|Catching the Game: Penn at Villanova
|Date/Location|| Saturday, Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. | at Villanova Stadium
|Radio|| WNTP 990AM
Brian Seltzer (Play-By-Play), Hench Murray (Analyst)
Penn Game Notes
Independence Blue Cross Al Bagnoli Show
PHILADELPHIA - Its the annual Schuylkill Showdown with cross-city rival Villanova (1-2). This marks the 10th straight season the Quakers (1-0) and Wildcats have met on the gridiron. Prior to that, the teams had met just three times since 1911—the year of Penn’s last victory over the Wildcats. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 5 p.m. at Villanova Stadium.
The Penn-Villanova Series—18th Meeting
Villanova has won the last 12 meetings with Penn—a winning streak that dates back to 1911. Penn won all five meetings between 1905-1911 by a combined score of 113-12. However, the Philadelphia rivals did not meet again until 1980 and then took another 19-year hiatus before resuming the series for good in 2004. Penn has lost this matchup on the last possession four times over the last decade, but Villanova has been dominant in the three contests on the Main Line with wins of 17-3, 34-14 and 22-10 (15.3 ppg).
The last time Penn beat Villanova...
... the cost of a stamp was two cents, a loaf of bread was a nickel, and a gallon of milk averaged 34 cents. A car could be purchased for $500
... the Titanic and Fenway Park were under construction
... Franklin Field was already 16. And no other current stadium had been built
... the first Indy 500 was run
... William Howard Taft was President and Ronald Reagan was born
... Al Bagnoli and Andy Talley had combined for zero career wins
Today’s Magic Number: 200
A rare occasion will occur on Saturday as both head coaches are members of the 200-win club. In the history of college football (all levels), this has only occurred 45 times before tonight, and only 16 times between FCS coaches—included among that count are the last three matchups between these coaches. Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli has won 229 times in 304 career games and has the second-highest winning percentage of any active coach in the FCS, while Villanova Head Coach Andy Talley—who is going for his 200th win at the helm of the Wildcats—has tasted victory 227 times in 369 games. (Odd fact: Bagnoli is the only coach in the club without a tie on his record).
200-Win Club: Part Two
This is just the fourth FCS matchup of all-time where both coaches have 220 or more career wins. The last time it occurred was last season’s matchup between these two, but prior to that it was at the 2007 Gridiron Classic between Mike Kelly of Dayton (245) and Bob Ford of Albany (225). The only other occurrence was between Eddie Robinson of Grambling (308)—Division I’s all-time wins leader at 408—and John Merritt of Tennesse State (228) on Oct. 8, 1983.
Last Trip to Villanova Stadium
In Penn’s last trip to the Main Line, the No. 24 Quakers nearly earned the program’s first-ever victory over a No.1-ranked team. The Red and Blue led the top-ranked Wildcats, 10-9, late in the fourth quarter. Villanova scored with 5:09 left to take a six-point lead, then returned an interception for a touchdown to seal the win, 22-10.
Against Ranked Teams
Overall, Penn is 5-14 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2000, but three of those losses came in overtime and the Quakers were victorious in their last matchup with a ranked opponent—a 30-21 win over Harvard in the 2012 home finale. That Ivy title-clinching win snapped a seven-game losing streak to Top 25 opposition. Penn’s last road win over a ranked team was at No. 22 Lafayette, 21-11, in the 2006 season opener.
Under the Lights
Including last week’s win over Lafayette, the Quakers are now 21-16 all-time under the lights and are 16-8 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 9-13 (.409) in night games, although the Quakers have won three of the last four.
Quick Quaker Notes
Penn will wear their new white jerseys for the first time ... Penn has allowed an opening-drive touchdown just once since Nov. 1, 2008 (44 games)—Lafayette went just 14 yards to do it in the 2012 season opener ... The Quakers have forced multiple turnovers in each of their last five games and 16 total in that time (12 interceptions, four fumbles) ... Penn has won six straight games when leading at the half dating back to the 2011 season finale ... Penn is 4-0 in their alternate red jerseys ... The Quakers have scored at least 27 points in each of their last four games ... 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.
