Football Prepares for Fordham on Saturday

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PHILADELPHIA - In the final non-league contest of the season, Penn (1-2) will take on another Top 25 opponent. The Quakers, who defeated No. 5/4 Villanova on Sept. 24 for the program’s first-ever road victory over a top-five opponent, welcome No. 13/12 Fordham (4-1) to Franklin Field on Saturday. The Rams have yet to win at the nation’s oldest collegiate football stadium in three visits here. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

The Penn-Fordham Series—Seventh Meeting
In last year’s meeting in the Bronx, Fordham earned its first victory in this series. The Quakers had won the first five meetings since the first encounter in 1992. The Rams have still yet to win at Franklin Field in three tries. Penn won the latest matchup in the City of Brotherly Love, 35-20, on Oct. 8, 2011.

I am Penn
The latest in the "I am Penn" series captures the story of Tristan Peyton. The freshman linebacker overcame a tumor in his ear, but suffers from hearing loss. He is unable to wear his hearing aid during practice and games, but has worked with teammates and coaches to push through his handicap.

Penn Scoring Trend
Penn has gone 128 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.

Quick Quaker Notes
All three takeaways for the Red and Blue this season have been by freshmen (two from Nick Miller) ... The Quakers have logged multiple touchdown passes in each of the last four games, dating back to last season ... Senior Tyler Drake recorded a career-high 15 total tackles last Saturday against Dartmouth ... Senior Andrew Lisa threw his first two career touchdown passes in his first collegiate action last week.

Against Ranked Foes
Penn snapped a four-game losing streak to ranked opponents with the win at No. 5/4 Villanova on Sept. 24, and now welcomes No. 13/12 Fordham to Franklin Field today. Overall, Penn is 6-18 against teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2000. Prior to that win over the Wildcats, 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.

Watson Watch
Sophomore Justin Watson has had multiple receptions in all 13 games of his career, and has caught five or more in each of the last seven games. Last season, he set the school freshman records for receptions (36) and receiving yards (420). This year, he has caught a touchdown pass in all three games, and is second in the Ivy League in scoring. Watson is eighth in the nation with 7.7 receptions per game and third in the Ivies with 98.7 receiving yards per game.

Torgersen Trends
Junior quarterback Alek Torgersen has a touchdown pass in 12 of his 14 career games ... He has scored a touchdown in 10 straight games ... Last week snapped a 10-game streak with a touchdown pass and marked his first career Ivy game without a passing touchdown (nine games) ... He has passed for 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions in his nine Ivy League games.

Gammill’s School Record
In Penn’s matchup with Fordham last year, placekicker Jimmy Gammill set a single-game school record with five field goals. The New Albany, Ohio, native also tied the school kicking record with 16 points. He connected on all five of his field goal attempts with makes from 29, 32, 27, 48 and 35 yards—his 48-yarder was the longest for a Penn player since 2004—and started the day with an extra point. The five field goals are tied for second-most in a game in Ivy history, and the 16 points are tied for fourth-most in league history. Gammill was named the National FCS Special Teams Player of the Week by The Sports Network and College Sporting News, Co-Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week, the National Placekicker Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards (CFPA), and ECAC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week.

Nation’s Best
Three games into the season, several Quakers are ranked among the nation’s best. Three Quakers are within the top 10 of the FCS in their respective categories. Senior Tyler Drake has two forced fumbles this year which ties him for fourth in the nation, while junior Alek Torgersen is sixth among FCS quarterbacks in completion percentage (68.9), and sophomore Justin Watson’s 7.7 receptions per game rank eighth-best in the country. Watson is also ranked in the top 20 in receiving yards per game (98.7), and total touchdown catches (four).Meanwhile, as a team, the Quakers are one of the most disciplined in the country. The Quakers have been flagged just 3.7 times per game—third-fewest in the FCS—and their 31.7 penalty yards per game are the fifth-fewest in the nation.

7 Days Rest
For the first time this season, the Quakers will be on a normal seven-day rest between games. Most teams are well into that routine, but Penn’s Thursday night game against Villanova has kept the Red and Blue with unbalanced weeks over the last fortnight. Following the season opener, Penn had just five days before taking on No. 5/4 Villanova, and that was followed by a nine-day siesta before the matchup with Dartmouth.

Captain Vhito
Four-year old Vhito DeCapria became the first captain of Ray Priore’s tenure in April. Vhito signed his letter of intent to join and lead the Penn Football team at a press conference in the Directors Room of the Dunning Coaches Center on April 10. Vhito was diagnosed with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT) in April of 2014 and has been through numerous radiation treatments since that time. ATRT is a rare cancer, but Vhito persevered through a survival rate of just 17 percent and was declared cancer free by his doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Aug. 21, 2015. Vhito and the Quakers are part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.

A Penn Win Today Would...
... be the second straight over a Top 25 opponent.
... be the first under Coach Priore at home.
... mark the first winning record against non-league opponents since 2010, and improve the Quakers to 2-2 on the year.

A Penn Loss Today Would...
... be the first to Fordham at Franklin Field.
... mark the fourth in a row at home.
... make the Quakers to 1-3 on the year.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out
- A fumble on the opening possession was an ominous sign as the Quakers got down early and were never able to recover in a 41-20 defeat to Dartmouth at Franklin Field.
- Penn had nine days off prior to the start of this one after a historic win at No. 4/5 Villanova on Thursday, Sept. 24 -- the program’s first-ever road win over a top five opponent. But any momentum carried from that victory was lost early in the Ivy and home opener on Saturday.
- Dartmouth jumped out to a 27-0 lead before Alek Torgersen led a 14-play, 74-yard drive, and finished it himself with a one-yard plunge just before the half.
- Torgersen was injured on that last drive and was replaced in the second half by Andrew Lisa, who saw his first collegiate action. Lisa completed 11 of his first 12 passes (the only incompletion was a drop) and guided the Quakers on back-to-back scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
- Dartmouth led by as many as 35 before the Quakers scored the game’s final 14 points.
- Lisa was Penn’s leading passer as he finished 15-of-21 for 126 yards and the two touchdown passes. Schoenauer finished with 57 yards on nine carries, while sophomore Justin Watson was Penn’s leading receiver once again with eight catches for 66 yards. Senior Tyler Drake finished with a career-high 15 tackles.
- All three takeaways for the Red and Blue this season have been by freshmen.

Up Next
Penn returns to league action with its first Ivy road game of the season. The Quakers take on Columbia at Kraft Field next Saturday. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.


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