PHILADELPHIA - With wins in each of the last two weeks, Penn will look to continue its winning ways as it begins the stretch run for the Ivy title on Saturday against Columbia at 1 p.m.. All six of Penn’s final six games are against Ivy opponents.
Catching the Game
Penn fans can hear the game on WFIL 550 AM in the Philadelphia radio area or the game can be heard nationally on SIRIUS radio or www.PennAthletics.com.
Penn has had its share of success in recent years against the Lions. The Quakers have won the last 11 games and lead the overall series 65-21-1. Columbia last defeated Penn on this field in 1996 when they escaped with a 20-19 victory. It is the only time Penn has lost to Columbia at Franklin Field under head coach Al Bagnoli and the only time since 1976. Overall, Penn has won 39 of the 43 games played at this stadium.
Last Time Out
Junior Chris Wynn returned the opening kickoff 88 yards and freshman Matt Hamscher ran for 102 yards and a touchdown as the Quakers defeated Georgetown, 27-7 at Multi-Sport Field on Saturday. Penn supporters overflowed the seating in their half of the stadium and the Quaker faithful were on their feet early. Wynn’s opening score marked the second kickoff return touchdown of his career and the first for the Quakers since Tyler Fisher went 96 yards against Columbia on Oct. 13 of last season. Hamscher ran in from two yards out for his first career score to give the Quakers a 17-0 lead two minutes into the second quarter. Penn’s final score came after Tony Moses came down with his first career interception deep in Georgetown territory and Luke DeLuca came away with his first career touchdown. The two-yard run was the third play of the drive 13-yard drive and gave Penn a 27-0 lead with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Georgetown was held to 61 passing yards.
Penn will take a trip to Connecticut to meet Yale on Oct. 25 starting at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on the YES Network. A week later, Penn hosts the Brown Bears on Homecoming at Franklin Field. That game will also be televised nationally on the Versus network with kickoff slated at noon.
Penn head coach Al Bagnoli is undoubtedly one of the greatest coaches in Ancient Eight history. With a win against the Lions, he would become just the fourth coach in Ivy League history to win 80 league games. In 113 games vs. Ivy opponents, Bagnoli’s Quakers have won 79 of them. That amounts to a winning percentage of nearly .700third all-time, but the rest of the coaches on that short list saw no more than 84 Ivy games.
Home Conference Success
Bagnoli’s home numbers against League opponents are even more astounding. Since he took over in 1992, Penn is 47-10 at home against its Ivy rivals. That is a winning percentage of .825.
Sound in the Kicking Game
Many have complained about the kicking woes that have surrounded Penn’s recent history, however, this has yet to be seen in 2008. Sophomore Andrew Samson has made each of his last six field goal attempts and is still perfect for his career on PATs. Samson, who leads the Ivy League in field goals made, field goal percentage and PAT percentage, has single-handedly outscored the Penn opponent in each of the last two weeks.
Coach Bagnoli gave his team this moniker last week because of its first half offensive struggles, but since those were alleviated last week, the nickname could now stick to the Quakers’ defensive success in the second half. Penn has allowed just one touchdown all year in the second half as the Quakers have outscored the opposition 43-10 after halftime this season.
30-Minute Wonders may be misleading as it has not just been the second half in which the Penn defense has excelled. Overall, Penn is sixth in the country in total defense, allowing just over 257 yards per game. The defensive 11 are also sixth in the nation in scoring defenseholding opponents under an average of 16 points. Penn’s pass defense is also tops in the Ivy League with a pass efficiency defense ranked seventh in the FCS and its total pass defense ranked ninth.
Chris Wynn Defense
Chris Wynn and the Penn secondary have had a lot to do with the team’s current defensive success. Despite the Hoyas avoidance of Wynn, the junior still ranks first in the nation in passes defended and first in the Ivy League in INTs. His three interceptions rank him fifth in the nation in INTs/game. His eight passes defended (three INT, five breakups) are tops in the country with an average of two per game.
Red Zone Pros
Penn has excelled on both sides of the ball in the red zone. The offense is second in the Ivy League, scoring on 12 of their 14 chances (85.7%). Penn is one of only two Ivies to have not turned the ball over in the red zone. The defense has nearly topped that effort, holding opponents without a score inside the 20-yard line nearly 50% of the timegood for first in the League. On 11 opportunities, Penn opponents have managed just four touchdowns and have turned it over twice.