Football Plays for Ivy Title Saturday at Cornell

Broadcast Information
TV: Fox College Sports
Web Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Radio: WFIL 560 AM

Penn has played no opponent more than the team lining up opposite the Red and Blue today, and once again Cornell is all that stands between Penn and an Ivy League championship. A resounding 27-14 win over previously unbeaten in Ivy play Harvard brought Penn back into title contention, and the Quakers can claim an 18th Ivy League title this afternoon with a win over the Big Red.

The Penn-Cornell Series — 123rd Meeting
The fifth-most played rivalry in Division I football, Penn and Cornell first met in 1893 and convene today for the 123rd time. Penn has a 71-46-5 lead in the all-time series, and is 13-12-1 at Schoellkopf Field. Penn has won four in a row in Ithaca and is 8-1 at Schoellkopf Field dating back to 1998.

Last Time Out
- Penn defeated a ranked Harvard team for the second season in a row, knocking off #22/24 Harvard, 27-14 at Franklin Field
- Alek Torgersen was 8-of-10 on Penn’s final offensive drive for 80 yards, connecting with Justin Watson on a 2yd TD with 0:15 left to give Penn a 21-14 lead
- Penn scored two defensive touchdowns in the same game for the first time since 2005. Tayler Hendrickson’s fumble recovery TD as time expired provided the final margin
- Louis Vecchio had three sacks and a 40yd pick-six

Clinching vs. Cornell
Penn is 15-2 all-time against Cornell in years where Penn has won an Ivy League title. In Ithaca, the Quakers are 8-2 all-time in years which ended in a championship, including wins in the last six dating back to 1994. Of Penn’s last 11 visits to Ithaca dating back to 1994, six have resulted in a win and an Ivy title. Penn has outscored Cornell, 466 to 216 in the 17 years Penn claimed an Ivy title, including three shutout wins.

Up Next
We’re on to 2017.

A Penn Win Today Would…
... secure Penn’s 18th Ivy League championship
... give Penn back-to-back Ivy titles for the first time since 2009-10
... give Penn 7+ wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2009-10

A Penn Loss Today Would…
... be Penn’s second in a row on the road in Ivy play
... give Penn back-to-back road Ivy losses for the first time since 2014
… knock the Quakers out of Ivy title contention

For the second year in a row, Justin Watson has established himself as the Ivy League’s elite receiver. He leads the Ancient Eight in receptions (78), yards (1,009), and touchdowns (8). Over his last four games, Watson has caught 43 passes for 578 yards and 5 touchdowns – numbers which would rank him fifth, fourth, and fifth respectively in the Ivy League.

Nationally, Watson ranks No. 3 in the FCS in receptions/gm (8.7), No. 5 in yards/gm (112.1) and No. 11 in receiving yards (1,009).

Record Hunting
Justin Watson is within range of two Penn single-season records. He enters today’s game needing 8 catches and 104 yards from breaking Penn’s yearly bests in each category which have stood since Rob Milanese went for 85 catches and 1,112 yards in 2002.

Solomon Shines
Junior Tre Solomon leads the Ivy League in rushing attempts (144), rushing yards (734), yards/game (81.6) and is third in yards/rush (5.1). Through nine games this season, Solomon has already set a career-high in yards in a season and he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for his career during the Columbia game. He is 57 yards away from the highest single-season rushing total by a Quaker since 2007 (Joe Sandberg, 790).

As Alek Torgersen and Justin Watson have risen up the all-time record books at their respective positions, they have gradually moved closer to becoming Penn’s all-time greatest QB/WR combo. The duo now owns the record for most career connections between a QB and WR in Penn history, and trails Gavin Hoffman/Rob Milanese by 10 yards while tied with Mike Mitchell and Dan Castles in touchdowns.

Combination                 Years            Games   Catches Yards TDs
Torgersen/Watson 2014-Present     28   181          2,350 17
Hoffman/Milanese 1999-2001     28   170          2,260 12
Mitchell/Castles          2002-03             19   88                  1,368 17

Leading Indicators
Penn has protected leads as well as anyone in the country under Ray Priore. The Red and Blue are 11-0 when leading at halftime, and 12-0 when leading at the end of the third quarter.

Setbacks Pave The Way for Comebacks
Penn is now 4-2 under Ray Priore in games following a loss. The last time Penn dropped consecutive Ivy League games was in 2014 when Penn lost four Ancient Eight contests in a row from 10/25-11/15.

Reeling in Ranked Teams
The Red and Blue are 3-1 all-time against ranked opponents under head coach Ray Priore. In addition to last week’s 27-14 win over #22/24 Harvard, that record includes a 35-25 win at No. 12/13 Harvard and a 24-13 win at #5/4 Villanova in 2015.

Turning Off the Turnovers
The Quakers rank No. 14 in all of FCS in terms of turnovers lost, with 11. Penn QBs have thrown just three interceptions, which ranks No. 4 among FCS squads. 

Back-to-Back to Start a Head Coaching Career
With a win today, Ray Priore can become just the second head coach in Ivy League history to win Ivy championships in back-to-back years to start a career. The only other Ivy head coach to do so was Dartmouth’s Jack Crouthamel who won three in a row from 1971-73. Four of the last five Penn head coaches have won at least one Ivy title in their first two years. The only one not to do so was Gary Steele from 1988-91.