PHILADELPHIA - An 18th straight win over Columbia has Penn back on the right track as they head to Yale. Its a Homecoming for Coach Bagnoli as the Quakers head to his home state for a nationally televised matchup with the Bulldogs. Kickoff on NBC Sports is set for 1:30 p.m.
The Penn-Yale Series—82nd Meeting
Over the first 81 meetings, Yale holds an all-time edge of 46-34-1 in a series that dates back to 1879. However, since Al Bagnoli took over at Penn, the Quakers have won 16 of 22 against the Bulldogs (five of those six losses have come at the Yale Bowl where Coach Bagnoli is 6-5). Since 2001, Yale’s only regulation win over the Quakers came in the last visit to the Yale Bowl in 2012—also Penn’s only Ivy loss en route to a 16th league championship.
Quick Quakers Notes
Sophomore Alek Torgersen has a touchdown pass in five of his six career games, including three straight and all three Ivy games ... Senior Conner Scott has four or more catches in four straight games ... Penn’s win over Columbia snapped a five-game Ivy losing streak which was the longest under Bagnoli and had been preceeded by a seven-game Ivy winning streak ... Penn’s season-opening trip to Jacksonville was the furthest South the program has ever played a game ... The team’s charter flight that weekend was the first time the Quakers flew since a return trip from Dartmouth in 2010, and the first round-trip flight for the Quakers since the 2004 season opener at San Diego.
For the Quakers, S.O.S may stand for college football’s strength of schedule, or the universal signal for save our souls. Probably both.
-- Through four games, Penn had faced the third-toughest schedule in the FCS and even with a game against winless Columbia, Penn’s SOS ranks eighth-toughest in the nation.
-- Penn’s four losses have come to opponents with a combined record of 22-4 (.846).
-- Of that 22-4 record, all four losses came on the road against a Top 5 or FBS team.
-- All four of Penn’s losses came to teams at the top of their respective conferences as all four have undefeated league records.
-- All four of Penn’s losses are to teams either receiving votes or ranked in the Top 25.
-- Jacksonville is 6-1 with its only loss on the road to then-No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana
-- No. 5/4 Villanova is 6-1, with its only loss coming on the road in double overtime to FBS opponent Syracuse.
-- Dartmouth is 4-1 with its only loss on the road to No. 3/5 New Hampshire.
-- No. 12/12 Fordham is currently 6-1 with its only loss on the road to No. 5/4 Villanova.
Penn Homecoming in New Haven
Saturday will serve as a final Homecoming for head coach Al Bagnoli, who is a Connecticut native and attended Central Connecticut State as well as for senior captains Evan Jackson and Mitch King. Jackson hails from Hamden, Conn., and served as captain of the football and track team at Choate Rosemary Hall, while King came to Penn from Essex, Conn., where he was a four-year letterwinner in three sports at Valley Regional.
Penn’s win over the Lions last Saturday extended the nation’s longest active annual winning streak over an opponent (FCS level). The 31-7 victory was the 18th consecutive win for the Quakers over the Lions. That matched the fifth-longest win streak in an uninterrupted series in FCS history. Penn has not lost to Columbia since 1996 (20-19 at Franklin Field).
Penn has yet to force a turnover in two Ivy games this year. This comes after a stretch in which Penn had forced a turnover in 12 straight Ivy League games—27 total in that time (18 interceptions, nine fumbles). In two Ivy games this year the Quakers are minus-4 in turnover differential and are minus-7 for the year (13-6).
Several Quakers are ranked among the nation’s best. Junior placekicker Jimmy Gammill is third in the FCS with an average of 1.8 field goals per game and 13th in field goal percentage (90.0)—he leads the Ivy League in both categories. Meanwhile, sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen ranks among the Top 25 in the FCS in three categories. The California native is 12th in the nation with 22.8 completions per game as well as 15th among FCS signal-callers with 252.0 passing yards per game and 22nd in total offense with an average of 256.6 yards per game.
Gammill’s School Records*
Junior kicker Jimmy Gammill set a single-game school record with five field goals and also tied the school kicking record with 16 points on Oct. 11 at Fordham. The New Albany, Ohio, native connected on all five of his 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. For his efforts, he was named the National FCS Special Teams Player of the Week by The Sports Network and College Sporting News, and Co-Ivy League and Co-ECAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Torgersen’s School Record*
Sophomore Alek Torgersen set a school record with 40 completions at Dartmouth on Oct. 4. That broke Gavin Hoffman’s record of 38 completions which stood since Oct. 28, 2000. Torgersen completed 69 percent of his passes. His 58 attempts tied for third-most in a game at Penn—Bryan Walker had 60 attempts in two seperate games in 2007, including Penn’s last loss at Dartmouth prior to Saturday.
