PHILADELPHIA - The Penn football team is in uncharted waters entering this weekend; the Quakers have never started 0-3 under 16-year head coach Al Bagnoli. The first opportunity toward righting the ship comes this weekend, as another winless team -- Georgetown -- comes to Franklin Field for the first meeting between the teams in nearly 70 years
Penn vs. Georgetown
Saturday, Oct. 6 * 1 p.m.
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
Radio: WFIL 560 AM/Sirius Satellite Channel 126 (Matt Leon, Hench Murray, Brian Seltzer)
Penn Game Notes (PDF)
Hunting for an Ivy Crown
Penn opens Ivy play today after being selected second in the Ivy League’s preseason media poll, behind Yale and just ahead of Harvard and Princeton. The Quakers picked up 110 voting points overall, including one first-place vote, while Yale had 116 points (14 first-place votes) and Harvard 95 (one first-place). Princeton was picked fourth with 87 voting points. The full poll can be found on Page 3 of this week’s 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 Georgetown game will air on WFIL 560 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. This weekend’s halftime guest is linebackers coach Cliff Schwenke. The pre-game show begins approximately 30 minutes before kickoff.
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 two more times in 2007next weekend at Columbia, and the Nov. 3 home game with Princeton.
Five of Penn’s 10 games this year are being televised. In addition to having their first two games aired live, the Quakers’ games at Columbia (Oct. 13) and with Princeton (Nov. 3) will air on regional cable network CN8, and the Homecoming game with Yale (Oct. 20) will be televised nationally on the YES Network as part of the Ivy League package.
The Penn Sports Network
Every Penn home football game and several road games, including this weekend’s game at Franklin Field, 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.
Who’s 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.
Where Penn players stand in the NCAA FCS national statistics...
*Sophomore Chris Wynn is first with 1.00 interceptions per game.
*Senior Braden Lepisto is tied for 14th with 6.67 catches and 37th with 77.67 receiving yards per game.
*Senior Bryan Walker is 80th in total offense per game (157.00 yards).
Penn is looking to recover from its first 0-3 start under head coach Al Bagnoli; the last time the Quakers were 0-3 was 1991. They fell to Lafayette in their season opener, 8-7, at Franklin Field, then threw seven interceptions that allowed Villanova to pull away for a 34-14 victory. Last weekend, Penn fell at Dartmouth in its Ivy opener, 21-13. Georgetown, meanwhile, is looking to recover from a pair of blowout lossesthe Hoyas fell to Cornell last weekend, 45-7, after getting shut out by Holy Cross two weeks ago, 55-0.
The Georgetown Series -- Long Time No See
Penn and Georgetown have met just four times in football, and the last time occured nearly 70 years agoon Oct. 23, 1937, the Quakers and Hoyas had a 0-0 stalemate here at Franklin Field. The last time either team scored on the other was Nov. 8, 1924, when Penn eked out a 3-0 victory. The other two meetings took place in the 19th century.
Penn would certainly like to see a repeat of history today, because the next time the Hoyas score on the Quakers it will be the first time they have done so. Penn has shut out Georgetown in each of the first four meetings.
Last Time Out
After reviewing the stats, Penn head coach Al Bagnoli called the Quakers’ 21-13 loss at Dartmouth 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 itdown, 21-6, they scored with 2:17 on the clock, 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.
The Luck Has to Change
OK, so Penn fell by 20 at Villanova two weeks ago. Think about the Quakers’ other seven losses since the start of the 2006 season, the five suffered last year and this year’s to Lafayette and Dartmouth. 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).
(by the way, 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 21-13 loss at Dartmouth last weekend where 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.
Penn Picked Second
Penn was picked to finish second in the Ivy League’s preseason football poll, which was announced at Ivy League Football Media Day in August. The poll was voted on by media members who cover Ancient Eight football, with two members per school represented. The Quakers received 110 voting points and picked up one first-place vote. Yale was picked to win the Ivies this year, receiving 125 voting points, while Harvard was third (95 points) and Princeton was fourth (87).
Yale, 125 voting points (14 first-place votes)
Penn, 110 (1)
Harvard, 95 (1)
The Sandberg Show
Senior running back Joe Sandberg’s health will be a key to Penn’s chances today. The senior, who has 1,606 career rushing yards to put him in 13th place on Penn’s all-time list (see page 9), had 80 on 20 carries last weekend at Dartmouth, before going down with a back injury. He has been monitored closely all week, but is expected to be in the lineup for the Hoyas.
Walker? More Like Thrower
Senior quarterback Bryan Walker was known more for his rushing ability heading into last Saturday’s game at Dartmouth, and he did not disappoint with 61 yards rushing on 11 carries. However, it was his arm that broke a recordhe 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 against Villanova, 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. Last week, for example, nine different players caught passes -- and seven of them had a long play of at least 12 yards. After Sandberg’s team-leading eight receptions, Kyle Derham came up with a career-high six catches for 55 yards. Tyler Fisher, who also returned kicks for the Quakers, had five catches for 44 yards, and Marcus Lawrence had three grabs for 34 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 uprightSamson knocked home 23 and 45-yard field goals last Saturday at Dartmouth. Samson’s 45-yarder 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 ago -- after gobbling up 102 tackles last year, the most by a Penn player since 1997, he has 31 through three games in 2007. His linebacker mate, Jay Colabella, has 16 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 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 second on the team with 24 tackles, and also has a team-high three pass breakups. Manning, meanwhile, is third with 18 stops (including three tackles for loss), has two pass breakups, and made his first interception of the season two weeks ago at Villanova.
Next Time Out
Penn is on the road next weekend at Columbia, starting a final stretch that has them playing six straight Ivy League games. Kickoff between the Quakers and the Lions is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Wien Stadium.
Download: 07 game 4 - Georgetown.pdf