collin Eaddy rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns and the defense shut out Penn for the final 52 minutes as the Tigers ended their season with a 28-7 victory. Ryan Quigley added 92 yards and another touchdown on the ground, and the defense ended things with a late goal-line stand for good measure.
“We talked about how we needed to finish,” Surace said. “The play, and the season.”
For Princeton there was no second straight Ivy League championship, which ended up being shared by Dartmouth and Yale after the Big Green held off Brown 29-23 and the Bulldogs rallied to defeat Harvard 50-43 in two overtimes. To get a share of the title, Princeton needed the win, which it got, but also needed losses by Dartmouth and Yale after the Tigers fell to those two teams the last two weeks.
“This is a big rivalry game,” Eaddy said. “Plus, we weren’t happy with how we played the last two weeks, and we wanted to get back to doing things our way.”
Princeton finished the season 8-2, reaching eight wins for the ninth time since the league went to a 10-game schedule in 1980. With last year’s 10-0 season, Princeton reached 18 wins over a two-year span for the first time since 1950-51.
Penn drove 59 yards on eight plays on its first drive before a fourth-down pass on the Tiger 15 fell incomplete. After a stop, Penn then came right back down the field, going 69 yards in five plays to take a 7-0 lead, the TD on a seven-yard touchdown pass.
From there, the defense would allow no more Quaker points.
After the kickoff, Princeton found itself with a fourth-and-1 at its 29 and went for it, and a direct snap to Eaddy resulted in a first down, as opposed to a short field for Penn had it not worked. From there, it took Princeton seven more plays to go the rest of the way, with Eaddy’s first TD of the day and 11th of the season the payoff, set up by a nice 19-yard Kevin Davidson-to-Jacob Birmelin connection.
Princeton would lead 10-7 at halftime after Tavish Rice kicked a 28-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half. Eaddy and Quigley both had a second-half touchdown on the ground, giving Eaddy an Ivy-best 12 for the year.
The defense did the rest, including stuffing the Quakers four times from the two-yard line to preserve the 28-7 final.
Delan Stallworth led Princeton with 12 tackles, 11 of which were solo tackles. Jeremiah Tyler and James Johnson had six each, Joey DeMarco had four with two for loss and Cole Aubrey and Uche Ndukewe each had a sack. T.J. Floyd had an acrobat interception off a tipped ball.
Birmelin caught five passes for 70 yards, giving him 60 catches for the year.
Surace coached his 100th game at Princeton and now has a record of 56-44.