Catching the Game: PENN AT COLUMBIA
|| Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. | Baker Field at Wien Stadium
|Radio||WNTP 990AM - Brian Seltzer (Play-By-Play), Hench Murray (Analyst)|
||Penn Notes | Columbia Notes|
Student-Athlete Spotlight: Senior TE Ryan O'Malley
PHILADELPHIA - For most of the FCS, the playoffs are still about two months away. But for the Quakers (2-2, 1-0 Ivy), the 2013 playoffs begin on Saturday with the first of six straight Ivy League contests. Penn has its first Ivy road test at Columbia (0-4, 0-1 Ivy) at 1:30 p.m. The Quakers haven’t lost at Wien Stadium since 1995 and have won 16 straight over the Lions since 1996—the nation’s longest active win streak over an annual opponent.
The Penn-Columbia Series—93rd Meeting
Each of the last 16 meetings between these programs have ended with a Penn victory. The last Penn loss came at Franklin Field in 1996, 20-19, and the last time the Red and Blue lost at Columbia was in 1995—a 24-14 defeat that ended Penn’s NCAA record winning streak at 24 games. Overall, in a series dating back to 1878, the Quakers own a 70-21-1 (.766) advantage in the previous 92 matchups. Penn is 21-13 all-time at Wien Stadium and Coach Bagnoli is 18-3 against the Lions (8-2 at Wien Stadium).
Penn’s 16-game winning streak over Columbia is the longest active annual streak against any one opponent in the FCS and a win today would match a league record for the most consecutive wins over an Ivy opponent (Princeton beat Columbia 17 straight times from 1954-70). Penn’s 17th win over the Lions would also match the eighth-longest win streak in an uninterrupted series in FCS history.
Columbia still remains infamous in West Philadelphia as the team that broke Penn’s NCAA record streak of 24 straight wins. The Lions broke that mark at Kraft Field in 1995 with a 24-14 win over the Quakers. Penn’s record, which spanned between 1992-95, has been matched by Montana (2001-02), but never surpassed.
Last Time Out
Each of the last two matchups have come down to the final play of the game. Last season, the Quakers rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:50 left. Columbia then drove the field and on the final play of the game, the Lions completed a pass to the three-yard line, but then-junior Dan Wilk made the game-saving solo tackle at that yard marker. In the last visit to Wien Stadium, the Quakers broke a 20-20 tie at Kraft Field with the game-winning touchdown with 25 seconds left.
Coach Bagnoli and Columbia
Head Coach Al Bagnoli has quite an impressive resume. But maybe one of the most fascinating statistics is the comparison of his 21-year Penn coaching career to Columbia’s 57-year Ancient Eight history. Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, Columbia’s football program has won 93 league games. Bagnoli, who has coached at Penn since 1992, has won 108.
Coach Bagnoli, who is the second-winningest active head coach in the FCS and arguably the greatest coach in Ivy League history, owns the highest Ivy winning percentage of any coach since the inception of the League in 1956. Only one man has won more games at an Ivy school than his 144 career wins at Penn (Cozza, 179), and in 148 games versus Ivy opponents, Bagnoli’s Quakers have won 108 of them (second-most all-time behind Cozza’s 135). That record amounts to a winning percentage of .730—which marks the highest success rate of any man to ever coach in the Ivy League.
Quick Quaker Notes
Penn has allowed an opening-drive touchdown just twice since Nov. 1, 2008 (47 games)—both off turnovers in the red zone—Lafayette needed to go just 14 yards to do it in the 2012 season opener and William & Mary went just 12 yards last week ... The Quakers have forced multiple turnovers in each of their last five Ivy games and 15 total in that time (11 interceptions, four fumbles) ... Penn has won seven straight games when leading at the half dating back to the 2011 season finale ... Penn is 4-0 in their alternate red jerseys ... Penn has won 13 of its last 14 Ivy home games ... Penn has scored at least 20 points in 19 of its last 21 Ivy games ... Penn has a sack in seven straight games.
Senior Billy Ragone has thrown a touchdown pass in 10 straight starts ... Senior wideout Ryan Mitchell has a catch in 24 straight games ... Seniors Jake Schwertner and Steve Szostak have started 14 straight games together on the left side of the line.
