Penn (5-2, 3-1 Ivy) vs.Princeton (5-2, 3-1 Ivy)
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005
Noon Franklin Field
Can by heard on ESPN 920 AM and www.pennathletics.com
Penn v. Princeton Game Notes
Welcome to historic Franklin Field for today’s Homecoming matchup against longtime rival Princeton. The Quakers and Tigers enter today’s contest with identical records 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Ivy League play. Penn does have one thing on its side home field advantage.
Home Sweet Home The Quakers have been very successful on Franklin Field over the last five years. Since 2000, the Red and Blue have a 25-3 (.893) record at home. Beyond that, Penn has only one Ancient Eight loss at Franklin Field during that time frame, a 31-10 loss to Harvard in 2004. Penn has not lost to Princeton at home since 1995 a 22-9 defeat on Nov. 4.
Saturday Shrines Speaking of Franklin Field, SportingNews Books recently released SATURDAY SHRINES: College Football's Most Hallowed Grounds, which explores the very core of all that is the “religion” of college football, The Stadium. Each stadium is defined by the magic moments that give it its own unique, unforgettable personality. Franklin Field was one of the 40 stadiums bestowed with the honor.
This season Penn football games can be heard live on ESPN 920 AM and on the Penn Athletics web site www.pennathletics.com. Matt Leon (play-by-play) and Hench Murray (color analyst) return for their third season in the broadcast booth. Brian Seltzer will provide sideline content. The pre-game show begins approximately 30 minutes before kickoff.
At halftime of this week’s broadcast, Matt Leon will be former Quaker Vince Alexander (2000-2002). The defensive back signed free agent contracts with the New York Jets in 2003 and the Arizona Cardinals in 2004.
The University of Pennsylvania football team will be featured on ESPN’s “The Season”. “The Season” will be following Penn football players and coaches around this week leading up to the Homecoming game on Saturday. Penn is the first I-AA football program to be featured on the series. The show will air on Thursday, Nov. 10.
On Saturday night, the University of Pennsylvania will induct 12 former student-athletes into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame. The fifth class includes two former football players Robert Evans, C’53 and Joe Valerio, C’91.
Logjam in the Ancient Eight Four teams are currently tied for the top spot in the Ivy League standings. Brown, Penn, Princeton and Yale are all 3-1 in League play.
After today’s games, only two teams can stay atop the League standings, as Penn hosts Princeton and Brown travels to Yale.
If Brown beats Yale... The Bears and the winner of the Penn-Princeton game would be in position to share the Ivy title if both teams won the remaining two games on their schedule. If one team slipped up in the final two weeks and the other won out, that team would win outright at 6-1: If Yale beats Brown... Things become much more interesting. That's because if Yale won and Princeton beat Penn, the Bulldogs and the Tigers would meet on Nov. 12 in Princeton with at least a share of the Ivy title on the line. In this scenario, the winner of the Nov. 12 game would win the title outright with a victory on Nov. 19, but.... If Yale were to win and Penn beat Princeton instead, suddenly Harvard (if it beats Columbia on Saturday) would control its own destiny as well. The Crimson would have two losses and would play both Penn and Yale.
While five teams, including Harvard, still have a chance to win the title by itself, there is a distinct possibility for two or more teams to share the League title. There has not been a two-team tie for the League title since 1999 (Yale and Brown), and there has not been a three-way tie since 1982 (Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth). There has never been a four-way share of the title, which is mathematically possible this season. Actually, there remains the remote possibility of a six-way tie for the title at 4-3.
Head Coach Al Bagnoli is one win away from the century mark at Penn. The 14-year head coach has 99 wins at Penn, while his 185 career wins are second best among active Division I-AA coaches.
Bagnoli has also made a name for himself in Ivy League victories. He has 72 Ancient Eight wins which ranks fourth among all Ivy League coaches. Joe Restic, who coached at Harvard from 1971-93, is third with 92 conference wins.
The Penn v. Princeton rivalry is one of the most played in NCAA I-AA history. The 96 meetings represent the 11th longest rivalry in the nation. Penn has met only one other team more times Cornell, 111 times.
The Series The Tigers hold the overall advantage in this almost-century-old series, but Penn has dominated the last decade. Penn has won 12 of the last 13 meetings including nine straight. The Tigers won the first 28 meetings. Since then Penn has gone 34-33-1 against them.
The Quakers are coming off a 34-20 loss at Brown. Sophomore QB Bryan Walker completed 15-of-38 passes and threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns to Joe Sandberg. Scott Williams returned an interception 80 yards for a TD.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Brown had averaged 434.5 yards of total offense. Penn held the Bears to just 302 yards. The Quakers successfully put a hold on the Bears’ passing game; Brown managed only 66 yards in the air.
Sandberg had his first two-touchdown game last Saturday. Both of the junior’s TDs were receptions from Walker. Sandberg and Walker have connected on three TDs this season. Sandberg has at least one touchdown in the last three games he has played.
Senior quad-captain Ric San Doval recorded 17 tackles against Brown last week. No other player in the decade of the 2000s has accomplished that feat. San Doval had 11 solo stops in that game.
Linebacker Kory Gedin had a career-high in tackles against the Bears, as well. Gedin made 12 stops, including six solo. He also had a tackle for loss.
