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PRINCETON FALLS TO PENN IN SEASON FINALE 20-19

Sometimes, sports can be brutal. Sometimes, you find yourself on the wrong end of the drama.

Such was the case Saturday afternoon on Powers Field for the Princeton football team. Needing a win to get a share of the Ivy League championship, Princeton instead fell 20-19 to Penn when the Quakers scored a touchdown with five seconds remaining to stun the Tigers and give the outright championship to Yale.

The day began with a chance for a four-way tie atop the league standings, something that disappeared when Yale rallied past Harvard 19-14 in Cambridge, giving the Bulldogs at least a share and eliminating Harvard — and Penn — in the process. Princeton was hoping to win by the same score, leading 19-14 when Penn took over on its 28 with 5:16 to go.

The resulting drive lasted 17 plays and resulted in a five-yard scoring pass from Aidan Sayin to Trey Flowers. Princeton’s last chance ended by downing the ball on the kickoff and then hoping for a miracle final play, one that wasn’t to be.

Princeton led 12-0 early in the second quarter after a 23-yard touchdown pass from Blake Stenstrom to Andrei Iosivas and a four-yard Ryan Butler run. Penn began its turnaround with a blocked punt for a TD with 2:02 left in the second quarter, and it was a 12-7 game at the break.

Penn was driving to take the lead midway through the third quarter when Ozzie Nicholas forced a fumble off a completed pass and Liam Johnson picked it up and brought it back 89 yards for a score, building the lead to 19-7. Penn, who relied on short passing all day (Sayin completd 38 passes on 47 attempts but had no completion longer than 15 yards), answered with a 15-play, 66-yard drive spanning the third and fourth quarters, and after stopping Princeton short after a Iosivas reception on a fourth-down at the Quaker 28, put together the game-winning march.

Stenstrom went 25 for 34 for 252 yards and the TD to Iosivas. Dylan Classi caught eight passes for 108 yards, and Butler had his 12th touchdown of the season, 11 of which came on the ground. Nicholas had 15 tackles to lead the Tigers, and Johnson had 11 in addition to his touchdown return.

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december, 2022

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