Football Preps for Season, Bagnoli Finale

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PHILADELPHIA - After 23 seasons and nine Ivy League championships, Al Bagnoli will coach the Quakers for the final time on Saturday. The Red and Blue will try to cap the legendary head coach’s illustrious career with one more win when they take on Cornell in the 2014 season finale. Kickoff from Schoellkopf Field is set for 12:30 p.m.

The Penn-Cornell Series—121st Meeting
For the 121st time, Penn and Cornell will face off on the gridiron. In the fifth-most played rivalry in college football history, the Quakers hold the all-time edge, 69-46-5. Saturday’s matchup will mark the 27th consecutive year the game has served as the season finale for both teams. The Quakers have won five of the last seven and 11 of the last 14. However, the Big Red were victorious in two of the last three meetings. Head Coach Al Bagnoli is 15-7 against Cornell, but David Archer remains the only Ivy coach Bagnoli has not defeated (0-1).

Trustees’ Cup
Started in 1995, Penn has won the Trustees’ Cup 12 times. This will be the 20th time the cup has been awarded to the winner of the Penn-Cornell game in honor of the fifth-longest rivalry in college football.

Coach Bagnoli Central
Click herefor videos, stats, photos and more as we remember the 23 seasons, nine Ivy League championships and countless memories Coach Bagnoli has provided the University. The page will be updated throughout the week leading up to the final game of his tenure on Nov. 22.

Bagnoli Set to Retire
Al Bagnoli, who has served as the George A. Munger Head Coach of Football at the University of Pennsylvania since 1992, announced on April 23 that he will retire from the position following the 2014 season. Effective December 1, the head coaching duties will transfer to the Quakers’ current defensive coordinator, Ray Priore, who is entering his 28th season along the Franklin Field sidelines in 2014.

Inside Bagnoli’s Numbers
In his 23rd season, Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli already holds the all-time record with nine outright Ivy titles. He is second all-time with his nine Ivy titles overall, one behind Yale’s Carmen Cozza, who coached for 30 seasons. Bagnoli is the second-winningest head coach in Ivy League history. Only one man has won more games at an Ivy school than his 147 career wins at Penn (Cozza, 179) and in 160 games versus Ivy opponents, Bagnoli’s Quakers have won 111 of them (second-most all-time behind Cozza’s 135). Bagnoli’s Ivy record also amounts to a winning percentage of .694—third-highest of all-time since the inception of the league in 1956.

Penn Scoring Trend
In Coach Bagnoli’s home finale, the Quakers continued a 25-year streak. The Quakers have gone 127 consecutive games at Franklin Field without being shut out. In 23 years, Penn was never shut out at home in the Al Bagnoli era. The last time the Quakers were scoreless at home was a 24-0 loss to Dartmouth on Nov. 18, 1989.

Quick Quakers Notes
Even if the Quakers went undefeated every season, head coach Al Bagnoli would still stand as Penn’s all-time winningest head coach until at least the year 2029 ... Penn forced three turnovers last week which is the most since the 2013 season finale against Cornell ... Freshman Justin Watson has multiple receptions in all nine career games he has played and owns the school freshman records for receptions (36) and receiving yards (420) ... Penn has started the same offensive line—Tanner Thexton, Dan Poulos, Trent Rivera, Dan Lysenko and Nick Demes—in six of the last seven games ... 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.

Torgersen Trends
Sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen, who ranks in the top 20 in the FCS in three categories (see page 6), has a touchdown pass in nine of his 10 career games, including seven straight and all seven Ivy League games he has played ... He has passed for 11 touchdowns to just four interceptions in his seven Ivy League games ... He has thrown for 200+ yards and 1+ touchdowns in seven straight games, including three 300-yard passing performances ... His completion percentage of 60.9 currently ranks third-best in a season at Penn ... He is just the 10th Penn passer with 2,000 yards in a season and the first since Robert Irvin in 2006 ... His 2,358 passing yards this season are fourth-most in school history and the most for a Penn player in 11 years (Mike Mitchell, 2,470 in 2003). ... His 234 completions rank third-most in a season at Penn (seven from second place) and are the most since Mike Mitchell’s 241 in 2001 ... His 384 attempts are second-most in school history to date and just two away from Gavin Hoffman’s program record.

