PHILADELPHIA – The 2015 University of Pennsylvania sprint football season begins on Saturday, as the Quakers host the Franklin Pierce University Ravens at Franklin Field. Kickoff to the 2015 campaign is set for 12 p.m.
The Quakers return 11 All-CSFL selections from last season, including junior linebacker Chris Colavita and junior offensive lineman Donnie Kneisel. Seniors Brendan Dale and Henry Mason are returning second-team All-CSFL selections on offense, while Patrick Boyle, Robert Diorio, and Stu Helgeson return as second-team All-CSFL selections on the defensive side of the ball.
Quarterback Mike McCurdy was a honorable mention All-CSFL selection last season as a sophomore. Through two seasons under center for the Quakers, he has amassed 2,560 passing yards – third-most all-time by a Quaker. He needs just 134 yards to move into second place and pass Mike Loguidice (2003-06).
McCurdy returns his top five returning receivers from last season, including Henry Mason who had 27 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns. Mario del Cueto, who had 20 receptions for 341 yards and three scores also returns.
Penn will be looking to replace graduated running back Mike Beamish. A four-year mainstay in the backfield for the Quakers, Beamish graduated with 2,494 career rushing yards – third all-time at Penn – and 19 career touchdowns. Beamish also was the primary punter for Penn the last four seasons, leaving another hole to fill. Between rushing and punting, Beamish earned eight All-CSFL honors in his career.
Expect Jack Klaus to get a chance to replace Beamish in the backfield. The freshman had 118 yards on 12 carriers in the annual Alumni Game last week. Among the returning players, Charles Cato has the most experience in the backfield, averaging 4.4 yards-per-carry over his career and earning honorable mention All-CSFL honors last season.
Defensively, Colavita leads the squad in returning tackles with 46 stops last season. Helgeson added 38 tackles, with seven passes broken up.
Penn finished the 2014 season with a 4-3 record, including a 14-7 win over the Ravens in New Hampshire. All-time against FPU, Penn is 2-1. The Red and Blue have won both meetings away from Franklin Field, but picked up the loss in the only contest held in University City.
In 2013, Penn let a 24-13 halftime lead slip away in an eventual 33-27 loss in overtime. The Quakers had a chance to win the game in overtime, but a fumble at the goaline was recovered by the Ravens for a touchback. McCurdy threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns on 23-for-47 passing in the loss.
Andrew Jean is coming off a second-team All-CSFL season at running back for Franklin Pierce, amassing 512 yards on 113 carries and scoring four touchdowns. Quarterback Derek Reddy was honorable mention All-CSFL last year, doing most of his damage on the ground with 329 yards rushing on 61 carries and scoring six touchdowns.