Football Visits Cornell For Season Finale

Penn (5-4, 3-3 Ivy League) at
Cornell (4-5,2-4 Ivy League)

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006 - 1 p.m.
Schoelkopff Field - Ithaca, N.Y.


Radio: WFIL-AM 560 / PennAthletics.com

Game Notes in PDF Format

Penn and Cornell renew one of college football’s longest rivalries in the season finale for both teams. The Quakers are meeting the Big Red for 113th time as they hope to regain the Trustees’ Cup.

On the Radio
Thanks to a new deal inked during the offseason, all 10 Penn football games will be heard on WFIL 560 AM this season. Every game will also be streamed live at PennAthletics.com. Matt Leon (play-by-play) and Hench Murray (color analyst) return for their fourth season together in the booth. This season also marks Murray's 26th providing color commentary for Quaker broadcasts. Brian Seltzer returns for his third season as the crew’s pre-game, halftime and post-game show host. Today’s guest at halftime will be first-year Penn men’s basketball coach Glen Miller.

Ivy League Race
Last week’s results have plunged Princeton, Yale and Harvard into an intriguing logjam at the top. Princeton and Yale are tied for first with a loss apiece, while Harvard has two losses. With the Crimson hosting the Elis this weekend, Harvard must win and Princeton must lose for the Crimson to gain a share with the other two. A win by either Princeton or Yale and a loss by the other will secure the title for the victor; a win by both will result in a tie.

Today’s Game
The Quakers and the Big Red are playing strictly for pride and for the Trustees’ Cup as neither side has anything invested in the Ivy League title race. Penn will look to wrap up its 11th winning season under Head Coach Al Bagnoli by beating Cornell for the 12th time in 15 tries. The Big Red, meanwhile, are hoping to get to .500 with a win.

Last Week
Penn rebounded from its gut-wrenching three-game overtime slide with an emphatic 22-13 win over No. 17 Harvard. The Quakers got all the scoring they would need in the first quarter with a pair of Joe Sandberg touchdowns. The kicking game also came alive as Braden Lepisto booted field goals from 37 and 38 yards. Most importantly, both lines were spectacular, with the offensive line holding the nation’s top-rated defense without a sack and the Penn D-line stopping vaunted tailback Clifton Dawson from scoring. The Quakers benefited from four Harvard turnovers, as well.

Melillo Named Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week
On Sunday, junior punter Anthony Melillo was named the Ivy League Special Teams Player of Week. Melillo put three punts inside the three-yard line in the fourth quarter of Penn’s 22-13 win over No. 17 Harvard Saturday. He pinned the Crimson at their own one-, three- and three-yard lines on consecutive drives, and his second punt led to a safety that helped seal the 22-13 win.

The Sandberg Show
Senior running back Joe Sandberg now has 984 yards for the season and is just 16 yards away from becoming Penn’s 11th 1,000-yard rusher (see box in PDF notes). Sandberg would become the first 1,000-yard rusher since former backfield-mate Sam Mathews did it in 2003.

Maugle Leads the Nation in Passes Defended
Sophomore cornerback Tyson Maugle and junior cornerback Greg Ambrogi are currently first and fourth in the nation in passes defended. Maugle leads the nation with 1.78 per game. Ambrogi is tied for fourth with 1.44 per game. The statistic is the sum of all pass break-ups plus interceptions. Interestingly, Two other Ivy Leaguers are in the top four - Princeton’s Tim Strickland (1.56) and Harvard’s Steven Williams (1.44) are third and fourth, respectively.

Irvin’s Big Sophomore Debut
Robert Irvin, only a sophomore, is putting together one of the better seasons ever by a Quaker QB. He is 110 yards short of 2,000 for the season, which has only been accomplished on eight other occasions and only once by a sophomore (Gavin Hoffman in 1999). In fact, Irvin’s sophomore stats are quite similar to Hoffman’s numbers as a redshirt sophomore in ’99 (see box in PDF notes). Hoffman went on to become a three-year starter and Penn’s all-time leading passer.

Protecting Their Man
A major factor in Irvin’s success has been the offensive line. Despite being plagued with injuries this season, the Quakers are currently the third-ranked line in the nation when it comes to giving up sacks. Penn has allowed just seven sacks all season, and it held Harvard — which came into the game leading the country in sacks, tackles for loss and rush defense — without a sack.

Anastasio Nears the Century Mark
Junior linebacker Joe Anastasio is nearing 100 tackles for the season. He currently has 89 tackles (25th in the nation) in nine games. If Anastasio were to cross the century mark, he would be the first Quaker to do so since John Bishop made 111 stops in 1997.

Last Year
Cornell beat Penn, 16-7, in a low-scoring affair at Franklin Field. The Quakers only managed a Matt Carre touchdown before giving up 16 unanswered points. Penn registered an anemic 149 yards of total offense, including just 33 yards rushing.

The Captains
Seniors Sean Estrada (LG) and Scotty Williams (FS) have been selected by their teammates as Penn’s captains for the 2006 season. Both are returning starters and 2005 Honorable Mention All-Ivy selections.

