Football Vies for Outright Title in Finale at Cornell
Al Bagnoli has never shared an Ivy title. He already holds the Ivy record with eight outright championships. The Quakers strive to add to that total in Ithaca. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.
The Penn-Cornell Series
The Senior Class
Senior quarterback Billy Ragone has started 25 straight games for the Quakers, but Penn will have a new starting quarterback Saturday for the first time since Oct. 9, 2010 at Bucknell (Ryan Becker). Ragone has also started 20 consecutive Ivy games for the Red and Blue, meaning this will mark the first Ivy game without Ragone as the starter since the 2009 season finale against Cornell (Kyle Olson). Ragone suffered a season-ending injury to his left ankle on the final play of the third quarter of Saturday's Ivy-title clinching win over Harvard. Senior Andrew Holland, who has played and completed a pass in every game this season, is expected to start in his place. Junior Patton Chillura and freshman Alex Matthews will serve as backups.
Beating Harvard Notables...
Harvard’s 21 points was its lowest scoring total since its last visit to Franklin Field (14 points on Nov. 13, 2010) ... The victory also marked the first Top 25 upset for the Quakers since a 22-13 victory over No. 17 Harvard on Nov. 11, 2006 - snapping a seven-game losing streak to ranked opponents ... Harvard had ranked fourth in the nation in offense at a clip of 507.3 yards per game, but Penn held the Crimson to 295 on the day ... The Crimson had averaged an Ivy-best 214.1 rush yards and finished with 121, and ranked 10th in the FCS with 293.6 pass yards, but finished with 174 ... The Crimson also led the nation in sacks entering the day, but finished with zero ... Penn has now won three of four over Harvard for the first time since 2003 ... Penn recorded six sacks for the first time since Oct. 9, 2010 (vs. Bucknell) and its first saftey since Oct. 18, 2008 (vs. Columbia).
Over 1,000: Marsh Makes Four
Senior running back Lyle Marsh entered last Saturday with 997 career rushing yards. He blew past the 1,000-yard milestone with a career-high 130 yards against the best rush defense in the nation. That makes the Quakers the only team in the nation with four active 1,000-yard rushers. Earlier this season, senior running back Jeff Jack went over the 1,000-yard milestone at Yale and now has 1,097 for his career. In addition, senior quarterback Billy Ragone, who ran for 95 (second-most in his career) in just three quarters against the Crimson, has 1,514 career rush yards and senior running back Brandon Colavita, who played just two full games this season, has 1,416. Entering Saturday, Penn’s quartet has combined for an incredible 5,154 rushing yards over the past four seasons.
Lopano's School Records
Senior punter Scott Lopano, a four-year starter at the position, set the school record for career punts on Saturday. The Southlake, Texas, native set the Penn standard for career punt yards earlier this year. Lopano is the only Penn player to amass more than 7,000 career punt yards (7,455). He broke a 20-year old record held by Rob Sims at 6,621. Lopano, who has played in 39 straight games for the Quakers, also surpassed Jeff Salvino's 15-year-old record for career punts at Penn. Lopano's 192 career punts tops Salvino's 186 from 1994-97. In addition, Lopano’s current average of 41.4 yards per punt is just slightly behind Rob Sims’ (1990-92) single-season school record of 43.5.
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 is one of just three players in Penn’s 136-year history with 5,000 career yards of total offense. Ragone (5,513) passed Mitchell (5,394) on Saturday for second all-time and is only behind Hoffman's school standard of 7,188. In addition, Ragone finished just one passing yard (3,999) from joining Hoffman (7,542) and Mitchell (5,547) as the only Penn quarterbacks to reach 4,000 career yards. Ragone’s 17 pass attempts last week gave him 602 for his career which moved him ahead of Pat McDermott (2003-05) for fourth place at Penn. Also, Ragone’s eight completions now give him 342 for his career which places him just one behind Jimmy McGeehan for third all-time. His touchdown passes were the 27th and 28th of his career and is one behind Marty Vaughn (1973-74) for fourth-most in Penn history.
Fourth Quarter Comebacks: Lions and Tigers and Bears...
With a dramatic 10-point fourth-quarter comeback against Columbia on Oct. 13, then frenetic game-tying and game-winning drives against Brown on Oct. 27, and then the late fourth-quarter come-from-behind road win over archrival Princeton with first place in the Ivy League on the line, Ragone has now engineered eight career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. Three of those comeback wins came last year—two were on the road, two came in the final minute, and all three were on national television. This year, three of Penn’s four Ivy wins are due to fourth-quarter comebacks. Each needed multiple scores to win the game as the Quakers scored two touchdowns in the final 7:27 against the Lions, two field goals in the final 2:12 against the Bears, and two touchdowns in the final 7:31 to beat the Tigers.
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 games.
Other Quick Quaker Notes
Penn has scored 20 or more points in 18 of its last 20 Ivy games ... Penn has allowed an opening-drive touchdown just once since Nov. 1, 2008 (42 games)—Lafayette went just 14 yards to do it in the 2012 season opener ... The Quakers forced just three turnovers in their first six games, but have forced 10 in the last three games (nine interceptions, one fumble) ... Penn has won 12 of its last 13 Ivy home games ... Penn is 4-0 this season when leading at the half and 1-4 when trailing (only win was against Columbia, trailed 6-3).
Inside Bagnoli's Legendary Numbers
In his 21st season, Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli already holds the all-time record with eight outright Ivy titles and will be going for his ninth with a win on Saturday. He is second all-time with his nine Ivy titles overall, two behind Yale’s Carmen Cozza, who coached for 30 seasons. Bagnoli is the winningest active head coach in the FCS and is arguably the greatest coach in Ivy League history. Only one man has won more games at an Ivy school than his 141 career wins at Penn (Cozza, 179) and in 146 games versus Ivy opponents, Bagnoli’s Quakers have won 106 of them (second-most all-time behind Cozza's 135). However, Bagnoli’s record also amounts to a winning percentage of .726—which is the highest of all-time since the inception of the league in 1956.
Two Quakers Earn National, Ivy Player of the Week Honors
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 1,333rd 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 1,280 games played.
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