|Catching the Game: Penn vs. Lafayette
|Date/Location||Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. | Franklin Field|
|Promotions|| Foam Toast to the first 3,000 fans | Community Day
Penn Ticket Office | 215-UofP-TIX
|Game Notes||Penn | Lafayette|
LSN | RCN/WBPH
|Radio|| WFIL 560AM
Brian Seltzer (Play-By-Play), Hench Murray (Analyst)
|| Live Stats
PHILADELPHIA - Finally. Its game day again at Franklin Field. The defending Ivy League champions open the 2013 season Saturday against Lafayette. The Quakers, who won each of the last four games of 2012 in dramatic fashion to claim the program’s 16th Ivy title, begin their quest to become the first program in league history to win four outright titles in five years. The season-opening kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
The Penn-Lafayette Series—90th Meeting
In a series dating back to 1882, this marks the 90th meeting between Penn and Lafayette. The Quakers hold an all-time edge of 62-23-4, including 46-10-4 at Franklin Field, but the Leopards have won five of the last six matchups. This is the eighth straight season these teams have met and the fourth straight year that Lafayette has served as Penn’s opener. Penn coach Al Bagnoli and Lafayette coach Frank Tavani are 5-5 in head-to-head matchups.
Penn’s 2012 title earned the program its third outright Ivy League title in four years. That feat has only been accomplished five times in Ivy history. Penn has done it on three occasions and the rest of the Ivy League has combined to do it twice. No team other than Penn has accomplished the feat since 1980:
- Dartmouth (1970, 72-73)
- Yale (1977, 79-80)
- Penn (1984-86)
- Penn (2000, 02-03)
Penn won five straight Ivy League championships from 1982-86, but shared the title in 1982 and 1983. No program has ever won four outright Ivy titles in a five-year span, but the 2013 Quakers have a chance to make history this season. The Red and Blue won the outright title in 2009 (7-0), 2010 (7-0) and 2012 (6-1).
Back for Four (outright)
No player in Ivy League history has ever graduated with four outright Ivy League championship rings. However, Penn has three players with the opportunity to set the precendent. Fifth-year seniors Billy Ragone, Sam Chwarzynski and Brandon Colavita were freshmen when the Quakers began this string of titles in 2009.
Let the Games Begin
Tonight marks the 137th season opener for Penn. The Quakers have been superb in openers, with an all-time record of 102-33-1 (.754). Under the longest-tenured head coach in team history—Al Bagnoli—Penn is 12-9 in the first game of the year and and owns an indentical record in home openers.
Last to Start
Penn will be among the last Division I teams to kick off its season. Every other Division I program has either played a game or is currently playing. Typically the Ivy League is the last to begin play, and this season, Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth all kick off at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.
Penn has new white and blue uniforms this year and unveiled alternate red jerseys last year. They now have six combinations of uniforms - all in the last two years. Here is a glimpse:
Five of the last six meetings between Penn and Lafayette have been decided by one possession. The only exception was the last meeting at Franklin Field—which resulted in the second-largest home loss in Coach Bagnoli’s tenure (37-12 in the 2011 opener). But each of the other five games have come down to the final drive of the game. Penn is 1-4 in those games. The win was an emotional come-from-behind victory (19-14) in the 2010 season opener—the team’s first game after the passing of team captain Owen Thomas. That also serves as Penn’s last win over Lafayette.
Under the Lights
For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the Quakers will open the season at home, and Saturday’s 6 p.m. start marks the fourth straight season in which Penn opens the season at night. Overall, the Quakers are 20-16 under the lights and 15-8 at Franklin Field, but the stadium lights have not been kind during the Al Bagnoli era. Since he took over in 1992, Penn has gone 8-13 (.381) in night games, although the Quakers have won two of the last three.
Prognosticating Penn’s Punter
Probably perplexed pronosticating Penn’s punter? That’s because, for the first time since 2008, Scott Lopano is not holding the position for the Quakers. A four-year starter, Lopano set the school record for career punts (198) and career punt yards (7,455). He took every punt for the Quakers over the last two seasons and the last 113 overall. The last Penn punt from a player other than Lopano was Scooter Belasco in the 2010 season finale at Cornell (Nov. 20).
Quick Quaker Notes
Saturday’s game marks the first on Franklin Field’s new SprinTurf ... Penn has allowed an opening-drive touchdown just once since Nov. 1, 2008 (43 games)—Lafayette went just 14 yards to do it in the 2012 season opener ... The Quakers forced 10 turnovers in their last three games (nine interceptions, one fumble) ... Penn went 5-0 last season when leading at the half and 1-4 when trailing (only win was against Columbia, trailed 6-3) ... Penn is 3-0 in their red jerseys ... Penn has won 12 of its last 13 Ivy home games ... Penn has scored 20 or more points in 18 of its last 20 Ivy games.
