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The seven game sprint begins tonight! The 2016 Ivy League season begins for both Penn and Dartmouth as the two teams meet for the 84th time. Last year, each team laid claim to a share of the Ivy title — rest assured neither squad has intentions on being as cooperative this time around. Two of the last six meetings between the two teams have required overtime, and five of the last seven have been decided by 7 points or less.
The Penn-Dartmouth Series — The 84th Meeting
Last season, Penn watched Dartmouth storm out to a 41-6 lead at Franklin Field, en route to a 41-20 loss. It was the Dalyn Williams show for the Big Green as he threw for four touchdown passes and ran for two more as the Big Green scored their most points ever in a game at Franklin Field. The Red and Blue have dropped the last two games in the series after winning 15 of the previous 16, adn will be looking to stave off their longest losing streak to the Big Green since falling short four straight times from 1978-81. Penn has felt at home in Hanover of late, winning seven of its last nine trips to Memorial Field.
Last Time Out
- Penn was uncharacteristically sloppy, committing three turnovers en route to a 31-17 loss at Fordham.
- Alek Torgersen was held without a passing touchdown for the first time in 17 games he both started and completed.
- Tre Solomon set a career high with 145 all-purpose yards.
- Mason Williams recorded an interception for the second consecutive game.
- Fordham scored 17 unanswered points to turn a 7-7 game into a 24-7 lead which was too much for Penn to overcome.
When you’ve been playing football as long as the University of Pennsylvania has, there are not many more “firsts” to experience. There’s one coming for the Quakers on October 8 as the Red and Blue welcome Central Connecticut State to Franklin Field. The two schools have never met, and it will be Penn’s first game against a NEC school since beating Duquesne, 41-14, on 9/17/2005. Penn is 2-0 all-time against NEC schools —both wins coming against Duquesne.
A Penn Win Today Would…
… be head coach Ray Priore’s first over Dartmouth
... give Ray Priore a win over all seven Ivy League schools in his first eight games as an Ivy head coach — second fastest by a Penn head coach (Ed Zubrow, 7 in 1986)
... extend the nation’s eighth-longest conference winning streak to 7 games.
A Penn Loss Today Would…
... be the third straight to Dartmouth
... be the third consecutive in an Ivy League opener
… be Penn’s first in a night game at Memorial Field (1-0)
Last year, Ray Priore dropped his first Ivy League opener as head coach, falling to Dartmouth 41-20, at Franklin Field. The Red and Blue are 7-3 in their last 10 Ivy League openers —all against the Big Green. In terms of Ivy League road openers, the Quakers are also 7-3 in their last 10.
Penn Scoring Trend
Home is where the points are. Penn has gone 132 consecutive games at home without being shut out. The last time the Quakers were scoreless at home was a 24-0 loss to Dartmouth on Nov. 18, 1989. The trend on the road is a bit shorter — Penn has gone 13 road games without being shutout. The last time Penn was blanked on the road was 11/2/13 at Brown, a 27-0 loss.
Looking to Stop the Skid
Penn has lost back-to-back games to open the season — the second time Penn has done so in the last three seasons. The Red and Blue are looking to halt the skid, Ray Priore has never lost three consecutive games as a head coach. His longest losing streak is two games — vs. Dartmouth (10/3) and Fordham (10/10) last season.
Hoping to Return to Dominance of Dartmouth
Penn has lost its last two games to the Big Green — its first time losing back-to-back games to Dartmouth since dropping four in a row from 1978-81. The Red and Blue will look to return to their winning way tonight — prior to the back-to-back losses, Penn had won 15 of the past 16 meetings between the two teams from 1998-2013.
Hunter The Punter
He hasn’t been overly busy through two games — punting just 7 times — but Hunter Kelley has been a boon while booming for the Red and Blue. Of his 7 punts, 5 have travelled 50+ yards. His average of 51.4 yards would be both the Ivy League and NCAA lead if he had reached the minimum of 3.6 punts-per-game (he’s averaging 3.5). In terms of the field position game, Kelley has punted opponents to an average starting position of their own 16.1 yard line and opponents have only returned two punts for a total of 11 yards.
