PHILADELPHIA - Penn opens the 120th season at Franklin Field—the nation’s oldest collegiate football stadium—with the annual Schuylkill Showdown against cross-city rival Villanova. The Wildcats, who rank No. 6 in the nation this week, have won 13 straight in this series dating back to 1911. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.
First 500 students get a Penn rally towel ... Community Day with West Philadelphia Community organizations in coordination with OGCA ... Skimmer Fest for Penn students begins in Penn Park following the conclusion of the game.
The Penn-Villanova Series—19th Meeting
These two Philadelphia foes have met in each of the last 10 seasons and 11 of the past 12. However, prior to that, the teams only met twice between 1912-2000. The Quakers won the first five matchups between 1905-11 by a combined score of 113-12. But the Wildcats have turned the tables in the new century with 13 straight wins over the Quakers. Penn has lost on the last possession four times over the last decade, but Villanova, who has been ranked in five of the previous seven matchups, has won the last two games by a combined score of 59-14.
The last time Penn beat Villanova...
... the cost of a stamp was two cents, a loaf of bread was a nickel, and a gallon of milk averaged 34 cents. A car could be purchased for $500
... the Titanic and Fenway Park were under construction
... Franklin Field was already 16. And no other current stadium had been built
... the first Indy 500 was run
... William Howard Taft was President and Ronald Reagan was born
... Al Bagnoli and Andy Talley had combined for zero career wins
Penn Against Ranked Teams
Villanova enters the game ranked No. 6 in The Sports Network Top 25 and No. 5 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Overall, Penn is 5-15 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2000, but three of those losses came in overtime and the Quakers were victorious in their last home matchup with a ranked opponent—a 30-21 win over Harvard in the 2012 home finale. That Ivy title-clinching win snapped a seven-game losing streak to Top 25 opposition.
No Penn player will wear No. 11 this season to honor former teammate Joey Grosso C’14, who passed away from a diving accident on July 30. There will also be a moment of silence for Joey prior to Saturday's home opener. Joey was a linebacker and three-year letterwinner for the Quakers. He played in every game over the last three seasons and finished with 22 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception last year.
Coach to Cure
Penn will be participating in the Coach to Cure project on Saturday. All coaches will wear the Coach to Cure patch to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Penn Football will also welcome Eddie McKeaney, an 11-year-old New Jersey native who suffers from the disease, as an honorary captain. To contribute to the fight against this disease, go to CoachtoCureMD.org or text CURE to 90999 to donate $5.
Quick Quakers Notes
Penn’s trip to Jacksonville last week was the furthest South the program has ever played a game ... Last weekend’s charter flight 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 ... Penn has scored 30 or more points in three straight games ... The Quakers have forced a turnover in nine straight contests and 10 of the last 11.
Celebrating No. 120
Today’s game marks the start of Penn’s 120th season at Franklin Field. The historic venue is the oldest college football stadium in the nation and has seen a total of 829 Penn Football games in its time. The Quakers hold an all-time record of 554-244-31 (.687) at Franklin Field, which hosted its first game on Oct. 1, 1895. The Quakers have been especially dominant at home under head coach Al Bagnoli, owning a record of 80-32 (.714).
Franklin Field Firsts
Penn’s home since 1895, Franklin Field is home to the first:
• Scoreboard (1895)
• Permanent collegiate horseshoe stadium (1903)
• Two-tiered football stadium in the nation (1925)
• Stadium capacity of more than 78,000 (1925)
• Neutral Army-Navy game (1899)
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 first catch on Saturday will put him in sole possession of sixth place on Penn’s all-time receptions list. He needs 19 receptions to reach Penn’s all-time top five, and 360 yards to reach the same spot among Penn’s all-time leaders in receiving yards. Scott, who has 1,277 career receiving yards, will also have a shot at becoming just the fifth player in school history with 2,000 receiving yards.
Penn Scoring Trend
Penn has never been shut out at home in the Al Bagnoli era. In all, the Quakers have gone 123 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 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 1,345th 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 1,292 games played.
A Penn Win Today Would...
... break a 103-year drought against Villanova.
... be the second in three games against a ranked opponent.
... snap the first five-game losing streak in Coach Bagnoli’s tenure.
... improve the Quakers to 1-1 on the year.
A Penn Loss Today Would...
... be the 14th straight to Villanova.
... make the Quakers 0-2 to start the season.
... be less good than a win.
Last Week - L, 34-31 at Jacksonville
A great start to head coach Al Bagnoli’s final season was washed away in the final minute as the Quakers conceded the winning touchdown with 39 seconds to play and dropped their season opener at Jacksonville, 34-31, in a driving rainstorm at Milne Field. The Quakers led 31-19 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Dolphins drove 67 yards in just under three minutes to close to within 31-26. A few minutes later, freshman Hunter Kelley rolled a punt to the Jacksonville 14-yard line with 2:32 to play. Neither the driving rainstorm nor the Penn defense could slow down the Dolphins, who proceeded to cover the full 86 yards in eight plays to take the lead with 39 seconds to play. The two-point conversion put Penn down 34-31. The Red and Blue took over at their own 25, but on third down the ball slipped out of the hands of sophomore quarterback Alek Torgersen —who threw for 200 yards and ran for 65 in his first career start—and landed into the waiting arms of Jacksonville’s Brandon Roe to seal the game for the Dolphins.
Penn takes the Ivy League’s longest road trip to open league play. The Quakers will bus to Dartmouth for a nationally televised game against the Big Green. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m., and the matchup can be seen on Fox College Sports. Last season, the Quakers and Big Green played the longest game in Ivy League history with Penn prevailing in four overtimes, 37-31.
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