No. 15 Football Resumes Title Defense with Upstart Lions

Penn comes into contest with second-longest winning streak in the nation at 10 games.

Oct. 14, 2003

Much attention is paid to the fact that the eventual Ivy League football champion does not move onto the I-AA playoffs.

However, any fan of the Ancient Eight can attest to the postseason atmosphere that will surround each and every Ivy contest from now until the end of the year. The stakes are high when considering that the last 21 teams to be crowned Ancient Eight champion have either gone undefeated or suffered just one loss in League play.

That is why for No. 15 Penn, the "real" season begins now as continues its Ivy title defense this weekend in New York against rejuvenated-Columbia team at Baker Field (a site where Penn has not lost since 1995).

The Red and Blue enter the weekend with the nation's second-longest winning streak, which improved to 10 games after a 14-13 victory over Bucknell at Franklin Field last Saturday. The Quakers have also won nine-straight Ivy League contests.

The Lions already surpassed their win total of a season ago, despite falling to Lafayette, 47-21, on Oct. 11 on the road. At home this season, Columbia is 1-0, defeating Bucknell, 19-16, in week two. Also, the Lions snapped an eight-game Ivy skid with a week three win at Princeton.

The Red and Blue remain among I-AA's elite teams as Penn enters week five ranked 15th in the Sports Network/CSTV poll for the third-straight week, and 16th in the USA Today/ESPN poll. For the first time since 1995, the Quakers have been ranked each week in the I-AA polls, which began on Sept. 6. Penn entered polls with a preseason ranking of 25, and have moved up 10 slots in six weeks.

Penn improved to 4-0 for the second time in three seasons as it used an unfamiliar game plan in the pass-happy Ivy League to dispatch Bucknell, 14-13, at Franklin Field on Oct. 11. The Quakers did their damage on the ground instead of the air against the Bison, rushing for over 200 yards for the first time in 18 games and finishing with 224 rushing yards on 45 attempts.

Whether Bucknell's Ryan Korn needed it or not, Al Bagnoli gave the Bison's first-year field goal kicker some extra time to think about things with the game on the line last week at Franklin Field. Penn's head coach called consecutive timeouts with 20 seconds remaining and the Quakers protecting a one-point lead as Korn readied to kick a potential game-winning 39-yard field goal. When play resumed, Korn's attempt was dead-on, but fell short short of the goalposts as the Red and Blue won for the 16th-straight time at home.

Pittsburgh products Ric San Doval and Sam Mathews were honored by the Ivy League as the duo were named to the Ivy League's weekly Honor Roll after their performances in Penn's win last Saturday over Bucknell. San Doval led both teams with a career-high 14 tackles and a forced fumble, while Mathews scored both of the Quakers' touchdowns while rushing for over a 100 yards for the second time in three games.

It only seemed as if junior linebacker Ric San Doval was in on every tackle against the Bison last Saturday as the Allison Park, Pa. native recorded a game and career-high 14 stops, including seven solo tackles. Among San Doval's big hits on the day was stopping Bucknell's Raphael Darrington two yards shy of a first down on third down at midfield.