John Lovett ’19 celebrates a touchdown run against Penn. The quarterback ran for 13 touchdowns this season, second-most in the Ivy League, behind Tiger running back Charlie Volker ’19’s 14.
Beverly Schaefer
Princeton football capped off a perfect 10-0 season by piling up 579 yards of offense in a 42-14 win against Penn Nov. 17. The victory marks the Tigers’ first outright Ivy League title since 1995 and its first undefeated season in 54 years.

“It’s hard to digest. It’s awesome,” coach Bob Surace ’90 said afterward. “We’ve worked so hard to accomplish this, you wish you could keep playing because you wish you could continue to stay out there with the guys.”

The Tigers surged ahead with a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter before fending off a strong push from Penn midway through the game. They were led by wide receiver Jesper Horsted ’19, who scored four touchdowns and produced over 170 yards of rushing and receiving yards. In the second quarter, he caught his 193rd career pass — the most in program history. A double-reverse to Horsted early in the second quarter also made the Tigers the highest scoring offense in Ivy League history.

Princeton Football 2018,
By the Numbers

470 points scored (modern school record)
130 points allowed (second in Ivy League)
72 receptions, 13 receiving touchdowns by Jesper Horsted ’19 (most in Ivy League)
14 rushing touchdowns by Charlie Volker ’19 (most in Ivy League)
18 passing touchdowns by John Lovett ’19 (most in Ivy League)

Immediately before and after halftime, the Quakers scored twice, bringing the score to 21-14, but their efforts were stymied by a key stop from Tom Johnson ’19 on Penn’s the next drive. The Tigers continued to widen their lead in the fourth, with touchdown runs from Charlie Volker ’19 and John Lovett ’19, who set a new Ivy League record when he rushed for a touchdown in his 20th straight game.

“We had to fight. They’re a good team, a competitive team,” Surace said. “Coming into today, I was excited. We practiced so well this week. If we weren’t good enough, it wasn’t going to be because we weren’t ready.”

After Lovett’s last quarterback kneel, fans rushed the field to celebrate the players and their historic season.  The players in this year’s graduating class finished their careers with 28 wins, more than any Princeton class in more than two decades. The Class of 2019 was also the first to win two titles in three years since the mid-1960s. 

Wins over Harvard (29-21 Oct. 20) and Yale (59-43 Nov. 10) earned the Tigers a Big Three bonfire, the first since 2013. The celebration, coming to Cannon Green on Sunday night, now will mark an undefeated season as well.

“Coming into the season, it was all about how we do things. Do we handle all the accountability things right? Do we work hard to practice?” said Surace. “This team is a joy to coach. They do things right. They’re fun to be around.”