Penn-Cornell Series Notes
Penn and Cornell are meeting for the 113th time ... The two have met every year since 1918, the only year the two haven’t met since 1893 ... It is the fifth-most played rivalry in I-AA football — only Lafayette-Lehigh, Yale-Princeton, Yale-Harvard and William & Mary-Richmond have played more games ... At 86 games, it is also the third-longest uninterrupted rivalry, with just Lafayette-Lehigh (116 straight) and Cornell-Dartmouth (87 straight) besting it ... If I-A rivalries are included, it is still tied for the eighth-most played series ... Penn has won 11 of the last 14 games in the Bagnoli era ... Penn holds a 64-43-5 advantage all-time ... The series had a long tradition of being played as a Thanksgiving Day season finale ... Only 15 times has the Penn-Cornell game not been the season finale for each team.

Penn-Harvard Game Notes
Penn snapped an NCAA-record three-game overtime losing streak ... Harvard now needs to beat Yale and have Princeton lose to Dartmouth next week to clinch a share of the League title ... Joe Sandberg, who had 86 yards rushing, is now just 16 yards short of Penn's 11th 1,000-yard rushing season ... Joey Brown, seeing major time at cornerback after an injury to Greg Ambrogi, led the Quakers with nine tackles ... Joe Anastasio registered eight tackles and a sack, bringing his season tackle total to 89 ... Penn did not yield a sack to Harvard, the first time the Crimson have failed to hit the quarterback this year ... Penn has given up just seven sacks this year ... It was the third game this season Penn had not given up a sack ... Fullback Nick Cisler had a career game, leading all receivers with 61 yards on four catches and also carrying three times for 10 yards ... Anthony Melillo put four punts inside the 20, including three inside the three on consecutive sequences in the fourth quarter ... Penn beat a ranked team for the second time this season. The Quakers also beat No. 22 Lafayette in Week 1.

Century Man
Head Coach Al Bagnoli got his 100th win with the Quakers in the team’s opening-week win over Lafayette. Bagnoli, who stands at 104-44 with Penn, is 21 wins behind the legendary George Woodruff for first all-time at Penn. He is also the second-winningest active coach in Division I-AA with a .716 winning percentage — only Dayton’s Mike Kelly (.830) is better.

Century Man, Part II
Bagnoli crossed a different century mark against Columbia Oct. 14 — his 100th Ivy League game. Bagnoli was a remarkable 74-26 in his first 100 League games — and that includes the forfeiture of five games from the 1997 season due to a player subsequently declared ineligible. He is currently the winningest active Ivy League coach and fourth all-time in League wins. And no coach since the official formation of the League in 1956 has a better winning percentage (.760).

Preseason Ivy Poll
The preseason Ivy League media poll tabbed Penn to finish second in the League. The Quakers received 99 points, including two first-place votes. Harvard was picked to finish first overall. For the full poll, see the sidebar on page 3 of these notes.

New Faces on the Sideline
Four new coaches are assisting Bagnoli on the sidelines this year. Offensive coordinator Shawn Halloran moves in from the head spot at Franklin & Marshall to replace Andy Coen, who departed for the top job at Lehigh. Rick Ulrich returns to the Quakers for his second stint as wide receivers coach after offensive coordinator jobs at Georgetown, Trinity and Ursinus. Jon McLaughlin is the offensive line coach, moving from a graduate assistantship at Iowa. Cornerbacks coach Jon Dupont comes in from a similar position at Trinity.

Penn Milestones
This season represents several milestone anniversaries for members of the Penn football family. Dan “Coach Lake” Staffieri, the team’s emotional leader on game day who has more Ivy championship rings than fingers, celebrates his 30th season with Penn. Defensive coordinator Ray Priore enters his 20th season, and Penn equipment manager Mark Stewart is in his 20th season as well. Head Coach Al Bagnoli, defensive line coach Jim Schaefer and quarterbacks coach Larry Woods each begin their 15th seasons on the sidelines. The Penn football program itself marks its 130th year in 2006, while the Ivy League celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Oh, Very Well!
A statue honoring Dan “Coach Lake” Staffieri was installed in Franklin Field’s east tunnel and was dedicated before the Harvard game. Staffieri, who has been with the Quakers for the past 30 years, is the team’s emotional leader on game-day and an unmistakable presence on the sidelines, wearing plaid and sporting his Ivy League championship rings.

“Invincible” Makes a Splash
The Disney feature film “Invincible,” about the life of former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, was released this summer and has earned over $48 million at the box office. Much of the film’s game action was shot at Franklin Field, which can be seen in the try-out scenes, and Veteran’s Stadium was digitally recreated based on footage shot at Penn’s historic stadium.

Alumni Notes
Former Penn quarterback and two-sport star Mark DeRosa signed a three-year, $13 million contract with the Chicago Cubs on Nov. 14. He is expected to be the Cubs’ everyday second baseman. DeRosa had a breakout season as an infielder with the Texas Rangers. DeRosa hit .296 in 520 at-bats with 74 RBI and 13 home runs. Earlier in the summer, he was named American League Player of the Week on Aug. 14 after hitting .433 with a .900 slugging percentage and 15 RBI in seven games ... Former Penn running back Jim Finn is once again the New York Giants’ starting fullback this season.

Quaker Notemeal
Scotty Williams has recovered three fumbles this season, including one for a touchdown ... Penn has not been shut out since losing to Harvard, 33-0, on Nov. 15, 1997, a span of 88 games ... This is the 130th season of Penn football ... While Penn’s first season of football was 1876, no intercollegiate team was fielded in 1877 but football has been played every year since.

Download: Game 10 Notes - Cornell.pdf