PHILADELPHIA - A frenetic Franklin Field comeback kept the Quakers (2-3, 2-0 Ivy) unbeaten in Ivy play last week. Next up is an Ivy League road test at Yale (1-4, 0-2 Ivy) on national television. Penn hasn’t lost in regulation to the Bulldogs since 2000 (OT losses in 2006 and 2007). Kickoff is at noon from the Yale Bowl on NBC Sports.
Catching the Game
|This marks the second of three nationally televised games for the Quakers in 2012. Tune to NBC Sports Network to watch the Quakers in your living room.|
|The game can be heard locally in Philadelphia on WFIL 990AM. Brian Seltzer, in his fifth season as play-by-play man, is joined by Hench Murray, who is in his 32nd season as the analyst for the Quakers.|
|The Penn Sports Network (PSN) will have audio available. Be sure to tune in to hear Penn announcers, Brian Seltzer, C'07, and Hench Murray, C'66, GEd'67.|
|Follow @PennFB for live updates, photos and highlights. Click on #pennfb or #PennPride to see what everyone is saying about Penn Football and use it in your tweets to join the conversation.|
|Live stats can be found here. A full recap and box score will be available at the conclusion of the game at PennAtheltics.com.|
Nothing beats watching the Quakers in person. If you are in the New Haven area, be sure to get down to the Yale Bowl and cheer on the Quakers! The Red and Blue will need your support! Click here for tickets!
The Penn-Yale Series
This will mark the 80th all-time meeting between Penn and Yale on the gridiron, dating back 1879. Yale owns a 45-33-1 edge in the series, but the Quakers have been dominate since Connecticut native Al Bagnoli took over as head coach. Prior to his arrival, Penn had won just 18 of 59 meetings, but have won nearly as many (15) in 20 games under Bagnoli. The Quakers have won four straight over the Bulldogs and nine of the last 11—the only two losses coming in overtime, including a triple overtime loss at Franklin Field in 2007 (26-20).
Greatest of All-Time?
With a win today, head coach Al Bagnoli will own the highest winning percentage in Ivy League history. As the winningest active head coach in the FCS (74.4%), Bagnoli is undoubtedly one of the greatest coaches in Ancient Eight history, and one of the greatest of all-time. Bagnoli has coached 142 games against Ivy opponents and the Quakers have won 103 of them. That amounts to a winning percentage of .725 which stands as the second-best of all-time since the league’s inception in 1956. A victory over Yale would improve his Ivy record to 104-39 (.727) and push him past Princeton’s Dick Colman (61-23, .726).
What better place for Coach Bagnoli to possibly move into first-place in Ivy winning percentage? This week is always a Homecoming for head coach Al Bagnoli. A Connecticut native and alum of Central Connecticut State (1975), Bagnoli is 7-3 all-time at the Yale Bowl. Those losses came by a combined 10 points, including an overtime defeat in 2006.
Homecoming Part II
This is also a Homecoming for several Penn players. Senior quarterback Billy Ragone is a Cheshire native and was the 2008 Walter Camp Foundation Connecticut State Player of the Year for Cheshire High School. He also led the basketball team in scoring and assists in all three of his varsity seasons. Ragone is 3-0 all-time against Yale and 1-0 at the Yale Bowl—a 27-20 win in 2010 en route to his second undefeated Ivy League title. Penn’s other Connecticut natives include sophomore TE Mitchell King (Essex), freshman OL Ernie Rosato (Greenwich) and junior DB Evan Jackson (Hamden).
Over the last 21 years, every man who has taken a head coaching job in the Ivy League has lost to Al Bagnoli. The only exception at this point is Tony Reno as the two meet as head coaching foes for the first time. Since Coach Bagnoli took over at Penn in 1992, the other seven schools have combined for 22 different head coaches and every Ivy school has had at least one coaching change (16 total). Bagnoli has beaten five different coaches at Cornell and four different coaches at Columbia. He’s beaten Pete Mangurian at both those schools. And for a little fun with the longest tenured Ivy League head coach, here’s what was happening in 1992 when Bagnoli took over at Penn:
• A Few Good Men and A League of Their Own were in theaters
• MTV introduced the first season of The Real World.
• Jump by Kris Kross and Black or White by Michael Jackson topped the charts.
• Tom Kite won the U.S Open in golf.
• Andrew Agassi and Steffi Graf won Wimbledon.
• Trolls dolls and the Super Soaker 100 were the most popular toys.
• Penn was coming off a 2-8 season - its worst in a decade.
• 2012 marks the sixth Presidential election since Bagnoli took office at Penn.
Penn’s defense has been stingy on third downs this season. The Quakers allowed Villanova to convert 7-of-13, but outside of that week, opponents have been successful on just 15-of-53 (28.3%) on third down. Even more impressive, in the two Ivy games, Dartmouth (3-of-10) and Columbia (2-of-14) have converted on just 20.8 percent of third downs.
Quick Quaker Notes
Penn has scored 20 or more points in 16 of its last 17 Ivy games ... Penn has allowed an opening-drive touchdown just once since Nov. 1, 2008 (37 games)—Lafayette went just 14 yards to do it in the 2012 season opener ... The Quakers have not forced a turnover in any of the last four games ... Penn has not turned it over in either Ivy League contest this year ... Penn did not have a sack in either of the first two games, but has combined for 10 in the last three.
