Ivy League Release
PHILADELPHIA - Late-game heroics from C.J. Mooney and Billy Ragone earned the seniors Ivy League Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week honors, respectively, as announced by the league office on Monday. Mooney had the game-tying touchdown on an interception return and Ragone had the game-winner in the University of Pennsylvania football team's late come-from-behind win at Princeton on Saturday.
With the 28-21 win over its arch rival, Penn (4-4, 4-1 Ivy) is tied atop the Ivy League with Harvard (7-1, 4-1 Ivy). The two teams play Saturday on national television (NBC Sports) at Franklin Field. The winner clinches a share of the 2012 Ivy League championship.
This is the first such honor of Mooney's career. The defensive lineman undoubtedly had the biggest play of the Ivy title race so far this season. Both Princeton and Penn entered the game in first-place in the Ivy League, and with the Tigers in control and leading by seven midway through the fourth quarter, Mooney hauled in a tipped pass and raced 15 yards to the end zone to tie the game. The play marked a colossal shift in momentum. Mooney and the Penn defense then immediately forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and set up the offense's march down the field for the go-ahead, game-winning score. Mooney, a Chester Springs, Pa., native, also matched a career-high with four tackles.
With first-place on the line, Ragone engineered his eighth career game-winning drive - his third this season and second in as many weeks. Starting from their own 42, in a tie game, and just 6:31 remaining, Ragone led the Quakers 58 yards on 10 plays and eventually scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard rush. On the drive, the Cheshire, Conn., native ran four times for 29 yards, including a 17-yard scramble on third-and-5 from the Princeton 31-yard line. Ragone also had a passing touchdown and finished with 92 yards through the air and 61 yards on the ground.
Ragone earned the weekly Ivy Offensive award for the third time in his career and the first time since Nov. 8, 2010. That also came after a win at Princeton, when he passed for a then-career-high 182 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 75 yards and another score.
This is Penn's first Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week winner in nearly two years. The last to earn the distinction was running back Brandon Colavita on Nov. 22, 2010, following his three-touchdown performance in the season finale. Mooney earned Penn's first Ivy Defensive Player of the Week award since linebacker Erik Rask garnered the honor with a career-high 16 tackles in Penn's Homecoming win over Princeton last season.
Penn has had two other Ivy Players of the Week this year. Sophomore placekicker Connor Loftus earned the Special Teams award last week after his game-tying and game-winning field goals in the closing minutes against Brown. Senior punter Scott Lopano earned the same honor with the second-most punt yards in a game in school history during Penn's win over Columbia.
Penn and Harvard kick off at noon Saturday on NBC Sports with the Ivy League title on the line. This will mark the 11th time in the last 13 seasons in which the Ivy League title will be decided between the Quakers and Crimson on the season's second to last weekend.