PHILADELPHIA - Penn returns to Franklin Field Saturday looking to regain the momentum it got from wins against Georgetown and Columbia earlier this season. Princeton, meanwhile, will not defend its Ivy title, but the Tigers have momentum after last weekend’s win over Cornell.
Penn (2-5, 1-3) vs. Princeton (3-4, 2-2)
Saturday, Nov. 3 * Noon
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
Radio: WFIL (560 AM) - Matt Leon, Hench Murray, Brian Seltzer
Penn Game Notes
Princeton Game Notes
On the Radio
For the second straight season, all 10 Penn football games will be heard on either WNTP 990 AM or sister station WFIL 560 AM this season (the Brown game will air on WNTP 990 AM). Every game will also be streamed live at PennAthletics.com. Matt Leon (play-by-play) and Hench Murray (color analyst) return for their fifth season together in the booth. This season also marks Murray’s 27th providing color commentary for Quaker broadcasts. Brian Seltzer returns for his fourth season; he will host the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows.
On Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio, available to subscribers nationwide, will air an Ivy League Game of the Week for the second straight year, and the Quakers will be heard on the service one more time in 2007 -- this weekend, against Princeton.
Five of Penn’s 10 games this year are being televised, including this weekend’s home game with Princeton which will air on regional cable network CN8.
The Penn Sports Network
Every Penn home football game and several road games can be viewed or listened to live or archived online at PennAthletics.com thanks to the Penn Sports Network. For a monthly or yearly fee, fans can get video streaming of the football games on Penn’s athletic website; for a slightly smaller monthly fee they can get the “PSN Lite” Package which includes live audio from the games.
The last time the Quakers were home, they were on a two-game winning streak, and they took 16th-ranked Yale to triple overtime before falling, 26-20. Unfortunately, the tailspin continued last week, as Penn fell at Brown, 31-17. The Quakers lost despite racking up nearly 500 yards of total offense on the day, including almost 200 alone in the fourth quarter. Bryan Walker tied his own school record, set earlier this year, with 60 pass attempts; he completed 36 of them for a career-best 339 yards. Princeton -- one of last year’s Ivy League co-champions -- ended its own three-game swoon with a 34-31 comeback win over Cornell last Friday night at Princeton Stadium. In the win, sophomore tailback Jordan Culbreath ran for 145 yards, including touchdowns of 49 and 58 yards. His second touchdown run was featured as ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Play Friday night, and his full effort earned him Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Penn won 11 of 12 in this rivalry from 1993-2004, but the Tigers have regained the upper hand the last two years. Last year, of course, these teams had an epic, double-overtime 31-30 game won by Princeton at Princeton Stadium.
Where Penn players stand in the Top 50 of the NCAA’s FCS national statistics...
* Sophomore Tyler Fisher is second nationally with 34.44 yards per kick return.
* Sophomore Chris Wynn is fifth with 0.71 interceptions per game.
* Senior Joe Sandberg is 24th with 105.83 rushing yards per game, and tied for 36th with 8.00 points per game.
* Senior Braden Lepisto is 35th with 5.57 receptions per game. (he is 59th with 65.14 receiving yards per game)
Some notes from last weekend’s 31-17 loss at Brown...
*Bryan Walker tied his own school record, set earlier this year, when he attempted 60 passes. Walker completed 36 of them for a career-high 339 yards, the 14th-best passing day by a Penn quarterback in program history. It was the best single-game performance since Robert Irvin had 365 passing yards last year at Princeton.
*Braden Lepisto had 10 catches for 141 yards. It marked the second time this season Lepisto has had double-figure receptions in a game (he had 11 at Villanova). Amazingly, only one other player in Penn history has accomplished that featMiles Macik had a pair of such games in 1993, and again in 1995.
*Lepisto is now ninth on Penn’s all-time list in career receptions (91) and 12th in career receiving yards (1,142).
6. Colin Smith, 102
7. Rick Owens, 95
8. Matt Carre, 93
9. Braden Lepisto, 91
Career Receiving Yards
8. Karl Hall, 1,230
9. Colin Smith, 1,211
10. Joe Phillips, 1,185
11. Rick Owens, 1,156
12. Braden Lepisto, 1,142
Behind Penn’s Numbers
How dominant were Penn’s performances in its wins over Georgetown and Columbia? Consider these numbers...
