PHILADELPHIA- After last weekend's Alumni Game, the 2012 Sprint Football season officially opens up for the Quakers as they travel to Cornell Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Penn capped off another successful campaign in 2011, going 5-2 and finishing with the best record amongst the Ivy League schools in the CSFL. Last season, Penn jumped out to an early 17-7 lead, holding off the Big Red in the end 35-28.
While Penn will have a new signal-caller in Keith Braccia, the Quakers return to the talented receiving duo of Andrew Donald and Whit Shaw. Donald caught a team-high 26 passes for 351 yards and five touchdowns last season, the ninth-best single-season in Penn history. Shaw, Penn's career receiving yards leader with 1,757 yards, nearly matched his teammate, catching 25 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned kickoffs and punts, earning first-team All-CSFL honors on special teams.
Two top targets like Donald and Shaw will ease the transition to starter for Longtin, replacing Todd Busler under center. Busler extended his margin over every other quarterback in the Penn record books during his senior season throwing for 1,681 yards and completing his career with 4,423 passing yards - 1,730 more than any other Quaker has thrown for.
Defensively, the Quakers return seven of eight leading tacklers from 2011. Top returnees to the defense include All-CSFL selection Jack Miller and captain Anthony DiBella, who each made 48 tackles this past season.
41 players return for 2012, and 17 remain from the 2010 championship team as Penn sets its sights on another CSFL crown. The Red and Blue will have homefield advantage on their side, playing their last five games at Franklin Field.
After the trip to Ithaca, Penn will be on the road once again Sunday Sept. 30 at Franklin Pierce in Ashland, Mass. before heading home to Franklin Field for the final five games of the season. The home opener is Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. against Mansfield.