Ragone in the Record Books Part I
Senior quarterback Billy Ragone, who has 40 career touchdowns at Penn (17 rush, 23 pass) ranks fourth all-time at Penn in career completion percentage. Ragone was 2-for-6 to start the game last weekend. But he finished with 18 completions on 34 attempts. Those numbers moved him up in the record books (see below). Ragone has completed 295 of his 509 attempts for a clip of 58.0 percent. That trails only Gavin Hoffman (64.8%), Mike Mitchell (63.7%) and Matt Rader (59.1%).
Ragone in the Record Books Part II
Ragone is just 267 yards from becoming just the third player in Penn’s 136-year history with 5,000 career yards of total offense. Last Saturday, he also moved up in the top 10 all-time at Penn in career pass yards, touchdowns, attempts and completions. His 181 pass yards gave him 3,457 for his career. That passed Marty Vaughn (1973-74) for eighth all-time in school history. Ragone’s 34 pass attempts last week gave him 509 for his career as he passed Gary Vura (1980-82) to move into 10th place. Ragone’s 18 completions now give him 295 for his career which places him seventh all-time at Penn—14 from tying Mark DeRosa—currently of MLB’s Washington Nationls—for sixth. He became Penn’s eighth player all-time with 23 passing touchdowns and is three away from reaching the Top 5.
One Last Note on Ragone
The third-year starting quarterback, who is 13-3 as a starter against the Ivy League, threw five interceptions in his first 23 attempts of the season. Since that time, he has not turned the ball over once in his last 146 plays (94 pass attempts, 48 rushing attempts). He has accounted for 593 pass yards, 172 rush yards, nine receiving yards and six touchdowns in that span (last 17 quarters).
Lopano in the Record Books
Lopano, a four-year starter at the position, is also moving up in the school record books. He is now just 201 yards away from the school record for career punt yards. Rob Sims (1990-92) is currently first at 6,621. In addition, Lopano has 165 career punts as a member of the Red and Blue, which currently ranks third; he is just one punt from matching Ryan Lazzeri (1998-2001) for second place. Jeff Salvino’s 186 punts from 1994-97 is the school standard. In addition, Lopano’s current average of 44.4 yards per punt is ahead of Sims’ single-season school record of 43.5.
Lopano Ranked No. 7 in the Nation; Penn Ranked No. 1
If you’ve been keeping track of the Quakers this season, it won’t surprise you to learn that entering Saturday, Lopano ranks sixth in the nation in punting average and Penn ranks No. 1 in the FCS in net punting. Lopano has an average of 44.44 yards per punt this year, including five over 50 yards and a 67-yarder in the home opener against Villanova. Of his 27 punts, he has pinned 11 inside the 20-yard line and has forced eight fair catches. Between Lopano and the coverage unit, the Quakers average a nation-leading 40.41 yards per punt—which means no team in the country changes field position on a punt more than Penn.
Penn has the luxury of a crowded backfield. The Quakers have four different players with more than 800 career rushing yards. The senior quartet has combined for more than 4,400 yards in the past three-plus seasons (4,458). Brandon Colavita leads with 1,416 yards, followed by Billy Ragone’s 1,267, Jeff Jack’s 950 and Lyle Marsh’s 825. If Jack gains 50 yards on Saturday, the Quakers would be one of three teams in the FCS (The Citadel and James Madison) to have three players with 1,000 career rushing yards. If Marsh gains another 175, the Quakers will be the only team in the country with four players over 1,000 career rush yards.
Trailing by 10 with under 10 minutes to play, Penn scored twice in the final 7:27, including Billy Ragone’s game-winning touchdown pass to Lyle Marsh with 50 seconds remaining to top Columbia, 24-20, at Franklin Field. The Lions went up by 10 with 10:57 remaining on a 31-yard touchdown run by Marcorous Garrett - his second of the day. But Ragone led a hurry-up offense 86 yards in just 3:30 to pull within 20-17 with 7:27 to play. The drive nearly stalled at the Columbia 35-yard line before Ragone found Marsh for 16 yards to convert a 4th-and-7. Two plays later, Ragone sailed a pass up the seam, over the Lions defense and into the hands of tight end Mitchell King for a 16-yard touchdown. After a pair of punts, the Lions started from their own six-yard line with 4:09 to go. But the defense forced another punt and Quakers took over at their own 38 with just 2:26 remaining and one timeout. On 3rd-and-9 from the Columbia 41, Ragone connected with Marsh again - this time for 23 yards down to the Columbia 18-yard line. Jeff Jack rushed for seven yards and Ragone hit Marsh for five yards for 1st-and-Goal at the Columbia six with one minute left. Two plays later, Ragone scrambled to his left and lofted a pass to the back corner of the end zone. Marsh was there for the catch and the Quakers led, 24-20. Columbia wasn’t done. They started from their own 25 and marched down to the Penn 19 with 12 seconds left. The Lions took two shots at the end zone. The first pass fell incomplete. On the final play of the game, Hamilton Garner caught a pass at the two-yard line. The only Penn player in the area was Wilk, who wrapped Garner up and sealed the win for the Quakers.
Its 2012 Homecoming for the Quakers as Penn hosts Brown at Franklin Field. The game can be seen in HD worldwide on the Penn Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.