Football Readies for Ivy Foe Columbia on Saturday

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PHILADELPHIA -In search of their first win of the season, the Quakers host Columbia—an opponent they have defeated 17 straight times since 1997, and have beaten in 42 of 47 meetings at Franklin Field. The current winning streak over the Lions is the FCS’ longest active annual streak against any one opponent, and a Penn win today would tie the fifth-longest such streak in FCS history. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

The Penn-Columbia Series—94th Meeting
Each of the last 17 meetings between these programs have ended with a Penn victory. The last Penn loss came at Franklin Field in 1996, 20-19. Overall, in a series dating back to 1878, the Quakers own a 71-21-1 (.769) advantage in the previous 93 matchups. Penn is 42-5 all-time against the Lions at Franklin Field, and Coach Bagnoli is 19-3 against the Lions (10-1 at home).

Seventeen Straight
Penn’s 17-game winning streak over Columbia is the longest active annual streak against any one opponent in the FCS, and a win today would break a league record for the most consecutive wins over an Ivy opponent (Princeton beat Columbia 17 straight times from 1954-70). Penn’s 18th win over the Lions would also match the fifth-longest win streak in an uninterrupted series in FCS history.

Streak Busters
Columbia still remains infamous in West Philadelphia as the team that broke Penn’s NCAA record streak of 24 straight wins. The Lions broke that mark at Kraft Field in 1995 with a 24-14 win over the Quakers. Penn’s record, which ran from 1992-95, was broken this season by North Dakota State.

Coach Bagnoli and Columbia
Head Coach Al Bagnoli has quite an impressive resume. But maybe one of the most fascinating statistics is the comparison of his 23-year Penn coaching career to Columbia’s 59-year Ancient Eight history. Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956, Columbia’s football program has won 93 league games. Bagnoli, who has coached at Penn since 1992, has won 110.

Penn Scoring Trend
Penn has never been shut out at home in the Al Bagnoli era. In all, the Quakers have gone 124 consecutive games at Franklin Field without being shut out. The last time this occurred was a 24-0 loss to Dartmouth on November 18, 1989.

No. 114 at Franklin Field
Penn’s next game at Franklin Field will mark the 114th game for Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli at Franklin Field. That will set another school record for Bagnoli. George Munger (1938-53) led the Red and Blue on to the Franklin Field tundra 113 times in 16 seasons. Coach Bagnoli has won 80 of his previous 113 games along the sidelines of the nation’s oldest collegiate football stadium—a winning percentage of 70.8.

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 nation’s third-toughest schedule through four games.
-- Overall, Penn’s four opponents are a combined 19-4 (.826) with all four losses coming on the road against a Top 5 opponent or FBS team.
-- All four of Penn’s opponents are at the top of their respective conferences with undefeated league records.
-- All four of Penn’s opponents are either receiving votes or ranked in the Top 25.
-- Jacksonville is 5-1 with its only loss on the road to then-No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana
-- No. 5/4 Villanova is 5-1, with its only loss coming on the road in double overtime to FBS opponent Syracuse.
-- Dartmouth, is 3-1 with its only loss on the road to No. 3/5 New Hampshire.
-- No. 12/13 Fordham is currently 6-1 with its only loss on the road to No. 5/4 Villanova.

Nation’s Best
Several Quakers are ranked among the nation’s best. Junior placekicker Jimmy Gammill is second in the FCS with an average of 2.0 field goals per game and 17th in field goal percentage (88.9)—he leads the Ivy League in both categories. Sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen ranks fifth in the country with 24.5 completions per game and 13th among FCS signal-callers with 261.5 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, senior wideout Spencer Kulcsar is among the top 40 in the nation in four different categories—receptions, receiving yards, punt returns and all-purpose yardage.

Gammill Named National and Co-Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week
Junior kicker Jimmy Gammill was named the National FCS Special Teams Player of the Week by The Sports Network and College Sporting News, and Co-Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday. He was also named the National Placekicker Performer of the Week byCollege Football Performance Awards (CFPA), and ECAC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week on Tuesday. 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.

Great Scott
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, who has 1,392 career receiving yards, will also have a shot at becoming just the fifth player in school history with 2,000 receiving yards.

Quick Quakers Notes
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 ... Sophomore Alek Torgersen has a touchdown pass in four of his five career games ... Penn has scored first in four of the last five games dating back to the 2013 season finale.

Torgersen has thrown for over 300 yards in back-to-back games. Prior to that, Penn had a string of 45 games without a 300-yard passer. The last to do so was Kyle Olson, who had 313 in an overtime win at Brown on Halloween of 2009. Torgersen’s 350 passing yards at Dartmouth were the 11th-most in a single game in program history and the most since Robert Irvin had 365 in a double overtime loss against Princeton on Nov. 4, 2006.

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 1,348th 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 1,295 games played.

A Penn Win Today Would...
... be the 18th straight over Columbia.
... tie the eighth-longest win streak against an annual opponent in FCS history.
... snap the first eight-game losing streak in Coach Bagnoli’s tenure.
... be the ninth straight over Columbia at Franklin Field.
... improve the Quakers to 1-1 in Ivy League play.

A Penn Loss Today Would...
... be the first to Columbia since 1996.
... make the Quakers 0-5 for the first time since 1991.
... be less good than a win.

Last Week
Junior Jimmy Gammill set a single-game school record with five field goals and tied the program’s single-game record with 16 kicking points, but Penn was unable to stop one of the nation’s top offenses on the road and fell to No. 14/18 Fordham, 60-22, at Coffey Field. Penn opened the scoring with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Alek Torgersen to Ryan O’Malley. Fordham went up 14-7 prior to the end of the first quarter, but that’s when Gammill took over the scoring for the Red and Blue. He hit four field goals to tie the school record by halftime, including a career-long 48-yarder as time expired. Junior Jack Madden set up Gammill’s record-setting kick. On Fordham’s first possession of the third quarter, Madden hauled in his first career interception to give the Quakers the ball at the Rams’ 37-yard line. Eric Fiore ran for 20 of his team-high 71 rushing yards on first down, and three plays later, Gammill came on to knock through his fifth field goal. The 34-yarder broke a school record previously held by four former Quakers. In the end, Fordham’s offense was too much to handle in a 60-22 defeat.

Up Next
A Homecoming for head coach Al Bagnoli. In his 23rd and final season, the Quakers will once again travel to the home state of Coach Bagnoli to take on Ivy rival Yale in front of a national television audience. Kickoff on NBC Sports is set for 1:30 p.m.


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