PHILADELPHIA -- In one of college football’s oldest rivalries, the Quakers will meet the Big Red for 115th time today. The Trustee’s Cup won’t be the only thing on the line however, as the Quakers are still in the hunt for the Ivy League titlebut they will need some help on Saturday.
Catching the Game
One of two games this season in which the Quakers will not be available on television, the game can still be heard nationally at PennAthletics.com or in the Philadelphia area at WFIL 560 AM. Matt Leon will supply the play-by-play while Hench Murray will cover the analysis.
Penn has traditionally been the superior team in the fifth oldest rivalry in the FCS, winning 65 of the 114 meetings, including five ties. However, the Quakers’ success has been minimalized at Schoellkopf Field. Penn has won just nine of the 22 games played at the Ithaca, N.Y. stadium. Head Coach Al Bagnoli though, has been at the helm for six of those wins. Overall, Penn has defeated Cornell 11 times in the coach’s 16-year career.
Quakers Ivy Scenario
The Quakers will need help to claim a share of the Ivy League championship. In order for Penn to win the title, there would have to be a four-way tie for first. Yale would have to beat Harvard and Columbia needs to beat Brown. If these instances join a Penn win Saturday, all four teams would share the title - a record amount - with each team enduring two Ivy League losses in 2008. Penn will finish no worse than fourth and no worse than third with a win.
Penn has turned its fortune on the road. The Quakers have gone 3-1 this season, including both road Ivy games thus far. This comes directly after a streak where the Quakers lost eight of nine Ivy League road games. With a win at Cornell, Penn will have won three straight Ivy road contests for the first time since the 2004-05 seasons. It will also mark the first season since 2004 in which the Quakers have won three games against Ancient Eight teams as the visitors. Penn went 5-0 away from home that season.
Magic Number: 200
George A. Munger Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli is seeking his 200th career win today against Cornell. Bagnoli would be just the fifth coach in FCS history to exceed the 200-win mark. He won 86 games in 10 seasons at Union (N.Y.) prior to his 113 victories at Penn.
Magic Number: 10
In each of the team’s five wins this season, Penn has held its opponent to 10 or fewer points. However, in each of the team’s losses, the opponent has exceeded the 10-point barrier. In all, opponents have been held to 10 or fewer points in each of Penn’s last seven wins.
Facing Off Against No. 1...again
One week after battling the Ivy League’s top offensive unit in Harvard, the Quakers will now face the new number one offense in the Ancient Eight. In holding the Crimson to its lowest output in over two seasons, the Quakers knocked Harvard out of the top spot and will face their replacements this week. The Big Red are averaging over 400 yards of offense per game, mostly due to the Ivies top-ranked passing game which averages nearly 300 yards per game.
In the Rankings
It will be another battle of offense vs. defense as Penn’s defense has been in the top 10 of the NCAA rankings for the majority of the season. The Quakers are the sixth-best defense in the FCS and tops in the Ivy League, allowing just 251.1 ypg. They are ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense, holding the opposition to 16.1 ppg. The Quakers have been especially tough against the pass, holding opponents to just under 153 ypggood for 13th in the nation. The Quakers have been equally tough against the run, ranking 18th with opponents averaging fewer than 100 yards per game.
Penn Scoring Trend
Penn has scored in 109 consecutive games, the third longest streak in Ivy history. Brown holds the record at 127, which remains active. Yale also has a 109-game active streak. The Quakers have not been shut out since their trip to Harvard in 1997. Penn has also not been shut out at home since 1989, a span of 97 games.
Other Penn Trends
Jordan Manning has started in the Quakers secondary in each of the last 29 games ... Tight end Josh Koontz has had a reception in 15 straight games ... Each of Penn’s losses this season have come by one possession (and a total of 23 points).