PHILADELPHIA - Penn opened the season with high hopes of regaining the Ivy League championship trophy. Instead, the close the 2007 campaign this weekend with only pride at stake, as Cornell comes to town for the latest installment in the Trustees Cup rivalry.
Penn (3-6, 2-4) vs. Cornell (5-4, 2-4)
Nov. 17, 2007 * 1 p.m.
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
Radio: WFIL (560 AM) - Matt Leon, Hench Murray, Brian Seltzer
Penn Game Notes (PDF)
Cornell Game Notes (PDF)
Penn will finish with a losing record overall for the first time in the Al Bagnoli era; that fact was sealed last weekend in Cambridge, where Harvard downed the Quakers, 23-7. Penn was put behind the eight-ball on the very first play from scrimmage, when its main offensive weapon, Joe Sandberg, was hurt and saw time in only a few plays after that. Senior fullback Nick Cisler also was injured and forced to sit most of the day.
Cornell, on the other hand, has used a perfect non-conference slate to guarantee itself a .500 season regardless of today’s result. The Big Red arrives at Franklin Field attempting to snap a six-game Ivy League road losing skid -- a mark that, coincidentally, started after they closed the 2005 campaign with a 16-7 win right here at Franklin Field over Penn.
Penn dominated the series from 1991-2004, winning all but two of the games over that 14-game span. However, the Big Red has risen the last two years, defeating the Quakers here at Franklin Field in 2005, 16-7, and then gaining a 28-27 win last year in Ithaca, N.Y. In that contest, Penn scored a late touchdown to make it a one-point game, and head coach Al Bagnoli -- not wanting to subject his team to yet another overtime game after three OT losses already -- decided to go for two. The conversion was stopped, preserving Cornell’s win.
Adding to A Legacy
The Quakers and Big Red are meeting for the 114th time in a series that dates back to 1893, the fifth-most played rivalry game in college football history. The series is also the second-longest uninterrupted active series, as the two teams have met every year since 1919, a span of 88 years.
Despite the fact that both teams are 2-4 in League play, the winner of today’s game could still finish as high as third overall with a victory, depending on results of other games around the league on the final Saturday. After unbeaten Yale and Harvard -- who meet today in “The Game” in New Haven, Conn. -- the third-place teams are Brown and Dartmouth, both 3-3.
Three Earn CoSIDA Academic All-District Honors
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) have announced their ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams for football, and the University of Pennsylvania is represented with three players on the University Division District II squad -- seniors Nick Cisler and Patrick Kimener, and junior Tyson Maugle.
Penn is one of just two teams in District II to put three players on the University Division Academic All-District squad; Penn State led the way with four. In fact, only three other teams -- Duquesne, Monmouth, and Delaware State -- had even two players voted in. University Division District II includes all of the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) schools from the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as Washington, D.C.
Cisler -- a fullback from Grand Rapids, Mich. who is one of this year’s captains -- is currently tied for second on the team with 20 receptions, totaling 152 yards. Working mostly as a blocking back for first-team All-Ivy tailback Joe Sandberg, Cisler has had four rushes for 12 yards this season. He was an honorable mention All-Ivy pick in 2006.
Kimener -- a safety from Grayslake, Ill. who is also a captain of this year’s Penn team -- is fourth on the team with 49 tackles (27 solo, 22 assisted). He is tied for second on the team with two interceptions and six pass breakups.
Maugle -- a cornerback from Duncansville, Pa. -- leads the Quakers with 37 solo tackles this season and is second with 53 overall (including 4.0 tackles for loss). He also has an interception, is tied with Kimener for second on the team with six pass breakups, and has one sack for 15 yards. As a sophomore in 2006, Maugle was an honorable mention All-Ivy pick.
Where Penn players stand in the Top 50 of the NCAA’s FCS national statistics...
* Sophomore Tyler Fisher is fifth nationally with 31.36 yards per kick return.
* Sophomore Chris Wynn is tied for ninth with 0.56 interceptions per game.
* Senior Joe Sandberg is 34th with 98.75 rushing yards per game.
* Senior Braden Lepisto is 43rd with 5.11 receptions per game. (he is 83rd with 57.78 receiving yards per game).
Speaking of Lepisto...
he had five catches for 50 yards last weekend at Harvard. With that, he enters the final game of his college career needing two receptions today to give him 100 for his career; he would become just the seventh player in Penn history to reach the milestone.
6. Colin Smith, 102
7. Braden Lepisto, 98
8. Rick Owens, 95
Career Receiving Yards
8. Karl Hall, 1,230
9. Colin Smith, 1,211
10. Braden Lepisto, 1,206
11. Joe Phillips, 1,185
About That Win Over Princeton
Some notes from Penn’s 7-0 win over Princeton at Franklin Field two weeks ago...
