Saelinger Named National and Ivy Defensive Player of the Week

Ivy League Release

The Sports Network Release

PHILADELPHIA - Senior Jon Saelinger was named The Sports Network (TSN) National Co-Defensive Player of the Week as well as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday afternoon. Saelinger's three interceptions were just one shy of the 70-year-old school record as he helped guide the University of Pennsylvania football team to a season-opening 19-14 win over the Leopards at Franklin Field on Saturday.

Penn's defense was ranked the No. 1 overall in the FCS last season and are now ranked No. 1 to start the 2010 season after an impenetrable effort on Saturday. Lafayette was held to eight first downs, 19 rushing yards and just 168 total yards of offense. Penn had four take aways and held the Leopards to an average of 0.7 yards per rush.

Penn currenlty holds the longest active winning streak in the FCS and the fourth-longest in all of Division I, and has not allowed an offensive touchdown in more than nine quarters dating back to last season. Saelinger was a large part of maintaining the 137-minute, 58-second shut out streak as his first interception came in the end zone. At the time, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native's only other career interception had come in the season opener two seasons ago - also in the end zone.

Saelinger's second interception came on the first play after Penn closed the gap to 14-13, giving the Quakers the ball back in Lafayette territory. The offense wasn't able to capitalize at that time, but after Saelinger's third pick at the beginning of the fourth, the offense marched down for the winning touchdown.

Jack Welsh was the last Penn player to intercept four passes in a game, doing so in 1940. That stands as the Ivy League record, but since the start of Ivy League play in 1956, no player has ever recorded more than three interceptions in a single game. In fact, Saelinger is one of just 14 players in Ivy history to have accomplished the feat since the league's inception.

Saelinger, who also added two tackles in the game, currently ranks No. 1 in the nation in interceptions per game (3.0). He split the national weekly honor with Torez Jones of Western Carolina. Jones had a school-record four interceptions to go along with a career-best 12 solo tackles, including his first career sack.

Dartmouth's Nick Schwieger and Yale's Patrick Witt split the Ivy League's offensive honor this week, while Princeton's Patrick Jacob won the season opening special teams honor, and Alex Norocea (Brown) and David Mothander (Harvard) shared Freshman of the Week recognition.

On the national level, Myles Russ of Robert Morris won the offensive award, Jason Cunningham of Montana State won the special teams award and Delaware's Andrew Pierce was the Freshman of the Week.

The last Quaker to earn National Player of the Week honors was in 2008 when Britton Ertman took home the defensive award with two interceptions, a fumble recovery, two pass breakups and six tackles with one tackle for loss in a 15-10 win over Columbia on Oct. 18.

Saelinger and the Quakers head to the Main Line on Saturday to take on No. 1 Villanova. It will mark the first time Penn has ever faced the top-ranked team in the nation since the inception of the FCS rankings in 1978. Kickoff from Villanova Stadium is at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on the Comcast Network, while the Penn radio broadcast can be heard globally on the Penn Sports Network.