From the opening snap, Penn thought it had Lehigh in the palm of its hand, until the Quakers realized the task at hand was bigger than expected. The Quakers' offense struggled early, but their defense clamped down on the Mountain Hawks all game, pacing a 30-10 win, Saturday, at Franklin Field.
"We just kept hammering down," sophomore defensive back Conor O'Brien said. "We just kept coming out there with that hard mentality we had, and we just couldn't let up. The offense was going to get into a groove eventually, but we just had to hold them as long as we could to get the ball for the offense."
The Quakers entered the game with a 45-15 record against the Mountain Hawks. Penn's running attack of Ryan Glover and Karekin Brooks struggled early, which had a trickle-down effect on the passing game.
Trailing, 3-0, midway through the second quarter, the offense got in sync. Glover threw a 43-yard pass to Steve Farrell, and Brooks ran it 8 yards for the score. Three minutes later, Brooks scored again, on a 1-yard run. The Quakers led 13-3 with 4:29 remaining in the second quarter.
"I think I started to get into a groove and started seeing things open up," said Brooks, who added a 75-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. He finished with 163 yards.
Lehigh (1-3) scored on Brad Mayes' 23-yard touchdown pass to Luke Christiano to pull within 13-10 at halftime.
Glover completed 16 of 31 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
For the second consecutive week, the Quakers' defense came up big.
"I was really pleased with our teams' focus and attention to detail this week in practice," coach Ray Priore said. "Understanding you can make great strides from Week 1 to Week 2, and as a team, we really did that."
After a 2-0 start, the Quakers' are trying to find their identity as they head into Ivy League play. With senior cornerback Sam Philippi out with an injury, the team has embraced the next-man-up mentality.
"He is still there leading on the sideline and leading in the locker room," defensive back Jacob Martin said about his teammate. "He is still there, and he is still our captain. Everyone is really embracing what they need to do and playing really hard. "