*It was the lowest-scoring game in the rivalry since before the Quakers and Tigers were Ivy League members: you have to go all the way back to a 7-0 Princeton win on Oct. 8, 1955.
*According to the Ivy League office, it was the lowest-scoring conference game since Sept. 19, 1998 -- when Princeton shut out Cornell, 6-0 -- and the second-lowest scoring Ivy game in the last 20 years.
*The last time Penn shut out Princeton was Oct. 27, 1973 (a 24-0 win).
*It was the 11th shutout by a Penn team in the Al Bagnoli era -- with eight of those against Ivy teams -- and the first since a 16-0 win over Columbia last season.
*It was the fewest points scored by Penn in a win in the Bagnoli era. In fact, the last time the Quakers scored seven or fewer points and won a game was Nov. 12, 1977 (a 7-3 win over Dartmouth).
*Penn has played just three other Ivy League games with so few (or fewer) points since the conference began formal play in 1956 -- and they all came against the same opponent, and all within a five-year span. On Oct. 3, 1964, the Quakers lost 3-0 to Brown; on Oct. 21, 1961 and Oct. 2, 1965, the Quakers and Bears played 7-0 gamesboth won by Penn.
*Penn and Princeton combined for 526 yards of total offense -- and 767 yards in punts.
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 on Monday, his second such honor this season. That came on the heels of his 20-carry, 71-yard rushing performance at Harvard last Saturday. DiMaggio also scored the Quakers’ only touchdown. DiMaggio was originally honored by the Ivy office 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 85 yards.
Player of the Week Honors
Junior defensive back Britton Ertman earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors after making arguably the biggest defensive play in a game full of them when Penn and Princeton squared off two weekends ago. With the Tigers deep in Quaker territory and the game still scoreless, Ertman picked off a Greg Mroz pass at the goal line and returned it 38 yards to get Penn out of trouble. Ertman also recovered an onside kick on the day, and finished with four tackles and a pass breakup.
No Average Joe
Perhaps the only highlight from the Princeton game, for either team, was Penn senior running back Joe Sandberg -- the first-team All-Ivy pick a year ago ran for 158 yards on 30 carries, and caught a game-high six passes for 54 yards. In all, he accounted for 212 of the Quakers’ 264 yards of offense (80.3 percent). By comparison, everyone else credited with a rush in the game combined for just 85 yards on 47 carries. Oh, and Sandberg also scored the game’s only touchdown, with a 26-yard scamper early in the third quarter. Sandberg’s hard luck this season continued last weekend at Harvard, though, when he was injured on the first play from scrimmage and forced to sit much of the remainder of the game.
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. Joe Sandberg (2005-present) 2,231
8. Jasen Scott (1993-96) 2,224
Pick Your Poison
Penn has three weapons on its kickoff return this season -- Tyler Fisher continues to lead the way, averaging 31.4 yards on his 11 returns; Chris Wynn has 19 returns and is averaging 22.9 yards; and Marcus Lawrence has just one return, but it was a doozy (going for 48 yards at Brown).
And Then There’s Cornell’s Return Game...
Last weekend against Columbia, the Big Red returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game for the first time in school history.
Eight different Penn players have picked off opposing passes this season, led by Wynn who has five (placing him tied for ninth nationally in that category). The others are Pat Kimener (2), Britton Ertman, Joey Brown, Jay Colabella, Mark Washington, Tyson Maugle and Jordan Manning.
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 Cornell 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.
The Penn Sports Network
Every Penn home football game and several road games -- including this weekend’s game with Cornell -- 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.
Some notes from Penn’s 31-17 loss at Brown three weeks ago...
*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 a career-high 141 yards, the second time this season he 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.
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 157 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.
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 proceeded to throw 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; he completed his first pass as a collegian two weekends ago vs. Princeton, after having his first attempt picked off at Columbia.
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 Luck Has to Change
Penn is just 8-11 the last two seasons, but think about 10 of those losses. 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 offense, but gave up an interception return for a TD 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 then 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.
Spreading it Around
Bryan Walker has certainly found a number of targets with his 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.
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 69 through nine games in 2007 including 6.0 tackles for loss. His linebacker mate, Jay Colabella, has filled the defensive box score this season with 42 tackles (5.5 TFLs), 2.5 sacks, a blocked kick, a forced fumble, two pass breakups, and an interception.
Seniors Joe Anastasio (LB), Nick Cisler (FB) and Patrick Kimener (FS) were 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.
Download: 07 game 10 - Cornell.pdf