Football’s Comeback Bid Falls Short in 38-24 Loss at Penn

Football’s Comeback Bid Falls Short in 38-24 Loss at Penn

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – An early 24-3 deficit proved too much to overcome as the Sacred Heart football team suffered a 38-24 defeat to Penn on Saturday afternoon from Franklin Field. The Pioneers (3-3, 1-1 NEC) drop their second straight game while the Quakers (2-2, 0-1 Ivy League) move back to .500 for the season.

A thrilling back-and-forth shootout was anything but in the opening quarter as the Quakers stormed out to a 14-0 lead, extending the margin to 24-3 late in the second quarter, only to see the Pioneers outscore Penn 24-7 to cut the gap to 31-24 with 11:10 remaining in the fourth. This, however, was the closest SHU would get to the lead as Penn responded with a game-deciding 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive to make it a two-score game late in the contest.

The three-time NEC Rookie of the Week WR Tyrese Chambers was dynamic with the ball in his hands, finishing the day with seven catches for 139 yards and 1 TD. Chambers put on the afterburners with a 74-yard catch-and-run on a slant pattern that cut the deficit to 31-24 in the fourth quarter. Chambers continues to lead all FCS first-years in receptions per game (5.2) and receiving touchdowns (six) this season.

RB Julius Chestnut was a workhorse throughout, matching his season and career-high with 28 carries for 147 yards on the ground to go along with three catches for 33 yards as the sophomore posted 180 total yards on the day. This marks the third straight game in which Chestnut has gone north of 100 yards rushing and the fourth time through six games in 2019.

QB Logan Marchi was up-and-down against one of the top defensive units in the Ivy League as he finished 21-for-37 passing for 278 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT. Marchi ups his season total to 14 TD but his second interception came on a first-and-10 play inside the red zone as the turnover sealed the victory late for Penn.

1st Quarter (14-0 PENN)

  • The home side seized control right from the opening kickoff as the Quakers marched 75 yards down the field in just 2:09 as Karekin Brooks punched in a 1-yard rushing TD to put Penn ahead 7-0 early
  • SHU gained just 36 yards on nine plays in their first two drives combined, leaving the door open for the Quakers who extended their lead to 14-0 on another Brooks 1-yard score
  • Marchi threw an INT on the ensuing SHU possession as Penn took over inside the red zone and were threatening to extend their lead to three TDs

2nd Quarter (24-10 PENN)

  • With a first-and-goal from the 5-yard-line, Penn was denied points as three straight rushing attempts all went for not, the last of which was a 2-yard loss as Dante' Moore was stuffed in the backfield by LB Chris Outterbridge and SS Alaam Horne
  • Despite the shift in momentum, SHU couldn't get much going on offense as Penn was able to stretch their lead to 17-0 with a 43-yard field goal coming from David Perkins
  • The first points of the game for SHU came on the next drive as consecutive big plays from Chestnut, the first coming on a 20-yard rush and the second on a 29-yard reception, set SHU up for a 30-yard Dane Borges FG that made it 17-3
  • Penn continued to dominate the first half as another 75-yard scoring drive capped by a Brooks touchdown, this time on a 17-yard screen pass, gave the Quakers a commanding 24-3 advantage
  • SHU, however, didn't go away as Chestnut had a couple chunk yardage plays while Marchi completed all three of his pass attempts, the last of which a 29-yard strike to WR Naseim Brantley up the right sideline that cut the deficit to a two-score game
  • The Quakers had 39 seconds left and tried to get more points before the halftime buzzer but their drive stalled at midfield as DE Kevin Peprah came up with the game's only sack that capped the first half

3rd Quarter (24-17 PENN)

  • Aside from a 38-yard run from Chestnut, SHU couldn't get much going on their first two drives of the second half
  • A huge play followed though as Penn fumbled a snap inside their own 10-yard-line as the QB Nick Robinson bobbled the ball in his attempted recovery, leaving the door open for the SHU defense who jumped on the opportunity with a Peprah recovery in the end zone that resulted in seven points and lowered the margin to 24-17
  • After denying Penn on the ensuing Quaker possession, the Pioneers held the ball for over five minutes, driving 13 plays and 40 yards down the field before stalling out on the Penn 32-yard-line

4th Quarter (38-24 PENN)

  • That huge defensive stand for the Quakers was a big sequence in the game as Penn followed with a 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive that lasted 4:41 and pushed the margin back up to 14 points
  • Needing a big play on offense, the Pioneers struck as Chambers took a slant from Marchi 74 yards all the way to the end zone to cut the margin back down to seven points with 11:10 remaining
  • Right when the Pioneers seemed to be back in the contest, Penn put together a decisive 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive that lasted over four minutes to make it 38-24
  • Penn's QB Robinson converted a clutch third-and-10 pass to Ryan Cragan that extended the drive that ultimately resulted in Brooks' fourth total TD of the day
  • On a last-ditch attempt to make a game of it late, Marchi drove the Pioneers 51 yards down the field but on a first-and-10 play from the Penn 14-yard-line, his pass to Yasir Berry was picked off by Sam Philippi to seal the win for the Quakers


  • The Pioneer offense (459 total yards vs. Penn) was much more effective in this one coming off a 28-3 home loss to CCSU in which SHU gained just 238 yards of offense
  • Marchi finished with his fourth multi-TD game of the season, extending his NEC-leading TD total to 14 on the season
  • Chestnut vaults into the Top 10 nationally in terms of total rushing yards on the season as the sophomore now has 689 (114.8 yards per game) through six games in 2019
  • Chambers continues to show out in his first season as a Pioneer, pushing his season totals to 31 catches for 563 yards (18.2 yards per catch) with 6 TD
  • Chambers' 74-yard TD is a new season-high
  • After being sidelined due to injury for the better part of the last three games, Brantley made an impact in his return to action, finishing with three catches for 47 yards and 1 TD
  • Brantley's 29-yard TD catch is his first score of the season and third touchdown reception of his career
  • The SHU offensive line – LT J.D. DiRenzo, LG Anthony Della Fave, C Josh Sokol, RG Nick Carnesale, RT Jon Mucciolo – continue to provide sensational protection as Marchi wasn't sacked in 40 dropbacks on the day
  • For the season, SHU's offensive line has allowed just two sacks, a number that ranks Top 5 in the FCS
  • DB Shamere Collins was all over the field in this one, finishing with a career-high 10 tackles while Outterbridge registered a season-high 10 tackles as well
  • Peprah was a playmaker on the defensive side, racking up four tackles, one sack, two TFL and his fumble recovery TD, marking the first defensive score for the Pioneers this season
  • This was just the second all-time meeting between the two sides and the first time the teams have faced one another at the storied Franklin Field
  • The outcome mirrored last season's matchup as Penn went up 24-0 in Fairfield last season before the Pioneers scored 27 unanswered points to take the lead but the Quakers responded with an 87-yard game-winning drive as Penn walked away with the 31-27 victory from Campus Field


The Pioneers return to Northeast Conference action with a huge Family Weekend home game against the defending NEC Champion Duquesne at 12:00 PM. The two sides both went 5-1 in league play last season but the Dukes' 28-24 victory over the Pioneers in Pittsburgh proved vital as the win sent Duquesne to the FCS playoffs.