The William and Mary football team earned its second consecutive victory with a 34-28 triumph at Penn on Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field.
Although Penn (1-3) trailed by 17 points midway through the third quarter, it scored a pair of late touchdowns before the Tribe (2-4, 1-2) halted the Quakers last-minute bid at a comeback in the finals seconds of the contest.
After a 15-yard touchdown pass from Penn quarterback Billy Ragone to wideout Conner Scott with 3:23 remaining cut W&M's lead to 34-28, the Quakers later began their final drive at their own 12-yard line with 1:30 remaining. Although a short pass from Ragone to running back Jeff Jack turned into a 43 yard gain that put Penn at W&M's 24-yard line, the College came up with four consecutive stops to preserve the victory. Sophomore defensive lineman Mike Reilly registered a 5-yard sack on second down, while senior cornerback B.W. Webb batted down a pass in the end zone on fourth down as time expired.
Making his second start of the season, junior quarterback Brent Caprio threw a pair of touchdowns and completed 18-of-28 passes for 220 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Tre McBride also came up big with seven receptions for a game-high 128 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore running back Keith McBride II rushed for a game-high 97 yards on 17 carries – all coming in the first half.
Defensively, Reilly posted 2.5 sacks, while senior linebacker Jabrel Mines totaled a team-high nine tackles with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, 1.5 TFL and two pass breakups.
The Tribe took an early 7-0 lead on a seven-yard touchdown run by McBride with 9:56 remaining in the opening quarter. The seven-play, 83-yard drive was highlighted by a 35-yard run by McBride and a 24-yard completion from Caprio to sophomore tight end Bo Revell.
Penn tied the score at 7-7 when Jack capped off a short seven-play, 35-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
W&M answered with a 26-yard field goal by junior Drake Kuhn on the following drive to reclaim the lead, 10-7, with 14:24 showing in the second quarter. The 14-play drive covered 63 yards and lasted 5:43.
The College extended the margin to 17-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Darnell Laws with 6:34 remaining in the opening half. The short touchdown drive began at Penn's 11-yard line when senior Joey Brady recovered a muffed punt. In addition to finding the end zone, Laws converted a fourth-and-one from the 2-yard line one play prior to the touchdown.
The Tribe tacked on its final touchdown of the half on a 22-yard scoring strike from Caprio to McBride in the back right corner of the end zone on a third-and-10 with just 0:12 remaining in the second quarter. The touchdown came three plays after Mines forced and recovered a fumble by Jack at Penn's 22-yard line.
En route to posting a 24-7 lead at halftime, W&M outgained the Quakers, 214-116, and owned an 18:00-12:00 advantage in time of possession.
Penn opened the second half with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Ragone to wideout Ryan Mitchell to cut W&M's lead to 24-14.
The Tribe answered with a touchdown on its ensuing drive when Caprio completed a 5-yard scoring strike to sophomore wide receiver Sean Ballard – his first career score. The five-play, 80-yard scoring drive was keyed by the first two plays – a 33-yard run by Laws and a 41-yard pass from Caprio to McBride.
Penn responded with a touchdown of its own on the following drive when Ragone scored on a 5-yard run with 4:18 remaining in the third quarter to cut the margin to 31-21.
A 25-yard field goal by Kuhn with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter put W&M ahead, 34-21. The seven-play, 58-yard drive was highlighted by a 34-yard completion from Caprio to McBride.
Penn threatened to score midway through the fourth quarter, but Mines stopped Ragone for a loss on a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
Penn recorded its final score on the 15-yard touchdown pass from Ragone to Scott, before W&M secured the victory with its defensive stop in the final seconds.
The Tribe will return to CAA play next Saturday when William & Mary heads to James Madison for a 3:30pm kickoff.
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