Senior Billy Ragone has thrown a touchdown pass in seven straight starts ... Senior wideout Ryan Mitchell has a catch in 21 straight games ... Seniors Jake Schwertner and Steve Szostak have started 11 straight games together on the left side of the line ... Connor Loftus has made 41 straight extra points.
Leading the Nation
Penn stands atop the nation in several statistical categories. It has only been one game, but it does not dilute the dominant performance the Penn defense displayed for much of the contest last week. The Quakers had six sacks and allowed just 14 first downs—both those averages lead the nation. The Red and Blue allowed just 45 yards on the ground—which ranks second best in the FCS—and 240 total yards—which ranks third-best in the country. In addition, the Quakers rank among the top five in the nation in tackles for loss (fourth with 10.0 pg), time of possession (fourth at 35:10) and turnover margin (fifth at plus-2).
Ragone in the Record Books
Senior quarterback Billy Ragone became the third passer in school history with 4,000 career yards on Saturday. He joined Gavin Hoffman (7,542) and Mike Mitchell (5,547) as the only Penn quarterbacks to reach that milestone. Ragone added a pair of scores and now has 49 career touchdowns (19 rush, 30 pass) to rank second all-time at Penn behind Hoffman (54). His 30 touchdown passes are four behind Jimmy McGeehan (1991-93) for third-most in Penn history. Ragone is also one of just three players in Penn’s 137-year history with 5,000 career yards of total offense (5,730) and is behind only Hoffman’s school standard of 7,188. His 630 career pass attempts are good for fourth place all-time at Penn, and his 363 career completions place him second all-time. Those marks also place him fifth in career completion percentage at 57.6 perecent.
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 528 yards from cracking Penn’s all-time top 10 career rushing list. Junior Conner Loftus is tied for seventh with 55 career extra points (four away from sixth place).
For the first time since 2008, Scott Lopano is not holding the punter 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 113 straight before Max Kurucar took all four of Penn’s punts in the opener. Prior to that, the last Penn punt from a player other than Lopano was Scooter Belasco in the 2010 season finale at Cornell (Nov. 20).
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 1,335th 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 1,282 games played.
A Penn Win Today Would…
… break a 102-year drought against Villanova.
... improve the Quakers to 2-0 for the first time since 2003.
... be the first ever at Villanova Stadium.
... be the second straight over a ranked opponent.
A Penn Loss Today Would…
… be the 13th straight to Villanova.
... snap a five-game winning streak dating back to last season.
… be less good than a win.
Last Time Out
Senior quarterback Billy Ragone completed 21-of-28 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns as the Quakers held off the Leopards, 27-21, in the closing minutes of a rain-soaked season opener at Franklin Field. The defending Ivy League champions held a 20-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Leopards scored on consecutive drives to close to within one possession. With 3:01 to play, the visitors had a chance to complete the comeback. But the Penn defense—which dominated the first three quarters —came up big again. They Quakers forced 4th-and-29 and Lafayette tried to pull off a miracle with a lateral play that advanced the ball nearly twenty yards—not enough for the Leopards to keep the ball—and it was nullified by an illegal forward lateral. Senior Billy Ragone got the Quakers on the board first with a 65-yard touchdown drive that ended with with a five-yard pass to a diving Ty Taylor in the corner of the end zone. Penn took a 13-7 lead into intermission and scored twice in the third quarter to go up 27-7—Ragone found junior tight end Mitchell King for a four-yard score and minutes later, on a bizarre play, Spencer Kulcsar scooped up an errant snap on the 25-yard line and outraced several defenders to the corner where he then raced to the left corner of the end zone. Lafayette cam to life in the fourth quarter with back-to-back scores and were within six with 5:31 left to play. After the Quakers were forced to punt, the Penn defense came up with the big stop to seal the win.
Ivy play begins when Penn hosts Dartmouth for the first time since 2010. It is also Family Weekend at Penn and kickoff from Franklin Field is set for 1 p.m. The game can be seen on the Penn Sports Network and heard on WFIL 560AM.