Football Eyes Dartmouth in Home Opener Saturday

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PHILADELPHIA - It has been a well earned nine-day break for the Quakers following last Thursday’s historic victory over No. 4/5 Villanova—the program’s first road win over a top 5 opponent, the program’s first over the Wildcats since 1911 and the first for head coach Ray Priore. Penn looks to carry its momentum into Saturday’s home and Ivy opener against Dartmouth. Coach Priore’s head coaching debut at Franklin Field kicks off at 3:30 p.m., and can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

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The Penn-Dartmouth Series—83rd Meeting
Last year, Dartmouth snapped a six-game Penn winning streak in this series. However, the Big Green have not won at Franklin Field since 1997, where Penn has won eight in a row and owns a 31-16-1 record in the series. But each of the last two meetings at Franklin Field have gone into overtime, including the longest game in Ivy League history (four overtimes on Oct. 5, 2013). Overall, the Quakers own a 47-33-2 record against the Big Green.

Extra Football
Penn has not lost to Dartmouth at home in 18 years, but each of the last two meetings at Franklin Field have gone into overtime, including the longest game in Ivy history.
Oct. 2, 2010: Penn 35, Dartmouth 28 (OT)
Oct. 5, 2013: Penn 37, Dartmouth 31 (4OT)

Ivy Openers: 16-1 since 1997
Every year since 1990, the Quakers have opened their Ivy slate with Dartmouth. Over those 25 years, the Quakers have started 1-0 in league play on 19 occasions. At home, the Quakers have been even better. The Red and Blue have won their first Ivy home game in each of the last seven years and 16 out of the last 17 seasons.

Feels Like the First Time
Last Thursday’s 24-13 win at No. 4/5 Villanova marked several firsts for the Quakers:
- First road win against a top-five ranked opponent.
- First win at Villanova Stadium (1-4).
- First career win for head coach Ray Priore.
- First win over Villanova since 1911 (snapped 14-game losing streak).

Nova Notables
A few more notables from the historic win at No. 4/5 Villanova:
- Ray Priore is the first coach in Penn history to record his first career win over a ranked team ... It was just the third time Penn has defeated a Top 5 team (#4 Lehigh in 2002 and #5 Cornell in 1940) ... Program’s first road win over a ranked opponent since a 21-11 victory over No. 22 Lafayette in 2006 ... Broke a six-game non-conference losing streak dating back to 2013 ... Penn shut out its opponent in the first half for the first time since a 28-21 victory over Dartmouth on Sept. 29, 2012.

Against Ranked Foes
Penn snapped a four-game losing streak to ranked opponents with the win at No. 4/5 Villanova. Overall, Penn is now 6-18 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2000. Prior to last Thursday, 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. Barring any gigantic change in the poll, Penn will have to play another Top 25 opponent next Saturday (Oct. 10) when No. 13/15 Fordham visits Franklin Field.

S.O.S
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 once again faces one of the toughest schedules in the FCS. Penn’s non-conference opponents included two teams ranked in the top 15—No. 4/5 Villanova and No. 13/15 Fordham.

First Two Games in Five Days
Penn may have been one of the last teams to play, but caught up quick. The Quakers played their first two games of the season within five days. The matchup with Villanova was moved to Thursday, Sept. 24, but was moved due to the Pope’s visit the City of Brotherly Love. It was Penn’s first Thursday night game since the No. 6 Wildcats held off the 23rd-ranked and eventual Ivy champion Quakers, 17-3, on Oct. 10, 2002.

Franklin Field Renovations
This is Penn’s latest home opener since 2001 when the Quakers waited until Oct. 6 to play at Franklin Field—a 43-7 win over Holy Cross. Penn’s first game at home this season is on Oct. 3 against Ivy rival Dartmouth. The extra time has allowed renovations of the historic stadium to finish. This summer, the iconic Franklin Field track was resurfaced and the stadium’s entrance plaza was renovated. The team used picturesque Penn Park practice fields this preseason and just began practicing at Franklin Field on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Watson Watch
Sophomore Justin Watson has had multiple receptions in all 12 games of his career. Last season, he set the school freshman records for receptions (36) and receiving yards (420). This year, he is second in the Ivy League with 115.0 yards per game and third with 7.5 receptions per game, and that comes with just three halves of action as he sat out the second half last week at No. 4/5 Villanova. He also leads all Ivy position players in scoring with his three touchdown grabs this season.

Torgersen Trends
Junior quarterback Alek Torgersen has a touchdown pass in 12 of his 13 career games, including 10 straight and all eight Ivy League games he has played ... He has thrown for 200+ yards and 1+ touchdowns in nine of the last 10 games, including five 300-yard passing performances in that span ... He has passed for 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions in his eight Ivy League games.

Penn Scoring Trend
Penn opens the home portion of its schedule on Saturday, and put an impressive streak on the line at the friendly Franklin Field confines. Penn has gone 127 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.

National and Ivy Players of the Week
Junior Donald Panciello was named National Defensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness and Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week after his game-changing performance in Penn’s historic win at No. 4/5 Villanova. He led Penn with eight tackles, but also returned a fumble 90 yards for the knockout touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. Sophomore Justin Watson was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. He accounted for Penn’s other two touchdowns with five catches for 87 yards in the win.

A Penn Win Today Would…
… be the ninth straight over Dartmouth at Franklin Field.
... make head coach Ray Priore 1-0 against the Ivy League.
... improve the Quakers to 2-1 on the year and 1-0 in Ivy play.

A Penn Loss Today Would…
... be the second straight to Dartmouth.
... mark the first home loss to the Big Green since 1997.
... make the Quakers to 2-1 on the year and 1-0 in Ivy play.
… be less good than a win.

Last Time Out
- Penn had never beaten a Top-5 team on the road, but that changed on Thursday night as the Quakers stunned No. 4 Villanova out on the Main Line, 24-13.
- Penn dominated the first half from the start. The offense took the game’s opening drive 75 yards for an early 7-0 lead. Alek Torgersen threw two first-half touchdowns to sophomore Justin Watson, who missed the second half, but still finished with five catches for 87 yards.
- The defense allowed just two first downs in the first half and 29 total yards. Meanwhile, the offense held the ball for 24:35 of the half (to Villanova’s 5:35), racked up 219 total yards and pushed their way into Villanova territory on all five drives. Penn had 14 first-half first downs, while the Wildcats ran a total of 14 plays.
- Jimmy Gammill tacked on a 40-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead with 4:14 left in the third.
- Villanova finally put together a drive and made it 17-7 late in the third quarter. The Wildcats then stopped the Quakers’ next drive, and drove deep into Penn territory again. But on 1st-and-Goal at Penn’s 8-yard line, the Quakers forced a fumble, which Donald Panciello calmly picked up and ran down the right sideline 90 yards for the knockout touchdown with just under seven minutes remaining.

Up Next
Its another ranked non-conference opponent for the Quakers. Penn gets to remain at home for its final non-league game of the season, but will have another tough task with Fordham, which has been ranked among the top 20 all season. Kickoff is at 1 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

#FightOnPenn

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