Priore Powering Through the Ivy League
In his first season as head coach, Ray Priore went 6-1 in the Ivy League — his lone loss coming to Dartmouth. With a win tonight, Priore will have needed just eight Ivy games to record his first win over all seven League opponents. Only Ed Zubrow (Penn, 7 games in 1986) and Jordan Olivar (Yale, 7 games in 1956) would have swept through the Ivy League in fewer games.
National (TV) Treasures
Penn has won its last three national television appearances dating back to last season and is 13-8 on national TV dating back to the 2008 season. On NBC Sports/Versus, Penn is 7-6 all-time — including a 2-0 record at Dartmouth. All-time against Dartmouth on national TV, Penn is 6-1 (its most wins on national TV over any opponent) with wins on ABC, ESPN, YES, Fox College Sports, Versus and NBCSN.
Friday Night Lights
In a schedule Coach Taylor and Tim Riggins would approve of, Penn will play three Friday night games this season — each on national television. Last year. Penn was 1-0 in Friday night games, defeating Yale, 34-20, at Franklin Field on 10/23/15. The Red and Blue were ready no matter the day of the week last season, winning games on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
High Scoring Home Opener
Penn’s 28 points in the 2016 home opener were the most scored in a Franklin Field debut since the Red and Blue put up 41 on Duquesne in a 41-14 win in 2005. The 77 combined points scored were the most in a Penn home opener since 2000 (73; 45-28 win over Lafayette). Before that, the most points accumulated in a Penn home opener came in 1921 when John Heisman coached the Quakers to an 89-0 win over Delaware.
First Half, Not Half Bad Offensively
Penn scored 28 points and racked up 320 yards of offense in the first half against Lehigh — the most in either category since Week 7 against Brown last season. In the second half, Penn was held scoreless — the first half Penn was held without a point since 9/27/14 at #6 Villanova — a span of 18 games. Penn had held opponents scoreless in a half six times in that span — including the same second half of the 2014 ‘Nova game.
Random Rushing Leaders
Alek Torgersen led the Quakers in rushing yards against Lehigh, gaining 86 on 13 carries. That marked the third time in the last five games that a non-RB has led the Red and Blue in rushing yards. Justin Watson had 100 at Harvard (11/14/15) and Torgersen gained 96 against Princeton (11/7/15).
Five-year old Vhito DeCapria became the first captain of Ray Priore’s tenure in April of 2015, and enters 2016 1-for-1 in terms of Ivy League championships! Vhito signed his letter of intent to join and lead the Penn Football team at a press conference in the Directors Room of the Dunning Coaches Center. Vhito was diagnosed with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT) in April of 2014 and has been through numerous radiation treatments since that time. ATRT is a rare cancer, but Vhito persevered through a survival rate of just 17 percent and was declared cancer free by his doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Aug. 21, 2015. Vhito and the Quakers are part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.
A trio of Quakers will join five-year-old Vhito DeCapria as captains of the 2015 Quakers. Seniors Cameron Countryman, Nick Demes, and Donald Panciello have been named captains for the 141st season of Penn Football. Countryman, a fifth-year wide receiver, has played in 27 games during his career and is a two-time Ivy League champion. Nick Demes, an honorable mention offensive lineman in 2015, has appeared in 28 of a possible 31 games over his four seasons. A big-play specialist, Donald Panciello has played 26 games at linebacker and earned honorable mention All-Ivy distinction last year.
Penn has two fifth-year players entering 2016 in search of a third Ivy League championship — Cam Countryman and Jimmy Gammill. The school record-holder with five made field goals in 2014 at Fordham, Gammil is 63-of-65 on PATs in his career.
Penn protected leads as well as anyone in the country last season. The Red and Blue were 5-0 when leading at halftime, and 6-0 when leading at the end of the third quarter.
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 1,366th in the Red and Blue’s illustrious history. Penn is one of only four programs to pass 1,300 games, and was the first to hit that mark on Oct. 31, 2009 in an overtime win at Brown.
Coming Up Roses
Penn’s 1916 team did something no other Quakers squad has ever done — play in the Rose Bowl. The Red and Blue went 7-2-1 in the regular season, earning a trip to Pasadena where the Quakers were defeated by Oregon, 14-0. On November 11, Penn and The Rose Bowl will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Penn’s Rose Bowl appearance with ceremonies centered around the Red and Blue’s final home game of 2016 against Harvard.