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PHILADELPHIA - Following the worst season opening loss in 31 years, it doesn’t get any easier for the University of Pennsylvania football team. Now they’ll have the task of trying to end a drought that spans 99 years. Penn last beat Villanova in 1911. One hundred years later, the Wildcats will be the home team at Franklin Field—the same site of that last victory. The 2011 edition of the Schuylkill Showdown kicks off at 7 p.m.
Catching the Game!!
Television : The Quakers will not be on television, but there are several other ways to catch the Red and Blue on Saturday...
Webcast: The Penn Sports Network (PSN), which is available around the globe, will provide a live webcast of the game on PennAthletics.com in High Definition here. Penn announcers Brian Seltzer, C'07, and Hench Murray, C'66, GEd'67, will provide the call.
Radio: The game can be heard locally on WNTP 990AM. Seltzer, in his fourth season as play-by-play man, is joined by Murray, who enters his 31st season as the analyst for the Quakers. You can listen online here.
Twitter: Follow @PennFB for live updates, photos and highlights. Click on #pennfb to see what everyone is saying about Penn Football and use it in your tweets to join the conversation.
Live Stats: Live stats can be found here. A full recap and box score will be available at the conclusion of the game at PennAtheltics.com.
Franklin Field: Nothing beats watching the Quakers in person. Get down to Franklin Field! Get your tickets online by clicking the link above. For directions and venue information, click here.
The Penn-Villanova Series
Penn won the first five games of this series, but all of those victories came between 1905-11. Since the series resumed in 1980, Villanova has won all 10 meetings. This will be the eighth straight season the Philadelphia rivals have played and this will be the second time the Quakers are the away team at Franklin Field. These two teams played in the same scenario six years ago to the day, with Villanova holding off Penn on the final play of the game, 28-24. Head Coach Al Bagnoli is 0-9 at Penn against Villanova’s Andy Talley.
Quick Quaker Notes
The Quakers have scored 24 or more points in eight of the last nine games ... The Quakers have either led or been tied in the fourth quarter in 19 of the last 20 games ... The Red and Blue have won the last 16 games in which they’ve held their opponent under 10 points ... Penn is 17-2 in its last 19 games overall and 20-2 in the last 22 against Ivy opponents ... Penn has a rushing touchdown in each of the last 14 games ... The Red and Blue have also rushed for at least 100 yards in each of their last 14 contests going back to 2009, including nine with at least 200 yards over that span.
A rare occasion will occur on Saturday night as both head coaches are members of the 200-win club. In the history of college football (all levels), this has only occurred 38 times before tonight, and only 12 times between FCS coaches—included among that count is the matchup between these two coaches last season. Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli has won 217 times in 294 games and has the highest winning percentage of any active coach in the FCS, while Villanova Head Coach Andy Talley has tasted victory 216 times in 345 games.
200-Win Club: Part Two
Odd fact: Bagnoli is the only coach in the club without a tie on his record.
How Rare Is it?
With such a long history of success, and an abundance of it under head coach Al Bagnoli, the Quakers aren’t used to the 25-point loss they suffered at the hands of visiting Lafayette last Saturday. How good as the Penn Football program been over the past few years, well here’s a look at how rare Saturday’s loss really was:
- The 25-point loss is largest since November 12, 2005 at Harvard (29-3) and the largest at home since a 34-6 loss to Villanova on Sept. 25, 1999 (60 home games).
- The last time Penn gave up 37 or more points was October 28, 2000 against Brown, but Penn won that game, 41-38. Its the most points allowed in a loss in 12 years—a 44-37 defeat to Brown on Oct. 23, 1999.
- Penn hadn’t even trailed in any of its last five games. 303 minutes, 18 seconds of game time.
- Penn gave up 37 points on Saturday. In the last four games combined, the Red and Blue had given up 38 total points.
- This marked the second-largest home loss for Penn in the Al Bagnoli era. The largest margin of defeat came at the hands of Villanova, 34-6, on Sept. 25, 1999.
- The 25-point loss marked the largest margin of defeat in a season opener since Sept. 20, 1980. Penn lost at Dartmouth, 40-7, and finished 1-9 that season.
- Before Saturday, Penn had either been tied or led the game entering the fourth quarter in each of its last 19 games.
Villanova at Home at Franklin Field
What a game! The last time Villanova was the home team at Franklin Field, Penn's 24-14 fourth quarter lead evaporated on back-to-back scoring drives by the Wildcats. The last of which left Penn with 2:29 to play. The Quakers started from their own 13, trailing 28-24. Penn converted two wild fourth downs, including a hail mary pass on fourth-and-13 from the Villanova 43. Dan McDonald caught that Pat McDermott heave with just four seconds left to set up first-and-goal from the three-yard line, but McDermott was sacked to end the game. You can listen to the wild final sequence here starting at the 3:52.00 mark.
All five of Lafayette’s scoring drives were under two minutes in length last Saturday. Penn allowed four plays of 35 or more yards. The 2010 title team allowed just six all of last season. Penn also allowed three touchdowns of 35 or more yards. The Quakers allowed just one such touchdown last season.
Under the Lights
For the first time in school history, Penn will play its first four games at night. But stadium lights have not been kind to the Quakers during the Al Bagnoli era. Since he took over in 1992, Penn has gone 6-13 (.316) in night games, losing 10 of the last 12. Penn’s last win with a night start time was the 2010 season opener against Lafayette (19-14) at Franklin Field. The Quakers play in the first-ever night game at Dartmouth on Oct. 1.
Coach to Cure MD
The AFCA will hold its fourth annual Coach to Cure MD effort with the games of September 24. Penn is one of more than 400 institutions whose coaches will be wearing a Coach to Cure MD patch to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. The Quakers coaching staff will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.
Last Time Out
It was an uncharacteristic night for Penn. A blocked punt, three turnovers and a flurry of penalties led to the end of the nation’s longest winning streak - a 37-12 drubbing at the hands of Lafayette Saturday evening at Franklin Field. Penn opened the scoring with freshman Connor Loftus’ first career field goal - a 21-yarder. Lafayette took a 7-3 lead with 6:32 remaining in the half. Penn answered immediately. Fullback Greg Schuster ran it in from eight yards out to give the Red and Blue a 10-7 advantage. This time it was Lafayette’s turn to respond, and the Leopards did. Once again it was Shoop through the air, this time to Mark Ross for 37 yards. The score was 13-10 Lafayette at that point, but Brian Giesecke blocked the PAT and Justyn Williams went on a wild, 92-yard run to the other end zone to give the Red and Blue the two points. However, Mike Boles blocked Scott Lopano’s next punt attempt and it went out of bounds at the Quakers’ 41-yard line. With just 15 seconds left in the half, Lafayette got 10 yards, and then O’Brien ended the half with a 48-yard field goal. That put the Leopards up 16-12 at the break. The Quakers never really threatend on offense in the second half. Ten minutes in, Shoop connected with Ross for a 73-yard score and a 23-12 lead. On Penn’s next possession, Lafayette ran an interception back 31 yards for a 30-12 Leopards advantage.
Another night game. Sort of. It won’t be like any other night game for Penn’s opponent. In fact, it will be the very first night game in the history of Dartmouth’s Memorial Stadium—built in 1923. Its the Ivy opener for both teams and Penn’s 15 game Ivy winning streak (longest active conference streak in the country) will be on the line. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.