Battle of the Unbeaten Ivies on the Gridiron; Penn vs. Yale on Saturday

Penn (4-1, 2-0 Ivy) vs.Yale(2-3,2-0 Ivy)
Saturday, Oct.22, 2005
3:30 p.m. • Franklin Field
Can by heard on ESPN 920 AM and www.pennathletics.com

Penn vs. Yale Game Notes

• Home Sweet Home – Penn returns to Franklin Field for its first home Ivy League contest of the season. The Quakers have been very successful on Franklin Field over the last five years. Since 2000, the Red and Blue have a 24-3 (.889) record at home. Beyond that, Penn has only one Ancient Eight loss at Franklin Field during that time frame, a 31-10 loss to Harvard in 2004.

•This season Penn football games can be heard live on ESPN 920 AM and on the Penn Athletics web site www.pennathletics.com. Matt Leon (play-by-play) and Hench Murray (color analyst) return for their third season in the broadcast booth. Brian Seltzer will provide sideline content. The pre-game show begins approximately 30 minutes before kickoff.

• At halftime of this week’s broadcast, Matt Leon will have Denis Spizuoco, C’76, in the booth. Spizuoco is a former football and lacrosse player at Penn and currently serves as the director of athletic devolpment.

• After today there will be only one unbeaten team in the Ivy League. Penn and Yale both enter Saturday’s game with a 2-0 mark against Ancient Eight opponents. A win today would put the Quakers in the driver’s seat for the Ivy League title.

• The Series – Yale leads the series, 43-28-1, but Penn has had the upper hand winning the last four meetings and 11 of the last 13 contests. The Quakers have not lost to the Bulldogs at Franklin Field since 1990; The Elis handed Penn a 21-10 defeat on Oct. 27.

• The Quakers are coming off an emotional win against Columbia on Oct. 15 at Wien Stadium. Penn cruised to a 44-16 victory for its fourth win of the season and third straight.

• The Bulldogs suffered a tough loss in overtime to No. 20 Lehigh, 28-21, last Saturday. With Yale leading much of the game, Lehigh tied the game with 1:01 left in regulation on a successful two-point conversion to send the game into extra time. Lehigh then scored on its first drive to take a 28-21 lead. The Bulldogs had first and goal at the Lehigh four-yard line and could not score in taking the loss.

• The entire University of Pennsylvania community suffered a shock on Monday, Oct. 10 with the death of Kyle Ambrogi, a senior at the University and a member of the football team. To honor their fallen teammate, the Quaker football team is wearing a white patch with his number (31) on their helmets for the remainder of the season. A replica of that patch can be found in the upper left side of this page. Ambrogi’s death came on the heels of arguably his finest hour on the Franklin Field turf; just two days earlier, he had scored two touchdowns in the Quakers’ 53-7 win over Bucknell. Kyle’s brother Greg also scored in that game; it is believed to be the first time a pair of brothers scored for Penn in the same game since the official formation of the Ivy League in 1956.

• Head Coach Al Bagnoli continues to rack up numbers in the win column. Bagnoli is just two wins away from the century mark at Penn. He has 98 victories under his belt with the Quakers and 184 wins overall. His 184 wins is the second most among active Division I-AA coaches.

• Bagnoli also picked up his 71st Ivy League win on Saturday, which is fourth among all Ancient Eight coaches. Joe Restic, who coached Harvard from 1971-1993, is third on the list with 92 League victories.

• No. 1 – The Red and Blue have the No. 1 rushing defense in Division I-AA. Penn has allowed only 245 total rushing yard this season, an average of just 49.0 per game. In 2001 and 2002, the Quakers finished the season with the best rushing defense in the nation, allowing 58.4 ypg and 55.8 ypg, respectively.

• Dangerous Territory – The Quakers have been very successful in the red zone in 2005. Penn is 14-of-16 inside the 20-yard line. In Penn’s last three contests, the Red and Blue are 11-for-11 in the red zone. Penn was also a perfect 1-for-1 against Duquesne and Dartmouth earlier this season and an unblemished 4-for-4 against Columbia.

• Senior Sam Mathews rushed for 155 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns in the win over Columbia. It was his 16th game at Penn with more than 100 yards rushing and first in 2005. His two TDs were also his first of the season and just two of his 19 rushing TDs at Penn.

• Mathews’ performance catapulted him into fifth all-time in rushing yardage at Penn. Mathews surpasses Jim Finn (currently playing for the NY Giants) with 2,254 rushing yards. He needs 226 yards to move into fourth. Kris Ryan (1998-2001) is the all-time rushing leader at Penn with 3,181 yards.

• Combined with 646 receiving yards at Penn, Mathews is eighth all-time at Penn in all-purpose yards with 2,934. Mathews has also scored 22 touchdowns for the Red and Blue.

• Senior defensive back Doug Middleton posted eight tackles (five solo) in Penn’s win, earning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week. He also had 1.5 tackles for a loss of three yards and a pass breakup. For his performance he also earned ECAC Defensive Player of the Week Honorable Mention.

• Middleton also ran back a kickoff 43 yards for a touchdown against Columbia. It was the first time since 1985 the Quakers returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Eric Rutherford was the last to do so, a 95-yard return against Columbia on Oct. 5, 1985.

• Middleton has one other touchdown in his career – he recovered a fumble against Duquesne in 2003 and returned it 34 yards for the score.

• Pat McDermott threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns against Columbia. He completed 14-of-24 passes including an 80-yard bomb to Dan McDonald. McDermott also connected with Chris Mizell on a touchdown for the third time this season.

