PHILADELPHIA - A tumultuous season-opener showed Penn’s resiliency as a comeback attempt—that had once seemed improbable to all that watched— fell just short. That’s a trait the Quakers (0-1) will need on Saturday for the annual Schuylkill Showdown with Villanova (2-1). The Red and Blue look to end an 11-game losing streak—and a 101-year drought—to their cross-city rival. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Franklin Field. Comcast will televise the home opener—which also serves as Al Bagnoli’s 200th career game at Penn.
Catching the Game
|Comcast will broadcast the game in the Philadelphia area. For those outside the local area, you can watch the game in HD on the Penn Sports Network.|
|The game can be heard locally in Philadelphia on WFIL 560AM. 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 video available to those who are outside the Comcast broadcast area. Those in the local area can hear the audio of the game with 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.|
These teams will meet for the ninth straight year. All but two have been one possession games in the fourth quarter. However, Villanova has won each contest and 11 straight overall in this series for an all-time lead of 11-5. Penn’s last win was at Franklin Field, 22-0, on Oct. 14, 1911. Head Coach Al Bagnoli is 0-10 at Penn against Villanova’s Andy Talley.
Al Bagnoli hits another historic milestone this week. Saturday’s matchup with Villanova will mark his 200th career game as the head coach at Penn. As the school’s all-time winningest head coach, Bagnoli is the first man in the program’s history to reach this milestone. Second on the list is George Woodruff, who stood along the Penn sideline for 141 games. In his first 199 games at the helm of the Quakers, Bagnoli has accumulated a record of 136-63 (.683) and has won an Ivy-record eight outright league titles during his 21 years. His 200th game also coincides with another notable No. 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 44 times before tonight, and only 15 times between FCS coaches—included among that count are the last two matchups between these coaches. Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli has won 222 times in 295 career games and has the highest winning percentage of any active coach in the FCS, while Villanova Head Coach Andy Talley has tasted victory 220 times in 357 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 third FCS matchup of all-time where both coaches have 220 or more career wins. The last time it occurred 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.
Tonight marks the 136th home opener for Penn. The Quakers have been superb in their first game at Franklin Field with an all-time record of 105-29-1 (.781). Under the longest tenured head coach in team history—Al Bagnoli—Penn is 12-8 in the first home game of the year and has an identical record.
Quick Quaker Notes
Penn has forced a turnover in 10 straight games ... Last week, Penn did not record a sack for the first time in 17 games ... Penn opponents have not missed a field goal since 2010 (17-for-17) ... Last week, Penn allowed an opening drive touchdown for the first time since Nov. 1, 2008 (33 games)—though Lafayette had to go just 14 yards to do it ... Penn’s seven interceptions against Lafayette on Saturday were the most the Quakers have thrown in a game since giving up as many against Villanova in 2007 ... Penn has lost three straight road games for the first time since 2006 (Yale, Princeton, Cornell) ... The Quakers have scored 20 or more points in 14 of the last 15 Ivy games.
Penn has the luxury of a crowded backfield. The Quakers have four different players with more than 670 career rushing yards. The quartet has combined for nearly 4,000 yards in the past three seasons (3,930). Brandon Colavita leads with 1,406 yards, followed by Billy Ragone’s 1,096, Lyle Marsh’s 724 and Jeff Jack’s 704.
Senior quarterback Billy Ragone is 40 yards away from becoming just the fourth player in Penn’s 136-year history with 4,000 total yards of offense. He is 127 yards from passing former QB Jimmy McGeehan (1991-93). Gavin Hoffman is the runaway school record holder with 7,188 yards between 1999-2001. Ragone is also just 136 passing yards from becoming Penn’s 11th 3,000-yard passer. He’ll need 349 yards to move into the school’s top 10 in all-time passing yards.
No program in the history of college football - at any level - has played more games than Penn Quakers. Everytime they play, the Quakers set an NCAA Record. Saturday's game will be the 1,325th 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 1,272 games played.