* The 59 points scored against Columbia marked the most ever scored by Penn against the Lions, and the most in any game since the 2004 season opener when the Quakers scored 61 at San Diego. It also matched the most points scored by Penn against an Ivy League opponent since the start of formal Ivy play in 1956. (the Quakers also scored 59 against Cornell on Nov. 22, 2003)
* Penn scored 45 points in the opening half against the Lions, an impressive figure made more so when you realize that, in the 153 games Al Bagnoli has coached at Penn, his team has reached that total in a full game just 13 times.
* The 45 first-half points marked the most scored by the Quakers in any half since Oct. 8, 1994, when they dropped 45 on Holy Cross in the first half of an eventual 59-8 victory here at Franklin Field.
* When Penn scored 28 first-quarter points against Georgetown, it marked the most points scored by the Quakers in a quarter since that blowout win over Cornell in 2003. Of course, Penn did it again the next week, putting 28 on Columbia in the second quarter.
* Penn scored 101 points in the two games; to find the last time the Quakers scored that many in consecutive games, you would have to go back to 1946, when they scored 66 in the season opener against Lafayette and then dropped 39 the next weekend against Dartmouth for 105 combined points.
No Average Joe
Sandberg, a first-team All-Ivy pick a year ago, was injured early in last Saturday’s game with Brown and had to sit during the Quakers’ loss after just 46 yards on nine carries. Prior to that, he seemed to be rounding into form at just the right timein the three weeks before Brown, he had 69 rushes for 424 yards (6.2 average) and six TDs. He set a career benchmark with 197 yards on 22 carries at Columbia, scoring four times. Against Yale, he had a career-high 34 carries for 110 yards, and also threw for a touchdown (the second time he has done that in his career). During the Yale contest, Sandberg crashed Penn’s 2,000-yard list in career rushing, becoming the 10th Quaker to do so.
Career Rushing Yards
1. Kris Ryan (1998-2001) 3,181 yards
2. Bryan Keys (1987-89) 3,137
3. Terrance Stokes (1992-94) 2,717
4. Sam Mathews (2003-05) 2,529
5. Rich Comizio (1984-86) 2,479
6. Jim Finn (1995-98) 2,251
7. Jasen Scott (1993-96) 2,224
8. Chris Flynn (1985-87) 2,181
9. Adolph Bellizeare (1972-74) 2,155
10. Joe Sandberg (2005-present) 2,076
11. Sundiata Rush (1990-92) 1,886
Senior quarterback Bryan Walker was one half of a QB horror show when Penn played at Villanova on Sept. 22, throwing two of the team’s seven interceptions that night. You think he learned his lesson? He threw 111 passes after that without getting picked off, before his fourth attempt against Yale was picked (the first of three interceptions by the Bulldogs). So where is Robert Irvin, last year’s starter? Off-season surgery did not seem to fix problems he was having in his throwing arm, and he has been shut down for the remainder of the season. Having played in just two games, he is qualified to take a medical redshirt and regain this year of eligibility. Sophomore Brendan McNally is now listed as the backup on the two-deep.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Take a look at Penn’s scoring summary from the Columbia game...
CONVENTIONAL: Running back Joe Sandberg rushed for four touchdowns -- the second time he has done that in his career -- and Walker threw for two, to Josh Koontz (his first collegiate TD) and Braden Lepisto.
UNCONVENTIONAL: Safety Jordan Manning picked up a blocked field goal and returned it 62 yards to paydirt -- the first time a Penn player has done that since Stephen Faulk against Cornell in 2001 -- and sophomore Tyler Fisher returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score (the first time a Penn player has done that since Chris Wynn last year against Brown).
The Quaker Clipper?
Not to upset fans of Joltin’ Joe, of course, but the name fits for freshman running back Michael DiMaggio. He was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week following the Georgetown game, when he rushed for 49 first-quarter yards (including a 38-yard score for his first collegiate TD). He finished that game with 11 carries for 85 yards, and has established himself as Sandberg’s backup in the running back spot.
Pick Your Poison
Go ahead, kickers -- kick it to Tyler Fisher on kickoffs. He is averaging nearly 35 yards on nine returns so far this year, highlighted of course by a 96-yard TD at Columbia. Don’t like that option? Then try Chris Wynn; he is averaging 22.7 yards on 16 returns, but has the ability to break the big one as well (witness last year’s 98-yard for a score against Brown). Last weekend at Brown, Marcus Lawrence got his shot on kickoff returns and went 48 yards on his only attempt. Good luck!
