Penn (3-1, 1-0 Ivy League) vs.
Columbia(3-1, 0-1 Ivy League)
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006 - 1 p.m.
Franklin Field - Philadelphia, Pa.
Radio: WFIL-AM 560 / PennAthletics.com/ Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 155
Game Notes in PDF format
Columbia visits Franklin Field Saturday as Penn gets back to Ivy League play. The Quakers have owned the series in recent years, taking eight in a row over the Lions.
On the Radio
Thanks to a new deal inked during the offseason, all 10 Penn football games will be heard on either WNTP 990 AM or sister station WFIL 560 AM this season. Every game will also be streamed live at PennAthletics.com. Matt Leon (play-by-play) and Hench Murray (color analyst) return for their fourth season together in the booth. This season also marks Murray's 26th providing color commentary for Quaker broadcasts. Brian Seltzer returns for his third season as the crew’s pre-game, halftime and post-game show host. Today’s game, heard on WFIL 560 AM and simulcast on Sirius Satellite Radio, will feature former Quaker linebacker and two-year captain Brian Griffin.
On Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio, available to subscribers nationwide, will air an Ivy League game of the week for the second straight year, and the Quakers will be heard on the service twice this year. Penn’s game today and the rivalry game at Princeton Nov. 4 will both be heard on Sirius.
Both teams enter today’s game at 3-1 overall. It is the first time Columbia has been over the .500 mark after four games since they started 6-0 in 1996, which also happens to be the last year the Lions beat Penn. The Quakers sit at 3-1 after getting past Bucknell, 34-24, in the team’s non-League finale last week.
Fairbanks Second in the Nation in Tackles for Loss
Defensive tackle Brian Fairbanks enters the weekend second in the NCAA Division I-AA in tackles for a loss. The senior is averaging 2.0 TFL per game, behind only Edgar Jones of Southeast Missouri St. (2.20 TFL/game). Perhaps more impressive is the fact that Fairbanks has just 16 tackles in four games this season, and eight of them were for a loss. Fairbanks also has a team-best three sacks this season.
The Sandberg Show
Senior running back Joe Sandberg put together an impressive showing last week at Bucknell, cracking the 100-yard mark for the third time in his career with his 112-yard, one-touchdown performance. Sandberg highlighted his afternoon with a 41-yard touchdown run, giving him TD scampers of 1, 36, 74 and 41 yards this year. He also hauled in 41 receiving yards against the Bison, his best showing of the year. Sandberg is also closing in on a pair of career milestones; he is currently 164 yards short of 1,000 yards rushing, and 125 shy of 1,500 all-purpose yards.
Irvin’s Career Day
Sophomore Robert Irvin continued to show his maturation as a quarterback at Bucknell, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns, completing 23 of 33 passes. It was the best passing performance by a Penn QB since Pat McDermott threw for 334 yards against Villanova last year. Irvin’s season line is just as impressive - 66-for-109, 800 yards and five TD’s, and an efficiency rating of 128.17. All five of Irvin’s touchdown completions have come in the last two games, and he also has a rushing touchdown to his credit this year.
Airing It Out
Among all the superlative individual efforts at Bucknell, perhaps wide receiver Braden Lepisto’s stood out the most. The junior caught a career-high seven balls for 140 yards, including an over-the-top, 72-yard touchdown bomb from Irvin in the first quarter that began a 21-0 Penn run. It was the first 100-yard receiving game since Dan McDonald did it on only two catches against Columbia last year, and the most receiving yards since Dan Castles accumulated 145 yards in 2004 against Dartmouth.
Protecting Their Man
One of the keys behind Irvin’s success this year has been the offensive line. Despite being without starting left tackle and 2005 All-Ivy honoree Marko Grzan for the last two games and starting right tackle Andrew Wietstock at Bucknell, the Quaker O-line has given up just four sacks this season, and did not allow one against Bucknell. Penn is tied for 13th in the nation and tied with Columbia for the League lead in sacks allowed with 1.0 spg.
The Other Side of the Story
While the offensive line is busy keeping the sacks down, the defensive line is having plenty of success laying out opposing quarterbacks. Penn is averaging 2.75 sacks per game (13th in the nation) and managed to take down Bucknell’s Marcello Trigg four times. Brian Fairbanks leads the team with 3.0 sacks.
Stopping the Run
The Penn defense did a fantastic job against Bucknell’s triple-option offense that had racked up 390 yards on the ground two weeks ago at Marist. The Quaker D held the Bison to 92 yards rushing on 41 attempts, making 11 tackles for a loss in the process. Bucknell could not air it out, either, connecting for only 125 yards passing as Penn generated four pass break-ups and a number of tipped balls.
Scouting the Lions
Columbia posted its first shutout since 1998 last week with a 24-0 drubbing of Iona in New York City. Offensively, though, the performance left something to be desired, as two of the Lions’ three touchdowns came via an impressive defense. Darren Schmidt recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score, and Chad Musgrave returned a late interception 75 yards for a TD, while Austin Knowlin caught a one-yarder and Jon Rocholl added a 42-yard field goal. Columbia managed just 82 yards rushing and 215 yards passing, but the defense held Iona to a remarkable -16 yards rushing (yes, that’s minus-16) and 155 yards in the air. The defense also racked up six sacks and did not allow Iona into the red zone.
Penn rolled over Columbia, 44-16, at Wien Stadium last year. The Quakers racked up 277 rushing yards with a pair of touchdowns from Sam Mathews and one from Joe Sandberg, as well as receiving TD’s by Chris Mizell, Dan McDonald and a kickoff return by Doug Middleton. Penn scored the first 21 points of the game and never looked back, with the Quaker lead swelling to as many as 31 points in the third quarter.