Concrete Charlie Statue Finds Its Home
For the first time, a statue of Penn and NFL great Chuck Bednarik will be officially on display at Franklin Field, along with a mural encapsulating the 12 seasons in which the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles called Franklin Field their home. The statue was unveiled at midfield during halftime of the 2011 season finale. For today’s 2012 home opener, the statue now sits in its permanent home in the North concourse. Bednarik, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, started and completed his amazing career inside Franklin Field, playing not only for Penn during his time on campus but also professionally with the Philadelphia Eagles. Bednarik’s list of accomplishments is one of the most distinguished in the sport’s history. A two-time All-American, the former Penn offensive lineman and linebacker is known as one of the last men to play both offense and defense for an entire game. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 1949 NFL Draft and was an eight-time NFL All-Pro for the Eagles.
What You've Missed
If you don't follow Penn Football on Twitter (@PennFB) or Facebook yet, here are some of the exclusive interviews you missed from the preseason.
More exclusive twitter interviews, stats and first-to-know information all season long. Follow @PennFB.
Fans can now follow the Quakers closer than ever. Fans can get an inside look into the program through twitter, facebook and extensive video. You can follow the team’s daily activities through twitter (@PennFB, #PennFB, #PennPride) or on Facebook. Video throughout the season will feature highlights, press conferences and interviews with players and coaches. All video can then be found on twitter or facebook as well as the Penn Sports Network and the Penn Athletics YouTube channel (keyword: Penn Sports Network). All of this can easily be accessed at PennAthletics.com/socialmedia.
Fans, players and coaches alike have been encouraged to use #PennFB or #PennPride when referring to Penn Football in their tweets. Follow the hashtags all season long to see what the twitterverse is saying about the Quakers and feel free to join the conversation by using the hashtag. During games, the Penn Athletics staff will use these hashtags for live updates, photos and highlights.
Penn Picked Second in Ivies
Picked to finish second in the 2012 Ivy League Preseason Media Poll on August 7, the Quakers may be right where it wants to be. The team slated to finish second in the Ivy preseason poll has gone on to win the Ivy title in each of the last three seasons, including the last two times the Quakers were predicted to finish as the runner-up (2009 and 2010). Harvard was picked to repeat as champions and received 13 first-place votes for 132 points. Penn garnered two first-place votes and 111 points, while Cornell earned the other two first-place votes and finished third in the voting with 100 points. Brown rounded out the top four with 84 points and was followed by Yale (66 points), Dartmouth (52), Columbia (36) and Princeton (31).
Other Ivy Poll Notables
- For the fourth straight year, Harvard and Penn claimed the top two spots.
- In each of the last five seasons, either Harvard or Penn has claimed at least a share of the Ivy title.
- The Quakers have now been selected in the top four of the preseason poll for 20 consecutive seasons.
- The last time the Quakers were not predicted to finish in the top half of the Ivy League was in 1992—one month prior to the program’s first game under the direction of head coach Al Bagnoli.
Last Time Out
Hard to imagine a scenario where a team could turn the ball over eight times in the course of a game and still come within 50 yards of sending the ballgame to overtime, but that is just what Penn endured in Saturday night’s season opener at Lafayette. The final turnover - an interception near midfield with 1:19 remaining - sealed the Leopards’ 28-21 victory at Fisher Stadium. Penn trailed 21-0 before the first quarter was over, threw seven interceptions over the course of the game and fumbled at the Lafayette 1-yard line in the fourth quarter But, despite all that, shortly after senior quarterback Billy Ragone’s 1-yard touchdown run pulled the Quakers within 28-21 with 5:24 to play, the Penn defense came up with another big stop and gave the Red and Blue a chance to tie the game. The Quakers took over at their own 20 with 2:30 to play. Senior quarterback Andrew Holland, who finished with a career and team-high 18 completions and 191 passing yards, connected with junior wideout Conner Scott for two first downs on the first two plays of the drive. But three plays later, the final interception of the game - at the Lafayette 38-yard line - sealed the season-opening loss for Penn. The Quakers outgained Lafayette by nearly 200 yards (423-236) on the night and had nearly twice as many first downs (25-13). But five of Penn’s first six possessions ended in interceptions, including all four first-quarter trips.
A national television matchup awaits the Quakers in Hanover, N.H. Penn will open its Ivy season on the road at Dartmouth for the second straight year. Kickoff on Sept. 29 is at noon on NBC Sports.