Seven different Penn players have picked off opposing passes this season, led by Wynn who has five. The others are Pat Kimener (2), Jordan Manning, Joey Brown, Jay Colabella, Tyson Maugle and Mark Washington.
Looking Back at Georgetown
Some notes from the Quakers’ 42-13 win over the Hoyas...
*In the first quarter, Penn had 12 first downs while Georgetown had none; outgained the Hoyas, 230-16, in yards; and had the ball for 11:05 out of the first 15 minutes.
*Senior Dan Coleman tied a career high with five catches, totaling 50 yards.
*Freshmen Michael DiMaggio and Bradford Blackmon each scored their first collegiate touchdowns; DiMaggio’s came on a 38-yard run in the first quarter, while Blackmon’s was on a 4-yard scamper in the fourth.
*Junior Jason Miran and sophomore Tyler Fisher each caught their first TD passes as collegians; Miran’s came from five yards out in the first quarter, while Fisher’s was 26 yards in the second.
Back For Penn
Penn returns a significant chunk of its 2006 team. Overall, 16 starters return while nine have departed; 37 letterwinners in all are coming back to 16 lost. Ten of Penn’s 18 All-Ivy players also return, including three first-teamers in Joe Sandberg, Naheem Harris and Joe Anastasio.
Seniors Joe Anastasio (LB), Nick Cisler (FB) and Patrick Kimener (FS) have been selected Penn’s captains for the 2007 season by their teammates. Anastasio was a first-team All-Ivy selection last year after racking up 102 tackles, while Cisler was an honorable mention All-Ivy. Kimener finished fourth on the team with 52 tackles.
A New Look
The Quakers are sporting a new look this year with both their helmets and their blue home jerseys. The helmets, which have boasted the words “PENN” in white for the past several years, remain dark blue; however, they now sport the split P logo that is used by the Department of Athletics. The home jerseys, which used to say “Pennsylvania” but had nothing on the front last year, now have “Penn” in small type above the numbers.
A New Look 2 (Offensively Speaking...)
One of the biggest changes for the Quakers this year will be the arrival of new offensive coordinator Bill Schmitz, who will implement a new-look offense. While the run game, which served the Quakers very well last year, will not change much, Penn will primarily operate out of a quick, no-huddle shotgun attack. With most of the offensive skill personnel returning, it should make for a productive year for the Quakers’ offense.
The Luck Has to Change
Think about the Quakers’10 losses since the start of the 2006 season. Chronologically...
*A 27-20 loss to Villanova that ended with Penn being stopped on the game’s final play deep in Nova’s zone.
*A 17-14 overtime loss at Yale when Penn missed a field goal in the OT session.
*A 30-27 overtime loss to Brown when Penn missed a field goal, then saw Brown miss a field goal but got called for a penalty which allowed Brown to re-kick (they made).
*A 31-30 double overtime loss at Princeton in which Penn matched Princeton’s touchdown in the second OT, then muffed the extra-point attempt (this, after both teams missed field goals in the first overtime).
(did we mention all three overtime losses came in consecutive weeks? It set an NCAA record for consecutive OT games)
*A 28-27 loss at Cornell in last year’s season finale; Penn scored late to draw within one, and Coach Bagnolinot wanting to subject his team to another overtime gamewent for two. Penn was stopped.
*An 8-7 loss to start this season, when Lafayette kicked the winning field goal with five seconds left on the clock; it was the Leopards’ only lead all day.
*A 34-14 loss at Villanova in a game Penn led 14-10 at halftime and trailed just 20-14 after three. Talk about giving it away; the Quakers threw seven interceptions and had eight turnovers, which the Cats converted into all their points.
*A 21-13 loss at Dartmouth on Sept. 29, when Penn drove the length of the field toward a potential game-tying score, but a fourth-down pass in the end zone was called incomplete after a discussion by the officials.
*A 26-20, triple-overtime loss to undefeated Yale, where Penn appeared to score the tying touchdown in the third overtime on fourth down, only to have the officials call ineligible man downfield (Penn started the play from the 1-yard line). On the replay, the Quakers threw an incomplete pass, giving the Bulldogs the win.
