October 22, 2007

Sprinters Fall in Overtime to Penn

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The sprint football team put together a thrilling comeback in the fourth quarter, only to see its effort wasted in an overtime loss, 35-28. After Penn (3-1, 2-0 CSFL) scored on its first possession of the overtime period, Cornell (3-2, 1-2) drove all the way to the Quaker’s 2-yard line. But the Red came up empty-handed after two runs and one passing play couldn’t find the end zone. On fourth down, Penn’s Rob Lombardi deflected a pass intended for junior Matt Malleo and the game was over.
“Penn has a very good quarterback and tailback,” said head coach Terry Cullen. “Our whole focus was to contain both of them and we did a good job except for maybe four plays.”
The third quarter yielded two of those big plays by the Quakers. Penn tailback Rob Lombardi broke through the middle for a 58-yard touchdown run. Later in the quarter, Penn quarterback Mike D’Angelo connected with Tomas Altamirano for a 71-yard touchdown pass.
“We made mistakes and they capitalized,” said sophomore wide receiver Upal Sarker.
Except for those few mistakes, the Red defense was dominant. The defense allowed 268 total yards while the offense gained 471 yards. The defense racked up seven sacks that cost Penn 54 yards. Penn was only allowed to convert 3-of-12 third downs and had to punt nine times compared to the Cornell’s four punts. Freshman Clay Hemminger led the defense with 10 tackles and two sacks.
“The defense dominated except for four plays,” Hemminger said. “They were just blown pass coverage and missed tackles.”
Turnovers cost the Red offense dearly however, with the Quakers intercepting two passes and forced four fumbles.
“When you turn the ball over five times you really just put yourself in a bad position,” Sarker said. “We’re going to work on ball security, not turning the ball over.”
The Red made a few big plays of its own, particularly a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game from junior quarterback Zak Dentes to Sarker with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Dentes returned from an injured throwing hand to complete 23 of 37 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns.
“He [Dentes] had an outstanding game,” Cullen said. “His stats were really phenomenal.”
“We’re really comfortable passing the ball and it showed in the second half,” Sarker said. “We were running good routes. If we had done more of that in the first half maybe it would have been a different story.”
In addition to Dentes, Sarker, sophomore Michael Brennan and senior tri-captain Glenn Palmer provided bright spots for the Red on offense. Sarker caught two touchdown passes, Brennan caught ten passes for 150 yards and Palmer rushed ten times for 97 yards.
“We moved the ball up and down the field but we weren’t coming away with points,” Sarker said. “In the end we didn’t do enough.”