Rising in the Record Books
In Week 2 at Villanova, senior wideout Ryan Mitchell became the 16th player in Penn history with 1,000 career receiving yards. In the four-overtime thriller against Dartmouth, he recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game. Both efforts moved him up through Penn’s all-time records. He is currently 11th all-time at Penn with 1,183 career receiving yards—just 27 yards from the top 10. Mitchell is also 11th all-time with 85 career catches—five away from the top 10. Teammate Conner Scott has 78 catches (13th at Penn) for 973 yards (17th).
In addition to senior wideout Ryan Mitchell (who became the 16th Penn player with 1,000 career receiving yards and the first since Dan Castles in 2004), fellow wideout Conner Scott is just 27 yards away from joining Mitchell in that club. Meanwhile, senior Brandon Colavita is 472 yards from cracking Penn’s all-time top 10 career rushing list, and junior Conner Loftus is seventh at Penn with 64 career extra points (seven away from fifth place).
Ragone in the Record Books
Each week, senior quarterback Billy Ragone hits a new milestone. Last week, he recorded his 54th career touchdown (20 rush, 34 pass) to tie Gavin Hoffman’s school record (4 rush, 50 pass). Also last week, Ragone’s 34th touchdown pass tied Jimmy McGeehan (1991-93) for third-most in Penn history. In the Ivy opener, the Cheshire, Conn., native became the second player in Penn’s 137-year history with 6,000 career yards of total offense. He now has 6,322 total yards and trails only Hoffman’s school standard of 7,188. During the season opener, Ragone became the third passer in school history with 4,000 career pass yards when he joined Hoffman (7,542) and Mike Mitchell (5,547) as the only Penn quarterbacks to reach that milestone. His 720 career pass attempts are good for third place all-time at Penn, and his 412 career completions place him third all-time. Those marks also place him fifth in career completion percentage at 56.9 perecent.
Fourth Quarter Comebacks
With a dramatic four-overtime win over Dartmouth in the Ivy opener, senior quarterback Billy Ragone has now engineered nine career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. Eight of them have come against the Ivy League—where, realistically, the Ivy title was on the line—and three of those came on the road. Last year, the Quakers trailed by multiple scores in the fourth quarter of three games, but scored two touchdowns in the final 7:27 to beat Columbia, two field goals in the final 2:12 to beat Brown, and two touchdowns in the final 7:31 to beat Princeton. Ragone is 17-4 (.810) as a starter against the Ivy League.
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 1,338th 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 1,285 games played.
A Penn Win Today Would...
... improve the Quakers to 2-0 in the Ivy League for the sixth straight year.
... tie the eighth-longest win streak against an annual opponent in FCS history.
... mark a six-game home winning streak.
A Penn Loss Today Would...
... be the first to Columbia since 1996 and the first at Wien Stadium since 1995.
... snap a five-game Ivy winning streak dating back to last season.
... be just the second Ivy home loss since 2008 (Cornell in 2011 season finale).
... be less good than a win.
Despite a strong defensive effort and a late fourth-quarter rally, Penn fell short to William & Mary, 27-14, on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Zable Stadium. Penn was scoreless and trailed by 21 heading into the fourth quarter. But two touchdowns in just over three minutes pulled the Quakers within seven with 7:58 to play. However, William & Mary promptly marched 75 yards on 12 straight run plays to melt the clock and ice the game with a late touchdown. Played in a misty rain throughout the afternoon, the game featured eight fumbles (two lost on each side) and five total turnovers. The first of which came just five plays into the game. Senior Billy Ragone was sacked and stripped at the Penn 30-yard line and the ball was kicked all the way back to the 12 where William & Mary fell on the ball. Moments later, the Tribe led 7-0. Another fumble set up the Tribe at the Penn 32. Five plays later, William & Mary led by 14 with 1:22 left in the half. It was 21-0 when Penn’s offense found a rhythm and got on the scoreboard. Just minutes later, after a sack and fumble recovery, the Quakers were back on the board again and trailed just 21-14 with 7:58 to go. But the Tribe ran 12 straight times and took six minutes off the clock before punching it in for a 27-14 lead with 1:50 left. Penn got inside the red zone on its ensuing drive, but time ran out on a completion to Kulscar at the seven-yard line.
Its a rematch with Yale—the only Ivy team to beat the Quakers during last year’s championship season. Penn will host the Bulldogs at Franklin Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Penn Sports Network.