Ivy League Release
PHILADELPHIA - Sophomore quarterback Billy Ragone of the University of Pennsylvania football team was named as one of four finalists for the Asa A. Bushnell Cup, awarded annually to the top football player in the Ivy League. Dartmouth junior tailback Nick Schwieger, Harvard senior running back Gino Gordon and Princeton senior wide receiver Trey Peacock were announced by the league office on Tuesday as the other finalists for the award.
The winner of the 2010 Asa A. Bushnell Cup will be unveiled at a special reception and press conference in the Hilton Room of the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at 11:30 a.m. on Monday as part of the festivities surrounding the 53rd National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. George Pyne, former Brown football standout, current NFF Board Member and president of IMG Worldwide's Sports & Entertainment Group, will serve as emcee of the presentation. The winner will be joined by his head coach, Pyne and Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris for the announcement. Others in attendance will include representatives of the media, members of the NFF Board and notable Ivy League alumni and dignitaries.
A first-team All-Ivy selection, Ragone led No. 13/14 Penn (9-1, 7-0 Ivy) to its second straight undefeated Ivy League title in 2010. In just nine games, he ran for more than 500 yards, threw for more than 800 and had 13 touchdowns. The quarterback finished fifth in the Ivy League in rushing—the highest finish for a Quakers quarterback in Head Coach Al Bagnoli’s 19-year tenure. When throwing the ball, Ragone was third in the league in passing efficiency and completed 57 percent of his passes. He hardly ever threw an interception and was seldom sacked. In 123 pass attempts, he was intercepted just five times (just once every 24.6 attempts) and in 223 career dropbacks, he has been sacked just four times (just once every 55.8 dropbacks).
Behind Ragone, Penn finished sixth in the nation in rushing offense and was fourth in the FCS in fewest sacks allowed. Penn also led the league in scoring offense, total offense, first downs, red zone offense and third-down conversions. A two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week award winner, Ragone ran for three touchdowns, passed for another and had the game-winning score in overtime to knock of Dartmouth on Oct. 2. He also had multi-touchdown performances on two other occasions—in the biggest blowout win for the Quakers in the 102-game history of the Penn-Princeton series and against Harvard with the Ivy title on the line.
Ragone and the Quakers lost just one game in 2010—a game in which Penn led late in the fourth quarter on the road against the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Penn then won eight straight games (by an average of 19.0 points) and currently owns the third-longest winning streak and the longest-active conference winning streak (15 games) in the FCS.
Former Penn linebacker Jake Lewko shared Co-Ivy League MVP honors last season with Brown's Buddy Farnham. They were the first duo to split the MVP recognition since 1970 - the first year it was given. Lewko was the eighth Quaker to win the award. The last Penn quarterback to win was Mike Mitchell in 2003 and the last school to have two straight Asa A. Bushnell Cup winners was Harvard when Carl Morris won in 2001 and 2002.
Presented annually since 1970, the Asa S. Bushnell Cup honors its namesake, a 1921 Princeton alumnus and the commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference from 1938 to 1970. The Bushnell Cup is presented by the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials and is awarded by a vote of the Ivy League's eight head football coaches to the player who displays outstanding qualities of leadership, competitive spirit, contribution to the team, and accomplishments on the field.