PHILADELPHIA -A wild game at Franklin Field nearly resulted in Penn’s second win over at Top 15 opponent in three weeks, but the Quakers (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) fell just short in their non-conference finale. Now its on to Ivy play for the final six weeks. Head Coach Ray Priore is looking for his first Ivy League victory when the Quakers visit Columbia (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) on Saturday. Kickoff from Kraft Field is set for 3:30 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3 or the Ivy League Digital Network.
The Penn-Columbia Series—95th Meeting
Penn owns the longest active winning streak over an annual opponent in the FCS, and the fifth-longest such win streak all-time. Each of the last 18 meetings between these programs have ended with a Penn victory. The last Penn loss came at Franklin Field in 1996, 20-19. Overall, in a series dating back to 1878, the Quakers own a 72-21-1 (.771) advantage in the previous 94 matchups. Penn is 22-13 all-time at Kraft Field and has won nine straight games there since a loss in 1995.
Quick Quaker Notes
Four of six takeaways for the Red and Blue this season have been by freshmen (linebacker Nick Miller and safety Sam Philippi each have an interception and fumble recovery) ... Penn has forced a turnover in six straight games, and has a sack in five straight games (17 total/3.4 per game) ... The Quakers have logged multiple touchdown passes in each of the last five games.
- Sophomore Justin Watson has had multiple receptions in all 14 games of his career.
- Has caught five or more in each of the last eight games.
- First Ivy Leaguer since 2009 to catch a touchdowin pass in four straight games—the second-longest streak in Penn history and tied for the eighth-longest in Ivy history.
- His five touchdown receptions are tied for ninth-most in a season at Penn.
- Leads Ivy League in scoring, 11th in the nation with 107.5 receiving yards per game and 7.3 receptions per game, 12th in the FCS with five receiving touchdowns.
- Needs 73 yards to become 19th Penn player with 1,000 career receiving yards.
- Set program’s freshman records for receptions (36) and receiving yards (420) last year.
Senior linebacker Tyler Drake had four sacks on Saturday—the most in a game for a Penn player since Steve Lhotak had 4.5 against Harvard on Nov. 15, 2003. He leads the Ivy League with 5.0 sacks this season and now has 14.0 career sacks.
Junior quarterback Alek Torgersen has a touchdown pass in 12 of his 14 career games ... He has scored a touchdown in each of the last 10 games he has played ... Last start snapped a 10-game streak with a touchdown pass and marked his first career Ivy game without a passing touchdown (nine games) ... He has passed for 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions in his nine Ivy League games.
The 93 combined points from Saturday were the most in a Penn game a 58-51 loss to Brown on Oct. 24, 1998 ... Penn’s 45 points were the most for the Red and Blue since they put up 52 on Oct. 6, 2010 against Princeton ... Sophomore Hunter Kelley recorded Penn’s first 70-yard punt (73) since Scott Lopano against Columbia on Oct. 17, 2009.
For the Quakers, S.O.S may stand for college football’s strength of schedule, or the universal signal for save our souls. Probably both.
• Penn has played four ranked non-league opponents in the last two years—the rest of the Ivy League COMBINED has played four Top 25 non-league opponents in that time (Columbia, 3; Dartmouth, 1).
• Last year, Penn played the 10th-toughest schedule in the FCS. In comparison, Harvard played the 104th-toughest schedule and Brown was 120th in strength of schedule (out of 125).
• This season, Penn has played the nation’s 16th-toughest schedule, which included a win at No. 5/4 Villanova, and a last-second loss to No. 13/12 Fordham. In comparison, the easiest Ivy schedule belongs to Harvard (92nd-toughest schedule to date).
Against Ranked Foes
Penn snapped a four-game losing streak to ranked opponents with the win at No. 5/4 Villanova on Sept. 24, and nearly knocked off No. 13/12 Fordham at Franklin Field on Saturday. Overall, Penn is now 6-19 against teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2000. Prior to that win over the Wildcats, the Red and Blue’s most recent win over a ranked opponent came in the 2012 home finale against No. 25 Harvard, 30-21. That Ivy title-clinching win snapped a seven-game losing streak to Top 25 opposition.
Head CoachRay Prioreis set to matchup against his predecessor at Penn. The pair coached the Quakers for 23 years and won nine Ivy League championships together.
Several Quakers are ranked among the nation’s best: Senior Tyler Drake ranks among the top 20 in the nation in four different categories and atop the Ivies in each of those, while both of Penn’s quarterbacks rank among the top 10 in the FCS in completion percentage, and sophomore wideout Justin Watson is ranked in the top 12 in the country in three different categories. Meanwhile, as a team, the Quakers are ninth in the nation in sacks and one of the most disciplined in the country. They have been flagged just 3.7 times per game—fourth-fewest in the FCS—and their 31.7 penalty yards per game are the fifth-fewest in the nation.
Four-year old Vhito DeCapria became the first captain of Ray Priore’s tenure in April. 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 on April 10. 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 Penn Win Today Would…
... mark the fifth-longest win streak against an annual opponent in FCS history.
... be the 19th straight over Columbia.
... be Coach Priore’s first in Ivy League play.
... improve the Quakers to 1-1 in Ivy League play.
A Penn Loss Today Would…
… be the first to Columbia since 1996.
... mark the first at Columbia since 1995.
... make the Quakers 1-4 for the second straight year.
… be less good than a win.
Last Time Out
- It was an inspiring rally. Penn came from 25 points down against one of the nation’s top-ranked teams and tied the game late in the fourth quarter. However, No. 13/12 Fordham escaped Philadelphia with a last-second field goal, 48-45, at Franklin Field.
- Penn turned the ball over on three of its first five possessions, and trailed 28-3 and 35-10 in the second quarter. But the Quakers made a furious comeback. Penn outscored the 12th-ranked Rams, 42-17, over the last two and a half quarters and tied the game with 1:46 to play. But Fordham drove into field goal range and hit the game-winner with six seconds left.
- Senior quarterback Andrew Lisa made his first career start and finished 24-for-37 for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 32 yards and was not sacked. Justin Watson was his top target with six catches for 134 yards.
- Brian Schoenauer averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 22 rushes. His 161 yards were the most by a Penn player since quarterback Keiffer Garton ran for 174 in 2008.
Franklin Field is ready for its Friday night close up. For the first time in program history, Penn will play a nationally-televised night game at the nation’s oldest collegiate stadium. On Family Weekend at Penn, the Quakers will play a Friday night game at Franklin Field when Yale visits for a 7 p.m. kickoff on NBC Sports.
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