Football's Title Defense Begins With Dartmouth

Fifteenth-ranked Quakers take undefeated 2-0 record to Hanover, N.H.

Sept. 30, 2003

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Penn's 12th Ivy League title defense officially gets under way this Saturday as the Red and Blue travel to Hanover, N.H. to face a winless-Dartmouth squad.

It is only fitting that the Quakers quest for a 13th Ancient Eight banner begins with the Big Green, a program that holds the Ivy record with 17 championships (13 of which were won from 1958 to 1982). However, while Dartmouth holds the overall record for Ivy titles, both Penn and the Big Green are tied for first with nine outright Ancient Eight championships each.

No. 15 Penn won its eighth-straight game and improved to 2-0 on the season with a 31-24 come-from-behind victory over No. 19 Lehigh at Goodman Stadium on Sept. 27. Dartmouth begins a season at 0-2 for the sixth-straight season, and eighth time under 12th-year Head Coach and former-Quaker John Lyons, after suffering a 42-17 setback at New Hampshire last weekend.

Penn's defense has resumed its normal spot at the top of the Ivy League, leading the Ancient Eight in rushing, total and scoring defense. Overall, the Red and Blue's defense is ranked sixth in I-AA (240.0 ypg) while the Quakers' offense is eighth in the nation in scoring offense (41.0 ppg).

Penn jumped six spots in the Sports Network/CSTV I-AA Poll this week to 15th in the nation after defeating No. 19 Lehigh on Sept. 27. The Red and Blue entered the contest with the Mountain Hawks ranked 21st in I-AA. The ranking is the Quakers highest since they finished the 1994 season 14th in I-AA by the Sports Network. Penn, which also improved from 22nd to 17th in the USA Today/ESPN Poll this past week, acheived its highest ranking in the I-AA poll in 1986 when it finished the 1986 campaign seventh in I-AA in the NCAA postseason poll.

The Red and Blue posted their third-straight road-opening victory and improved to 2-0 for the third-straight season on the strength of a 21-point second half that allowed them to overcome a 14-point at Lehigh halftime deficit.

The win was only the second for an opponent over Lehigh at Goodman since 1999 and was also the first time since 1973-74 that the Quakers managed back-to-back wins over Lehigh. It was also Penn's first victory at Goodman in 29 years.

Dan Castles and Sam Mathews each received their first career honors from the Ivy League for their performances in last week's win over No. 19 Lehigh. Castles was named the Ancient Eight's Offensive Player of the Week after catching three touchdowns and 153 yards on 12 receptions. Mathews was named to the weekly Honor Roll after recording 128 yards on the ground on 29 carries.

Junior receiver Dan Castles came within four receptions of breaking Rob Milanese's program-record of 15 catches in a game as the Toms River, N.J. native posted career high's in receptions (12), receiving yards (153) and receiving touchdowns (three) in Penn's win over Lehigh.

For the record, Castles' 12 receptions tied him with Miles Macik for the third-best single-game performance in program history, while his 153 yards tied him with Macik for 10th all-time in Penn history.

Dan Castles became the first Penn receiver in 17 years to haul in three touchdown passes in a single game. Brent Novoselsky was the last to turn the trick, which also came on the road at Navy in a game that the Red and Blue won, 30-26, on Oct. 18, 1986.