Great Scott
Senior wideout Conner Scott, who has four or more catches in eight straight games, became just the fourth player in the program’s 138-year history with 150 career receptions last week. He is in fifth place in school history in career receiving yards (1,754), and eighth place in program history in career receiving touchdowns (11). His career-high 167 receiving yards at Yale rank ninth-most in a game in school history, and the most since Dan Castles had 204 against Cornell on Nov. 22, 2003. Scott is 246 yards away from becoming just the fourth player in school history to reach 2,000 career receiving yards. The last to do so was Dan Castles in 2004, who finished with 2,444.

Kulcsar Climbs the Record Book
Senior running back-turned-wide receiver Spencer Kulcsar is second in the FCS with 8.0 catches per game. His 72 catches this year are tied for third-most in a season at Penn and the most since Dan Castles had 71 in 2003. He is just the third Penn player with 70 or more catches in a single season, joining Rob Milanese (twice) and Miles Macik, and he is just 51 yards from becoming the 18th player in school history with 1,000 career receiving yards. Kulcsar also had 29 catches during his first three seasons as a running back to give him 101 for his career—the 10th Quaker to reach 100 for his career and just one away from tying three Quakers for seventh on the school’s all-time career receptions list.

Nation’s Best
Several Quakers are ranked among the nation’s best, including the nation’s top QB-WR combo. Sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen ranks second in the FCS in completions with 26.00 per game, while senior wideout Spencer Kulcsar is second in the nation with 8.0 receptions per game—both lead the Ivies as well. Torgersen also ranks among the Top 20 in the FCS with 262.0 passing yards per game (10th) and total offense with an average of 273.4 yards per game (17th). Kulcsar is also 31st in the country with 78.0 receiving yards per game. In addition, Penn’s special teams kick coverage unit is fourth-best nationally and the Quakers rank 19th in the FCS with just 5.1 penalties per game (also 24th in the nation with just 47.0 penalty yards per game).

S.O.S
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. Penn has faced the seventh-toughest schedule in the FCS. Penn’s three non-conference opponents have a combined record of 28-5 (.848), and two are ranked among the top 10 in the country.

NCAA Record
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 1,353rd in the Red and Blue’s illustrious history. Penn is one of only two programs to pass 1,300 games, and was the first to hit that mark on Oct. 31, 2009 in an overtime win at Brown.

A Penn Win Today Would...
... mark the fourth in a row at Schoellkopf Field and eighth in the last nine games there.
... be the 148th of Coach Bagnoli’s career to extend his school record.

A Penn Loss Today Would...
... be the third in the last four games against Cornell.
... be the first in Ithaca since 2006.
... be less good than a win.

Last Week
An inspiring effort in head coach Al Bagnoli’s final game at Franklin Field fell just short for the Penn. A fourth-quarter lead slipped away against #17/17 Harvard in a 34-24 defeat on Senior Day. Prior to the game, the Class of 2015 was honored as well as the school’s all-time winningest head coach. Bagnoli, who is retiring after 23 seasons at the helm of the Quakers, was presented a framed No. 9 Penn jersey -- signifying his all-time record nine outright Ivy League titles. Harvard scored on its first play from scrimmage—a 42-yard touchdown run—but the Quakers scored the next 10 and led 10-7 after Adam Strouss threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Ryan O’Malley on 4th-and-goal. Harvard answered back with the next 10 points for a 17-10 edge at the half. The Quakers stormed back to take the lead on a pair of touchdown drives in the third quarter. Torgersen capped a nine-play, 56-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior captain Mitch King at the 9:36 mark, and then scampered in from four yards out to give the Quakers a 24-17 lead with 6:34 to play in the third quarter. Harvard tacked on a field goal before the fourth and took the lead, 27-24, with 10:31 remaining on a 28-yard touchdown pass. The final score of the game -- a 14-yard touchdown rush with 6:42 to play -- was too much for the Quakers to overcome.

Up Next
A changing of the guard. For the first time since 1991, the Quakers will be led by someone other than Al Bagnoli, who is retiring at season’s end. However, a familiar face will fill his place as defensive coordinator Ray Priore officially takes over as head coach of the Quakers on Dec. 1. Priore has been with the program since 1987 and has served as coach for every defensive position in that time. He has also held the title of associate head coach since 2006.

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Download: 10 - Cornell.pdf