*A 31-17 loss at Brown in which Penn gained 472 yards of total offense, but gave up an interception return for the touchdown and fumbled the ball at its own 4-yard line in the final minute of the half (Brown scored on the next play).
Penn head coach Al Bagnoli called the Quakers’ 21-13 loss at Dartmouth on Sept. 29 one of the wackiest games he has ever seen from a statistical standpoint. And he has a point. Penn lost despite running 93 plays (33 more than the Big Green) and holding a nearly six-minute edge in time of possession. The Quakers gained 406 yards on offense (to Dartmouth’s 344). They did not turn the ball over, while the Big Green had three giveaways. Finally, Penn was in the red zone a staggering seven times, compared to just once by Dartmouth. Yet it was the Quakers who were scrambling at the end to make a game of it -- down, 21-6, they intercepted a Big Green pass with 2:37 on the clock, scored just 20 seconds later, then recovered an onside kick and drove down to the Big Green 6-yard line. On fourth down, a pass play into the end zone looked like it might be complete, which would have made the score 21-19. However, after a conference the officials ruled no catch on the play.
Walker? More Like Thrower
Senior quarterback Bryan Walker was known more for his rushing ability heading into Penn’s Sept. 29 game at Dartmouth, and he did not disappoint with 61 yards rushing on 11 carries. However, it was his arm that broke a record -- he threw 60 passes, breaking the old Penn mark of 55 set by Pat McDermott in 2004 against Bucknell. Walker completed 30 of his passes for a career-high 266 yards, and threw a TD pass to his former Agoura Hills high school teammate, Braden Lepisto.
Braden in Bunches
Speaking of Lepisto, he had a career game at Villanova on Sept. 22. The senior caught 11 balls, a career high and tied for ninth on Penn’s single-game list (along with Miles Macik, who had 11 catches against William & Mary on Oct. 14, 1995). The record for most catches in a game by a Penn player is 15, set Nov. 23, 2002 by Rob Milanese against Cornell. Lepisto also gained 123 yards, just shy of his career high (140, set last year at Bucknell).
Spreading it Around
The Penn quarterbacks -- Walker and junior Robert Irvin -- have certainly found a number of targets with their passes this season. Against Brown, for example, 11 different players caught passes, including two who had receptions longer than 20 yards and five others who had a long of at least 10 yards. At Dartmouth on Sept. 29, nine different players caught passes, and seven had a long play of at least 12 yards.
Giving It The Boot
Freshman Andrew Samson recovered from his first collegiate game in a big way. After going 0-for-2 on field goals in the season opener against Lafayette -- including one that rang off the right upright -- Samson has hit six field goals, including a 45-yarder at Dartmouth and a 43-yarder against Yale. He also knocked home a 23-yard FG in overtime against the Bulldogs. Samson’s 45-yarder vs. the Big Green was the longest by a Penn kicker since Evan Nolan drilled a 49-yard attempt at San Diego on Sept. 18, 2004. At the end of the Dartmouth game, Samson was also called upon for Penn’s onside kick attempt, and he successfully bounced it off a Big Green player for the Quakers to recover and drive for a potential game-tying score.
The “other” Penn school up the road -- Penn State -- may lay claim to the title, but the Quakers can certainly boast their share of great backers through the years. The latest great is Joe Anastasio, who is picking up where he left off a year agoafter gobbling up 102 tackles last year, the most by a Penn player since 1997, he has a team-high 56 through seven games in 2007 including 6.0 tackles for loss. His linebacker mate, Jay Colabella, has filled the defensive box score this season with 28 tackles (5.0 TFLs), 2.5 sacks, a blocked kick, a forced fumble, to pass breakups, and an interception.
Penn’s two safeties -- free safety Pat Kimener and strong safety Jordan Manning -- have also stood out on the defensive side. Kimener is third on the team with 36 tackles and has an interception (for 20 yards) and three pass breakups. Manning, meanwhile, is fourth with 32 stops (including three tackles for loss) and has three pass breakups, an interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown (off a blocked field goal at Columbia).
Next Time Out
Penn is at Harvard next weekend in the 78th meeting between the schools. Kickoff from Harvard Stadium is slated for 12:30 p.m.
Download: 07 game 8 - Princeton.pdf