Historically, the Penn-Columbia series has been heavily in favor of the Quakers. Penn leads all-time, 62-21-1, and has won the last eight games. The Quakers have taken 19 of the last 23 games since 1982.
Plenty of History
The Penn-Columbia rivalry is one of the oldest in college football. The two sides first met on Nov. 16, 1878, playing to a 0-0 tie in Philadelphia. Of Penn’s rivalries, only Princeton dates back further, to 1876.
Head Coach Al Bagnoli got his 100th win with the Quakers in the team’s opening-week win over Lafayette. Bagnoli, who stands at 102-40 with Penn, is 23 wins behind the legendary George Woodruff for first all-time at Penn. He is also the second-winningest active coach in Division I-AA with a .716 winning percentage - only Dayton’s Mike Kelly (.830) is better.
Century Man, Part II
Bagnoli is crossing a different century mark today - his 100th Ivy League game. Bagnoli is a remarkable 73-26 in 99 League games and that includes the forfeiture of five games from the 1997 season due to a player subsequently declared ineligible. He is currently the winningest active Ivy League coach and fourth all-time in League wins.
Penn broke a three-game home losing skid in Week 3 with its win over Dartmouth. Penn’s rare streak dated back to Nov. 5, 2005 when it fell to Princeton. To find the last time the Quakers lost three in a row in West Philly, you’d have to go all the way back to the 1989 and 1990 seasons, when Penn dropped the last two home games of 1989 (to Dartmouth and Cornell) and the first two of 1990 (to Holy Cross and Lehigh).
Seniors Sean Estrada (LT/LG) and Scotty Williams (FS) have been selected by their teammates as Penn’s captains for the 2006 season. Both are returning starters and 2005 Honorable Mention All-Ivy selections.
Preseason Ivy Poll
The preseason Ivy League media poll tabbed Penn to finish second in the League. The Quakers received 99 points, including two first-place votes. Harvard was picked to finish first overall.
Beginning on Oct. 21 with the Yale game, Penn will have four consecutive games on television down the home stretch. The Yale game will be on CN8, the Homecoming game with Brown will be on CSTV, and Princeton and Harvard will both be on CN8.
New Faces on the Sideline
Four new coaches are assisting Bagnoli on the sidelines this year. Offensive coordinator Shawn Halloran moves in from the head spot at Franklin & Marshall to replace Andy Coen, who departed for the top job at Lehigh. Rick Ulrich returns to the Quakers for his second stint as wide receivers coach after offensive coordinator jobs at Georgetown, Trinity and Ursinus. Jon McLaughlin is the offensive line coach, moving from a graduate assistantship at Iowa. Cornerbacks coach Jon Dupont comes in from a similar position at Trinity.
This season represents several milestone anniversaries for members of the Penn football family. Dan “Coach Lake” Staffieri, the team’s emotional leader on game day who has more Ivy championship rings than fingers, celebrates his 30th season with Penn. Defensive coordinator Ray Priore enters his 20th season, and Penn equipment manager Mark Stewart is in his 20th season as well. Head Coach Al Bagnoli, defensive line coach Jim Schaefer and quarterbacks coach Larry Woods each begin their 15th seasons on the sidelines. The Penn football program itself marks its 130th year in 2006, while the Ivy League celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Oh, Very Well
A statue honoring Dan “Coach Lake” Staffieri will be dedicated prior to Penn’s final home game this season with Harvard. Staffieri, who has been with the Quakers for the past 30 years, is the team’s emotional leader on game-day and an unmistakable presence on the sidelines, wearing plaid and sporting his Ivy League championship rings. The statue will be placed just inside the east tunnel at Franklin Field, where the Penn team runs onto the field.
“Invincible” Makes a Splash
The Disney feature film “Invincible,” about the life of former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, was released this summer and has earned over $48 million at the box office. Much of the film’s game action was shot at Franklin Field, which can be seen in the try-out scenes, and Veteran’s Stadium was digitally recreated based on footage shot at Penn’s historic stadium.
Former Penn quarterback and two-sport star Mark DeRosa, who is featured in this week’s Franklin Field Illustrated, had a breakout season as an infielder with the Texas Rangers. DeRosa hit .296 in 520 at-bats with 74 RBI and 13 home runs. Earlier in the summer, he was named American League Player of the Week on Aug. 14 after hitting .433 with a .900 slugging percentage and 15 RBI in seven games ... Former Penn running back Jim Finn is once again the New York Giants’ starting fullback this season.
Safety Pat Kimener and defensive back Britton Ertman have each forced two fumbles this season ... Senior Sean Estrada has started at both left guard and left tackle this season ... Tight end Josh Koontz caught his first career touchdown last week at Bucknell ... Although Penn beat Columbia in 1997, the game was among five forfeited that season due to a player subsequently declared ineligible ... Penn has not been shut out since losing to Harvard, 33-0, on Nov. 15, 1997, a span of 84 games ... Columbia has not won a coin toss this year ... This is the 130th season of Penn football ... While Penn's first season of football was 1876, no intercollegiate team was fielded in 1877 but football has been played every year since.
Next Time Out
Penn makes its first trip to the renovated Yale Bowl to face the Elis at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 21. The game will be televised live on CN8, the first of four consecutive televised games for the Quakers.
Download: Game 5 notes - Columbia.pdf