Penn Scoring Trend
Penn has never been shut out at home in the Al Bagnoli era. In fact, the last time the Quakers were held without a point at Franklin Field was Nov. 18, 1989 (24-0 vs. Dartmouth), a span of 118 home games.
Ragone in the Record Books
Senior quarterback Billy Ragone—who has 47 career touchdowns (19 rush, 28 pass) to rank second all-time at Penn behind Gavin Hoffman (54) and tied with Mike Mitchell (47)—now has more total yards at Penn than all but one former Quaker and is one of just three players in Penn’s 137-year history with 5,000 career yards of total offense. Ragone (5,513) passed Mitchell (5,394) for second all-time and is behind only Hoffman’s school standard of 7,188. In addition, Ragone is just one passing yard (3,999) from joining Hoffman (7,542) and Mitchell (5,547) as the only Penn quarterbacks to reach 4,000 in their career. Ragone’s 602 career pass attempts are good for fourth place all-time at Penn, and his 342 career completions place him just one behind Jimmy McGeehan for third all-time. That also places him fifth in career completion percentage. His 28 touchdown passes are one behind Marty Vaughn (1973-74) for fourth-most in Penn history.
In addition to Ragone, there are several other Quakers in reach of milestones and the Penn record book. Ryan Mitchell and Conner Scott are in reach of becoming the 16th and 17th Penn players with 1,000 career receiving yards and the first since Dan Castles in 2004. Meanwhile, senior Brandon Colavita is 470 yards from cracking Penn’s all-time top 10 career rushing list. Junior Conner Loftus is eighth in career PATs with 55 and three away from tying Jim Grass for seventh.
No program in the history of college football—at any level—has played more games than Penn. Every time they play, the Quakers set an NCAA record. Saturday’s game will be the 1,334th in the Red and Blue’s illustrious history. Penn remains the only program to pass 1,300 games, hitting that mark on Oct. 31, 2009 in an overtime win at Brown. Yale is second all-time with 1,281 games played.
Penn is currently in the midst of its first three game non-conference losing streak under head coach Al Bagnoli. Penn lost all three of its non-conference games last season before going 6-1 in league play to claim the program’s 16th Ivy title. Overall, the winningest coach in school history is 35-26 against non-league opposition. Prior to this stretch, the Red and Blue hadn’t lost three straight non-conference games since 1991 (at Holy Cross, vs. Lafayette, at Lehigh). That was the tailend of a six-game non-conference losing streak that was broken in Al Bagnoli’s first-ever non-league game in 1992 (24-0 vs. Colgate).
A Penn Win Would...
... mark the first in a season opener since 2010.
... improve the Quakers to 103-33-1 in season openers.
... be the fourth in a row at Franklin Field.
... be the fifth straight overall dating back to last season.
A Penn Loss Would...
... be the third straight to Lafayette.
... mark the fourth straight non-conference loss.
... be less good than a win.
Last Time Out
What a finish. To the game. To the season. And to the careers of the Senior Class of 2013. Penn clinched its third outright Ivy League championship in four seasons with the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of play to top Cornell, 35-28, at Schoellkopf Field. It was a typical ending for those Quakers, as all but one Ivy League win last season was decided by one possession. Cornell tied the game, 28-28, with a touchdown and a two-point conversion with just 2:57 left. Led by senior quarterback Andrew Holland, who made his first career start after senior Billy Ragone suffered a season-ending injury the week prior, the Quakers took over at their own 37-yard line. Holland was a perfect 3-for-3 on the drive for 38 yards and senior Lyle Marsh, who finished with his third-consecutive 100-yard rushing performance, ran twice for 12 yards to get the ball to the Cornell 3-yard line. Spencer Kulcsar rushed it in from there and Penn had the lead, 35-28, with 1:00 left. It wasn’t over. Cornell moved the ball to midfield and then connected on a deep pass to the Penn 8-yard line with 17 seconds to play. A personal foul on Cornell moved the ball back to the 23-yard line. Then Cornell completed a pass back to the eight, but time expired before the Big Red could run another play. Once again, the Quakers were celebrating another Ivy title.
It is the annual Schuylkill Showdown with cross-city rival Villanova. For the first time since 2010, the Wildcats will serve as hosts. The Quakers have not defeated their Philadelphia counterparts since 1911, but in their last visit to the Main Line, the Red and Blue led No. 1-ranked Villanova in the fourth quarter. Kickoff is set for next Saturday at 5 p.m.