Junior Scott Williams recorded his second interception and ran it back 80 yards for his second career touchdown in the third quarter. His score pulled the Quakers to within 10 points of the Bears, 24-14. Williams intercepted a pass against Bucknell and ran it in for a score earlier this season.
Williams’ interception return is the seventh longest in Penn history. The longest in program history is a 100-yard return by Kunle Williams against Princeton on Nov. 6, 1999.
Penn’s other interception in the game was caught by Adam Francks. Late in the first half, Francks picked off Joe DiGiacomo and returned the ball seven yards. It was the senior’s first career interception.
Sandberg is second on the team in rushing and receptions and leads the team in all-purpose yards. He has 299 yards rushing on 51 carries (49.8 per game), 20 catches for 291 yards (48.5 per game), 98 yards in kickoff returns for 686 yards (114.3 per game).
Senior Sam Mathews rushed for 78 yards on 20 carries against the Bears. His performance puts him 46 yards away from moving into fourth in all-time rushing yards at Penn. Mathews has 3,433 career rushing yards.
Combined with 657 receiving yards, Mathews is seventh all-time in all-purpose yards with 3,090. In his Penn career, he has scored 25 touchdowns for the Red and Blue.
Senior Pat McDermott is another Quaker climbing the all-time charts in his last season. McDermott did not play last week, but still has three games to improve his career numbers. McDermott has 3,317 passing yards which is eighth all-time. He needs 113 to move into seventh, 146 for sixth and 542 for fifth.
The Penn defense is third in Division I-AA in rushing defense. The Quakers, who held the top spot for two weeks, let up only 75.86 yards per game. The Red and Blue are still the top team in the Ancient Eight in rushing defense and total defense (ninth in I-AA).
Penn ranks in the top-50 in nine of 14 national categories. The Quakers are 16th in scoring offense (35.14), tied for 19th in turnover margin (.71), 37th in net punting (33.60), 43rd in passing efficiency defense (115.66), 45th in passing offense (209.71) and 50th in passing efficiency (124.53).
Kicker Derek Zoch is 14th in I-AA in field goals. The sophomore has made 10 field goals this season and averages 1.43 field goals per game. The school record for field goals in a season is 15, held by Rich Friedenberg, who accomplished that feat in 1988, and Jason Feinberg who did the same in 1999 and 2000.
Princeton enters today’s game with a two-game win streak on the line. The Tigers came back to defeat Cornell, 20-17, in overtime last week. The week before, the Tigers defeated Harvard, 27-24, for the first time in nine years.
Against the Big Red, the Tigers used a 32-yard Derek Javarone field goal to tie the game with 2:18 remaining. In overtime, the Big Red were driving to the Princeton end zone when Tim Strickland intercepted a pass at the Princeton 4-yard line. The Tigers then took over the ball and Javarone kicked a 35-yard field goal to seal the win.
Flashback Last season’s game at Princeton Stadium came down to the wire. The Quakers, down 15-13 with eight and a half minutes left in regulation, pulled off a spectacular scoring drive. Penn raced 59 yards in 12 plays to set up Derek Zoch for a 22-yard field goal, the first attempt of his career, and he nailed it through the uprights to give Penn the decisive edge, 16-15. Princeton did have one last chance when Derek Javarone attempted a 41-yard field goal. Penn fans held their breaths as the kick sailed wide right.
Princeton’s Passing Game Quarterback Jeff Terrell has controlled the passing game for the Tigers. He has completed 92-of-174 passes this season and thrown for five touchdowns. He averages 169.6 yards per game. His top receiver is Jon Dekker, who has three TDs, 25 catches and 292 yards to his credit. Greg Fields and Brendan Circle each have TD receptions. Princeton’s passing offense is seventh in the League with 183.86 yards per game. Backup QB Bill Foran has seen action in five games and completed 8-of-14 passes for 100 yards.
Princeton’s Running Game Rob Toresco has 90 carries on the season for 364 yards and two touchdowns. Two others have more than 200 yards on the ground, including Cleo Kirkland who has 296 yards on 65 carries and three touchdowns. Terrell has 215 yards on 58 carries and four TDs.
Princeton on Defense Princeton’s total defense is sixth in the Ivy League and 35th in I-AA, but they are second in the League and tied for 16th in scoring defense, allowing only 18.38 points per game. Justin Stull and Abi Fadeyi lead the team with 58 and 52 tackles, respectively. Stull has 29 stops and Fadeyi has 28. Both have three sacks to their credit, while Fadeyi has 7.5 tackles for a loss of 30 yards. Jay McCareins has five interceptions and 36 tackles this season.
Princeton on Special Teams Special teams have been the difference for the Tigers this season. Their last two games have been won by specialists. Senior kicker Derek Javarone broke Penn’s Jason Feinberg’s Ivy League record of 40 field goals, and he kicked his 42nd against Cornell last Saturday. Javarone has been a clutch player for the Tigers this season. He is 13 of 14 this season in field goals and has made 16 of his 18 extra-point attempts. His furthest this season was a 43-yarder against Columbia. McCareins has 16 kickoff returns, including one that went 93 yards for the game-winning score against Harvard. He leads the team with 707 all-purpose yards.