Ivy Title On the Line


No.17 Penn (7-1, 5-0 Ivy)v. No. 15 Harvard(8-0,5-0 Ivy)
Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004
Franklin Field - Philadelphia, Pa.
1 p.m. -CN8 (Bill Zampfler - play-by-play; Bill Osborn - color analyst; Gregg Murphy - sideline reporter)

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Series -Harvard 41, Penn 31, Tie 2

Game Notes: Game 9 - No. 17 Penn v. No. 15 Harvard

It May All Come Down to This - Penn and Harvard come into this game undefeated in the Ivy League (5-0) and nationally ranked in both national polls. The Quakers rank No. 17 in both the ESPN/USA Today Sports Network polls, while the Crimson is ranked No. 15 in both weekly polls. The winner of this contest will earn a share of the 2004 Ivy League title with each having one game remaining on the schedule. It would be the seventh championship in Head Coach Al Bagnoli's Penn career, a program record.

Coaching the Quakers - Al Bagnoli is in his 13th season as the George A. Munger Head Football Coach. He is first in wins (68) among active Ivy League coaches, second at Penn in years coached (12) and wins at Penn (93). Bagnoli holds a 10-2 record against the Crimson with his 2003 squad handing Harvard a 32-24 loss at Harvard Stadium one year ago.

It's Their Day - The Class of 2005 is attempting to do something that not even the prolific Class of 2004 was able to accomplish. With two games remaining, the senior class holds a 34-3 overall record (.919 winning percentage). One more win gives this class the most wins over a four-year period in program history. A clean run through the rest of the Ivy season would this group of seniors, currently 25-1 (.962 Ivy winning percentage), a 27-1 Ancient Eight record, which would surpass the Class of 2004's 26-2 mark (.929 Ivy winning percentage) and would be the best in League history. But with Harvard and Cornell remaining on the schedule, the only thing the Class of 2005 is looking forward to is the next game.

Survive and Move On - Penn went into arch rival Princeton looking to keep its perfect Ivy League record in tact and came back to Philadelphia with a 16-15 victory. The win showed the poise and never-die attitude of this Quakers squad as the victory marks the second win this season by less than five points. It was also the slimmest margin of victory during the Red and Blue's record 20-consecutive League wins. Penn defeated Yale, 34-31, in overtime and Brown, 24-21, last season.

Nice Job Rookie - Freshman Derek Zoch came into the game against Princeton without ever attempting a collegiate field goal. It proved to not matter as the Kinnelon graduate booted a game-winning 27-yard field goal through the uprights. Prior last Saturday's game, Zoch had attempted only two extra points, making good on both.

Putting the 'D' in Defense - Senior defensive back Duvol Thompson picked the right time to have a career-high eight tackles. Thompson held the Tigers' Greg Fields to just 63 yards and no touchdowns and broke up his fifth pass of the season, knocking away a would-be Princeton touchdown in the end zone.

Second Take - For the second week in a row Luke Hadden recorded a career-high 11 tackles against Princeton. His final tackle of the game proved to be the most beneficial as he dropped Brandon Benson for a five-yard loss. A Matt Verbit incompletion on the next play could not move the Tigers any closer and Derek Javarone missed the 41-yard field goal attempt with 18 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Hadden also forced a first-quarter Greg Fields fumble on Penn's nine-yard line, which was recovered by Kevin Stefanski.

Getting a Hand On the Ball - Chad Slapnicka registered the second interception of his career, picking off Princeton's Matt Verbit on the first play of the second quarter. The play itself was not what made it special, it was how it happened. Slapnicka was no more than four feet off the line when Verbit fired a bullet over the middle. The linebacker reached up and stopped the ball's flight, cradling it as he fell to the turf to stop a Tigers drive at the Penn 25-yard line.

Matriculating Down the Field - Pat McDermott showed that he may be more comfortable running the two-minute offense than using the 25-second play clock to its entirety. Penn's first scoring drive took just 3:10 off the clock but consisted of 10 plays and moved 89 yards down the field. McDermott completed three of four passes for 53 yards to move down to Princeton's 12-yard line. Von Bryant scored from 12 yards out to take the lead away from Princeton, 7-6.

Rewriting the Record Books - Pat McDermott and Sam Mathews have joined senior wide receiver Dan Castles in the Penn record books. Castles has cemented himself as one of the best receivers in Quakers history, ranking third in receptions (153), fourth in receiving yards (2,258) and is tied with Miles Macik for the all-time touchdown lead with 26 receptions for scores. McDermott now ranks ninth all-time for passing yards in a single season with 1,978 this season and 12th in passing for a career with 2,182 yards. Mathews rushed for 73 yards against Princeton and in doing so became Penn's ninth all-time leading rusher with 1,919 career yards on the ground (106.6 career ypg).

On the National Front - Penn enters its fifth week ranked nationally and continues to rank in the top-25 statistically. The Quakers are ranked 24th in rushing defense (119.38 ypg) and 22nd in passing offense (250.63 ypg) and net punting (36.17 ypp). The Red and Blue is the second-hardest team in the country to score against, allowing just 12.5 points per game.

Ancient Eight Rankings - Penn leads the Ivy League in four statistically categories, ranking atop the Ancient Eight in passing offense (250.63 ypg), total defense (311.75 ypg), scoring defense (12.5 ppg) and net punting (36.17 ypp). The Quakers rank in the top-three in the League in six other categories. They rank third in rushing defense (119.38 ypg), pass efficiency defense (107.52 ypg), punt returns (8.97 ypr) and passing efficiency (120.33) and second in total offense (393.13 ypg) and scoring offense (26.00 ppg).

Among the Nation's Best - Three Quakers rank in the top-20 in the nation as Pat McDermott is ranked 19th in total offense (253.00 ypg), Josh Appell moved up to 11th in punting (42.27 ypp) and Dan Castles finds his name in the top-10, ranking seventh in the nation in receptions with 7.29 catches per game. Castles is also ranked 15th in receiving yards with 97.50 yards per game.

Individual Ivy Accolades - Josh Appell leads the Ivy League in punting with is 42.27 per punt average. Dan Castles ranks second in receptions (7.00) , third in receiving yards (97.50 ypg) and sixth in scoring (5.25 ppg), tied with teammate Sam Mathews. Pat McDermott currently leads the Ancient Eight in total offense (253.00 ypg) and ranks third in passing efficiency (121.31). Adam Francks ranks third in punt returns (9.41 ypr). Mathews sits just outside the top-five, ranking as the sixth all-purpose runner with 114.25 yards per game. Chad Slapnicka now ranks sixth in the League in interceptions (.25 per game) after picking off a pass against Princeton for his second interception of the season and his career.

Nov. 15, 2003 - One year ago Penn entered its game against Harvard needing one win to win the Ivy League championship and retain the title the Quakers had one in 2002. The Quakers opened a 22-0 lead last season on three Mike Mitchell touchdown passes to Brian Adams for 11 yards, Dan Castles for 44 yards and Kevin DeSmedt for seven yards, respectively. Harvard battled back with touchdowns from Clifton Dawson in the second quarter and a safety and a Ryan Fitzpatrick five-yard touchdown pass to Matt Fratto in the third quarter. Penn took an eight-point advantage with a Peter Veldman 35-yard field goal. The Crimson had a chance on the final drive of the game, moving down to Penn's six-yard line but Steve Lhotak stopped Fratto at the six and Harvard would not get off another play as time expired.

Download: game notes-Harvard.pdf