PHILADELPHIA – Playing its first game against an FCS opponent in school history, Ohio Dominican's football team had a halftime lead at Penn but ultimately fell 42-24 to the two-time defending Ivy League champs Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers had outgained Penn 227-207 in the first half and led 10-7 at the break, but the Quakers countered with three unanswered touchdowns to start the third quarter, then fended off ODU's rally later in the period.
Senior Grant Russell (Newark, Ohio) had connected with sophomore David Turner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) on a 30 yard pass to the Penn 29, and two plays later senior Brandon Schoen (Lewis Center, Ohio) caught a swing pass in the flat, broke a tackle near the sideline and took it 24 yards for a score to bring the Panthers within 28-17 with 3:34 left in the quarter.
The Panthers defense came up with a stop as senior Tre McIntyre (North Lewisburg, Ohio) deflected a pass into the air and sophomore Gus Dimmerling (Perrysburg, Ohio) came down with it near the sideline for his first interception of the season with 19 seconds left in the quarter.
Russell found junior Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) on a 26 yard pass play to move to the Penn 45, but the Panthers would be stopped on fourth and inches to end the series. On the next play after the turnover on downs, Penn scored on a 64 yard touchdown run to regain an 18 point lead.
The Quakers (1-0) scored once more in the fourth quarter, and ODU capped the day with a 22 yard touchdown pass from senior Austin Ernst (Cincinnati, Ohio) to Turner with 4:44 left.
The Panthers (0-3) scored on their second series of the game, moving 79 yards in seven plays. Russell lofted a pass into the end zone and sophomore Cedric Washington (Knoxville, Tenn.) won a jump ball against a defender for a 40 yard score to give ODU a 7-0 lead at the 9:22 mark of the first quarter.
The defense was stout in the first quarter, limiting Penn to just three first downs and 1-of-5 on third downs as the Quakers managed just 73 yards in the period, compared to 105 for ODU.
Penn tied the game early in the second quarter on a 59 yard touchdown pass, but later in the quarter freshman Jed Quackenbush (Newark, Ohio) sank his first collegiate field goal to give ODU a 10-7 lead with 3:51 to play in the frame. The score would hold until halftime, before Penn scored on its first three possessions of the third quarter to pull in front.
Russell completed 25-of-35 passes for 273 yards and two scores as the Panthers tossed for 353 yards as a team while adding 105 on the ground for 458 total yards. Last year, Penn allowed just 380 yards per game defensively.
Washington finished with six grabs for 107 yards and the score, while Contini (nine catches, 95 yards) and Turner (eight catches, 79 yards) also contributed in the passing game.
Freshman Logen Neidhardt (Hicksville, Ohio) excelled in the punt game, averaging 46.0 yards on seven punts with a long of 54. He had two punts inside the 20, including one punt downed at the one yard line.
Ohio Dominican will play its home and G-MAC opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against Lake Erie.
Contact: Scott Miles