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Press Conference Quotes
PHILADELPHIA - ESPNU will televise the historic 100th meeting between two of the biggest rivals in the Ivy LeaguePenn and Princeton. The Friday night affair is a must win for either team to stay in contention for an Ivy title. Penn has lost just one game in the 11-year history of Princeton Stadium.
Penn has seen its best success against its long-time rival in the last decade. Penn has won 10 of the last 12 meetings and six of the last seven on the other side of the New Jersey border. Overall ,though, the Tigers hold the advantage in the series 63-35-1. However, if you take away the first 28 meetings from the 19th centuryall won by Princetonthe series would be dead locked at 35 wins apiece.
Friday Night Lights
This week’s Friday night matchup with the Princeton Tigers will be the first Friday game the Quakers have played in head coach Al Bagnoli’s 17-year career. Penn has played one mid-week game in that span, falling to Villanova on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2002 by a score of 17-3. Penn last played on Friday night on Sept. 30, 1983 against Columbia at the Meadowlands. Penn won 35-10.
In the Rankings
Despite allowing 34 points and more than 300 yards to the high-powered Brown offense, Penn’s defense still ranks in the top 10 nationally in four categories. The Quakers are third in pass efficiency defense and total defense, fifth in pass defense and sixth in scoring defense. It has been a total team effort as no Quaker ranks within the top five in the FCS in any individual category. Penn is first in the Ivy League in total defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense.
Brown’s touchdown in the final minute of the first half was the first passing touchdown allowed by the Penn defense in eight quarters. Columbia went the entire second half without a passing touchdown, and Yale was held the entire game without one.
Penn’s defense was facing a tough challenge against the Brown offense, and the situations they faced only accentuated the problem. Brown started two drives inside the Penn 30-yard line and the Bears’ longest scoring drive of the game was just 57 yards. Overall this season, eight of the opposition’s 18 scoring drives have required them to travel less than 30 yards. No defense in the Ivy League has given up fewer first downs or held opponents to lower third and fourth-down conversion rates than the Quakers.
It may seem as if the Quakers have had trouble offensively this season, but consider the defenses they have been subjected to. Yale is officially the toughest team to score on with the best scoring defense in the nation, while Lafayette is directly behind them at No. 2 in the country.
One of the reasons the Quakers defense has been so successful is that the offense has been able to keep them off the field. On average, Penn holds the ball longer than any other team in the Ivy League at 31:34 per game. The problem has been getting inside the 20. When Penn’s offense does come close to paydirt they have been highly successful, converting at an 85-percent clip in the red zone, good for second among the Ancient Eight.
Red Zone Battles
The only team better at scoring in the red zone at this point is Princeton. The Tigers will meet a stiff challenge as the best defensive red zone team is Penn. Princeton has scored on 23 of its 27 chances inside the 20 with only one turnover. Penn’s defense has allowed just nine touchdowns on 17 opportunities in 2008, forcing two turnovers and three turnovers on downs.
Sound in the Kicking Game
Sophomore Andrew Samson has made 13 of his last 14 field goal attempts and is still perfect for his career on PATs. Samsonwho leads the Ivy League in field goals made, field goal percentage and PAT percentagehas single-handedly outscored the Penn opponent in three games this season.
Samson in the Record Books
Samson has entered the Penn record books. He is currently fifth all-time with 13 made field goals this season. He needs just two more to tie the single-season school record. The record of 15 has been accomplished three other times in the program’s 131-year history.
Following the rivalry game with the Tigers, Penn returns home for Senior Day against Harvard on Nov. 15. The game will be broadcast on regional cable network CN8 with kickoff from Franklin Field scheduled for noon. Penn’s season finale will be a week later with the longest road trip of the season. The Quakers visit Cornell on Nov. 22.
Alumni Gather in Support
Before the game at Princeton, Penn Alumni have a place to gather at the Alumni Tailgate. The tailgate party will begin at 5pm and will have hoagies, hot soup, beverages and beer and wine. Click here or call or email Athletics Coordinator Don Snyder, C'06 at 215.746.0020 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.