ORANGE CRUSHED: Princeton University linebacker Liam Johnson races upfield as he made a 92-yard touchdown return of a fumble recovery to give Princeton a 19-7 lead over Penn last Saturday in its season finale. Johnson’s heroics went to naught as the Quakers rallied for a 20-19 win, dashing Princeton’s hopes for a share of the Ivy League title with Yale, which edged Harvard 19-14 earlier in the day. The Tigers ended the fall at 8-2 overall and 5-2 Ivy. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
As Princeton University linebacker Liam Johnson raced 92 yards down the sideline with a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter against visiting Penn last Saturday, it felt like a championship moment.
Johnson’s jaunt gave Princeton a 19-7 lead in the season finale with the Tigers needing a win to clinch a share of the Ivy League title with Yale, which edged Harvard 19-14 earlier in the day.
“It comes down to little things; running to the ball, we put our namesake on that,” said junior star Johnson. “Princeton defense runs to the ball, I was just the right man in the spot.”
But over the rest of the game, it was Penn who did the little things, rallying to a 20-19 win as it scored a TD with five seconds left to dash Princeton’s title hopes before a crowd of 6,028 at Princeton Stadium.
The outcome on Saturday left both Princeton and Penn at 8-2 overall and 5-2 Ivy with Yale earning the league crown outright as it ended up 8-2 overall and 6-1 Ivy.
“We lost the big play battle and that is what it comes down to,” said Johnson, who made 11 tackles in the defeat. “You can win the whole game but a blocked punt, an interception, letting down on those fourth downs for us on the defense. It comes down to those big plays. When you don’t win those big plays, you lose the game.” more