• McDermott has thrown for more than 200 yards eight times in his career. He reached 200 or more yards five times last season and has already done so three times in 2005. He has thrown 10 TD passes this season which is just two less than his 12 in 2004.

• McDermott’s 228 yards against the Lions last week moved him into eighth all-time at Penn in passing yards. He has 3, 295 total passinbg yards at Penn and needs 134 to move into seventh, 167 for sixth and 563 for fifth.

• The 80-yard pass McDermott threw to McDonald was the longest TD pass of McDermott’s career. It was also McDonald’s longest catch. McDonald hit the century mark for the first time, catching two passes for 101 yards in that game.

• Mizell found the back of the end zone for the third-consecutive game, catching a 5-yard pass from McDermott to give Penn a 21-0 lead with five minutes left in the first half. He caught a 7-yard TD pass against Dartmouth and a 15-yarder against Bucknell.

• Running back Joe Sandberg returned to the line-up against Columbia last weekend. Against the Lions, he rushed for 95 yards on eight carries (11.9 per carry). He ran 21 yards into the end zone for his second TD of the season.

• Leading the defense for the Quakers this season has been a trio of seniors – Ric San Doval, Casey Edgar and Doug Middleton. San Doval leads the team in tackles with 28 (14 solo) and sacks (3). He also has three fumble recoveries, one pass breakup and 6.5 tackles for a loss of 25 yards. Edgar has 25 tackles (17 solo) and four tackles for a loss of 13 yards. He also assisted on a sack for a loss of five yards. Edgars also has one interception and a blocked kick. Middleton has 25 stops (17 solo) and 2.5 tackles for a loss of 5 yards. He has broken up two passes, caught an interception for seven yards and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

• Defense again was the key in keeping the Lions off the board. Brian Fairbanks was able to deny Columbia one of those points when he blocked John Rocholl’s point-after attempt. It was the first time Penn blocked a PAT since Kyle Chaffin did it against Dartmouth on Sept. 29, 2001.

• Penn has the best winning percentage among all Division I-AA teams in the 2000’s. From 2000 to 2004, the Quakers posted a 42-7 record for a winning percentage of .857. Montana ranks second on that list with .822.

• Penn also ranks among the best in several other categories. The Quakers are seventh nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 14.8 points per game, and 15th in total defense, allowing just 270 yards per game.

• On the other side of the ball, Penn is 10th in the nation in scoring offense. The Red and Blue average 37.4 points per game this season.

• Best in the League – The Quakers are tops in the Ivy League in scoring offense, rushing defense, scoring defense, turnover margin and passing efficiency, while McDermott leads the Ancient Eight in pass efficiency.

• Flashback – The last time Yale came to Franklin Field, the fans got quite a game. On Oct. 25, 2003, Penn’s Peter Veldman kicked a 23-yard field goal and Casey Edgar blocked the Elis’ 22-yard attempt in overtime to give Penn a 34-31 win. Yale tied the game with 32 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

• Mathews vs. the Bulldogs – Mathews has been successful against Yale in his first two meetings. In 2003, Mathews rushed for a career-high 204 yards on 36 attempts (also a career high) and one touchdown. Last season he was the difference in Penn’s win, rushing for 169 yards on 25 carries and two TDs.

• Yale and Penn have the most wins among all Division I-AA institutions. In 133 years of college football, Yale ranks at the top of that list with 828 wins, 323 losses and 55 ties (.710). Penn has 780 wins, 436 loss and 42 ties (.637) in 129 years of football.

• Yale enters today’s match with a 2-3 overall record. The Bulldogs defeated Cornell, 37-7, and Dartmouth, 13-0, for their two wins this season. Yale opened the season with a 17-14 loss to San Diego, then lost to Holy Cross, 22-19, before falling to Lehigh in overtime, 28-21.

• Yale’s Running Game – Mike McLeod is Yale’s go-to guy when it comes to running the ball. The freshman averages 78.2 yards per game and has rushed 106 times for 391 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Spence has had 50 carries for 173 yards.

• Yale’s Passing Game – Jeff Mroz is the Elis’ signal caller. He has thrown for 1,298 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, completing 118 of 196 attempts and throwing nine interceptions. His longest throw was a 70-yard TD pass to Ashley Wright, the Bulldogs’ No. 1 receiver. Wright has 32 catches for 442 hards and four touchdowns. He averages 88.4 yards per game and 13.8 yards per catch. Todd Feiereisen leads the team in TD receptions with five. He has 29 catches and 356 yards to his credit in 2005.

• Yale’s Defense – The Yale defense has held opponents to 16.8 points per game. As a team the Elis have forced three fumbles and recovered two of them. They have broken up 14 passes and intercepted five others. They have taken down the quarterback 14 times and had 27 tackles for a loss of 144 yards. Lee Driftmier leads the team with 48 tackles (29 solo) and Brandon Dyches is second with 32 stops (19 solo). Dyches has seven tackles for a loss of 70 yards.

• Yale’s Specialists – Alan Kimball is in charge of the Bulldogs’ kicking game. He has made 1-of-2 field goals (longest 26 yards) and is 11-of-14 on extra point attempts. Ashley Wright does all the punting, making 26 kicks for 931 yards (35.8 average). On kickoff returns, McLeod has been the No. 1 returner, making 11 returns for 187 yards. Chris Denney-Brown and Dyches have combined to return 11 punts for 42 yards.

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