Kulcsar’s School Record*
Nearly half of Torgersen’s record-setting 40 completions at Dartmouth went to senior wideout Spencer Kulcsar, who tied a single-game school record with 15 receptions. It matched the performance of Rob Milanese in a win against Cornell on Nov. 23, 2002. Kulcsar also had 125 receiving yards in the game to mark his second career 100-yard performance—the other came in the season opener at Jacksonville (127).
*Prior to those four school records in a two-week span, no Penn player had set a single-game school record since 2007 (Bryan Walker’s 60 pass attempts at Brown).
Senior Conner Scott already ranks among the top 10 in school history in receptions and receiving yards. Scott led the Quakers in both categories last year (38 catches for 458 yards) and became the ninth Penn player with 100 career receptions and the 17th Quaker to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards. This season, Scott will continue to climb the school record books in both categories. His fourth catch today will put him in sole possession of fifth place on Penn’s all-time receptions list. He needs 222 yards to reach the same spot among Penn’s all-time leaders in receiving yards. Scott also has eight career touchdown catches which ranks 11th all-time at Penn and is one away from tying current wide receivers coach Mark Fabish for 10th-place in program history.
Eighth Straight Season on National TV
Penn will be featured on national television for the eight consecutive year this season. The Quakers were on Fox College Sports at Dartmouth, and will be featured as the “Ivy League Game of the Week” on NBC Sports at Yale (Oct. 25) and at Princeton (Nov. 8). Over the previous seven years, the Red and Blue have been featured nationally 16 times, including 10 games on VERSUS/NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and two on Fox College Sports (FCS). This will also mark the fifth consecutive season the Quakers have had multiple national TV appearances. The Quakers are 6-4 on NBC Sports and 4-3 on the road (0-1 at Yale). All-time, Penn is 21-11 on national television.
No program in the history of college football—at any level—has played more games than Penn. Every time they play, the Quakers set an NCAA record. Saturday’s game will be the 1,349th in the Red and Blue’s illustrious history. Penn remains the only program to pass 1,300 games, hitting that mark on Oct. 31, 2009 in an overtime win at Brown. Yale is second all-time with 1,297 games played.
A Penn Win Today Would...
... be the sixth in the last seven games against Yale.
... be the third in the last four games at the Yale Bowl.
... mark the first back-to-back wins since Oct. 19-26, 2013 against Columbia and Yale.
... make Coach Bagnoli 17-6 all-time against the Bulldogs.
... improve the Quakers to 2-1 in Ivy League play.
A Penn Loss Today Would...
... mark back-to-back losses at the Yale Bowl for the first time since 1999-2000.
... make the Quakers 1-5 for the first time since 1991.
... be the fifth loss this season to a team ranked or receiving votes in the Top 25.
... be less good than a win.
Last Week - W, 31-7 vs. Columbia
Four different players found the end zone for Penn as the Quakers scored the game’s final 31 points and routed Columbia, 31-7, at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon. Penn continued the longest active winning streak in the FCS over an annual opponent with its 18th consecutive win over Columbia. The Quakers, who haven’t lost to the Lions since 1996, also tied the fifth-longest such streak in FCS history. The rushing game was the difference for Penn as the Quakers gained 276 yards on the ground to just 20 for the Lions. Eight different players had at least once carry for the Red and Blue as sophomore Brian Schoenauer led the way with a career-high 18 carries and 77 yards. Sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen pulled the ball down and ran with it 12 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Penn trailed 7-0 after the Lions scored on their opening drive, but that was the last score of the day for Columbia. Senior Eric Fiore, who had a game-high 109 all-purpose yards, scored from seven yards out to tie the game with 4:00 left in the first, and junior Ryan Kelly hauled in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Torgersen to give the Quakers the lead for good with 5:35 to go in the half. Torgersen tacked on a rushing touchdown as did sophomore Adam Strouss to put the game away in the third quarter.
Its Penn’s Homecoming game—the final one under head coach Al Bagnoli which will undoubtedly produce many of the legendary coach’s former players. The Quakers take on Brown with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Franklin Field.
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