PHILADELPHIA - Al Bagnoliwas responsible for a few final head coaching duties before completely handing over the reigns to the University of Pennsylvania football program. On Friday night, he helped honorthe seniors and award winners from his 23rd and final Penn team at the program's annual end-of-year banquet.
CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
The Bednarik Award, given to the most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen, was presented to junior offensive lineman Dan Poulos and senior defensive lineman Feerooz Yacoobi. Poulos started all 10 games for the Quakers protecting quarterback Alek Torgersen, and led the way on the left side for running back Kyle Wilcox, who led the team in rushing. Yacoobi, anchored the Penn defensive line, finishing third in the Ivy League with 9.5 tackles for loss. He also led Penn defensive linemen with 31 tackles.
EDGAR CHURCH MEMORIAL AWARD
Senior wide receiver Conner Scott received the Edgar Church Memorial Award, designated to the player who, by vote of the letterwinners, made the biggest overall contribution to the team. Scott, a team co-captain, ranked second on the team in both receptions and receiving touchdowns on his way to an honorable mention All-Ivy accolade. Scott finished in the top 10 in the Ivy League in receiving yards, including a career-best 167 yards at Yale, which at the time was good for ninth on the school’s all time list for receiving yards in a single game.
GEORGE MUNGER AWARDS
The prestigious George A. Munger Award isnamed after Penn's Hall of Fame coach and presented to the team's offensive and defensive most valuable players. This year, it was awarded to Spencer Kulcsar on offense and Evan Jackson on defense. Kulcsar, a first team All-Ivy selection, led the team and the nation by averaging 8.2 receptions per game. The senior wideout also set the school record for receptions in a game on two occasions this season, first with 15 catches against Dartmouth, then broke his own record with 16 receptions against Princeton. Kulcsar led the team with 1,228 all purpose yards in 2014, which was also good for third in the Ivy League. Jackson, co-captain of the 2014 team, finished fourth in the Ivy League in tackles with 78, which was good for the most on the team. Jackson totaled a career-high 17 tackles against Cornell this season on his way to being voted second-team All-Ivy.
Dan "Lake" Staffieri Award
The Lake Award is presented to the player who has displayed dedication to leadership, team spirit and Penn pride in honor of Coach Dan "Lake" Staffieri, a team motivator for 33 seasons. The 2014 recipient of the Lake Award was junior defensive end Tyler Drake. Drake led the team with 6.0 sacks this season and was second on the team with 58 tackles, 8.5 of those coming for a loss. He also recorded his season high of eight tackles on four separate occasions in the 2014 season. These accomplishments made him an honorable mention All-Ivy pick.
HARRY GAMBLE AWARDS
The Football Club award for distinct athletic achievement was given to sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen on offense, senior linebacker Dan Davis on defense and senior linebacker Brion Wood on special teams. Torgersen placed third nationally and led the Ivy League with 26.0 completions per game, also finishing second in the Ivy League in both passing yards per game and total offense per game. Torgersen’s 2014 campaign also placed him third in school history with 2,689 passing yards on the season. Davis, a repeat winner, finished his season with 53 tackles, fourth-most for the Quaker defense in 2014. Davis was also second on the team in sacks, and second in the Ivy League in forced fumbles. He was rewarded for his efforts with a selection to the All-Ivy second team. Wood was a key contributor all season for the Penn special teams units. He played in all 10 games for the Quakers and finished with 12 tackles. The specialist had at least one tackle in seven different games.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARDS
This season's Rookies of the Year were freshman Justin Watson and sophomore Jack Madden. As a freshman, Watson recorded multiple catches in all 10 games this season and finished the year with 42 catches for 497 yards, both good for third on the team and freshman records in both categories. Watson also ended the season by catching at least six passes in the last four games of the season. Madden started six games this year and played in all 10. He finished sixth on the team with 41 tackles and led the team with three interceptions. Madden’s 2014 campaign was highlighted by a performance at Cornell which yielded eight tackles and an interception.
GEORGE WEISS AWARD
Junior defensive lineman Dan Connaughton was honored with the George A. Weiss Award, given to the player who most embodies the grit and determination that is the "Pennsylvania kind of football." Connaughton had 17 tackles on the season in addition to one tackle for loss and a pass break up. His 2014 season included two three-tackle performances, one against Villanova and another at Princeton.
REDS BAGNELL AWARD
Matt Schwartz and Nolan Biegel were presented with the Bagnell Award, named after Hall of Fame back Francis (Reds) Bagnell and given to the team's unsung hero. Schwartz’s senior season at fullback and tight end included 17 catches (fourth most on the team) for 230 yards. Twice this season he had five catches in a game. One of those performances came at Dartmouth, where his five receptions netted him a career-high 94 yards. Biegel finished second on the team in tackles with 58 despite missing the last two games due to injury. Biegel’s season also included 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass break up. He had five or more tackles in seven games, including a 13-tackle performance at Princeton.
MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
In addition to the player awards, long-time equipment manager, Fran Murray, was named Man of the Year for his continued dedication to and support of Penn's football program. Murray is easily the program's longest tenured employee as he just completed his 37th season at the University of Pennsylvania. Murray, who began his tenure when Harry Gamble was at the helm of the Quakers, has now worked with six different head coaches with the start of Ray Priore's tenure, and has worked with countless more assistant coaches, staff and players in his four-decade tenure at the school.