PHILADELPHIA Sprint football action returns to Franklin Field on Friday night as Penn hosts Princeton at 7 p.m. Both teams enter the game with 0-1 records, each losing to defending Collegiate Sprint Football League champions Cornell.
The Quakers have had two weeks to think about what might have been against the Big Red. Penn led at the half against Cornell and came back to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Trailing by a touchdown with three minutes remaining in the game, Penn blocked a punt into the endzone, but could not recover, ultimately settling for a safety instead of the touchdown that would have tied the game.
Head coach Bill Wagner hopes that the players remember how close they were and what it felt like to come up short. “It was disappointing to lose at Cornell,” Wagner said, “We had opportunities to win the game. This week, we need to make those plays.”
The Quakers are coming off a bye last week, which Wagner feels came at an opportune time.
“We have had two extremely physical games in the Cornell game and our Alumni Game,” he said, “The players were a little banged up and have had time to heal. The bye has also allowed us to make some adjustments to our game. We have tried some new things in practice and this has given some of our younger players a chance to step up and earn some playing time.”
Lining up opposite the Quakers on Friday will be a Princeton team that is coming off a winless 2006 season, including two losses to Penn. The Tigers love to air it out, and threw the ball 59 times in last week’s loss to Cornell. Alex Kandabarow is a threat to throw the ball every down and can spark big plays, as evidenced by last week’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Lon Johnson. Kandabarow can also play defense as well. He recorded an interception last week in the defensive backfield.
Wagner knows how difficult an opponent Princeton is.
“They were very competitive last week against a tough Cornell team,” he said, “Princeton is always a challenge for us. They throw a lot and have a very good offense. I expect a physical game and know that they will be prepared to play.”
The Quakers are not without their own offensive weapons. Mike D’Angelo is a dual-threat quarterback who keeps opposing defenses guessing on every snap. Two weeks ago against Cornell, D’Angelo completed eight passes for 85 yards and topped that output on the ground, rushing 17 times for 99 yards. Twice he sprung free for long carries of 32 and 26 yards. Both times, he was rewarded with a touchdown.
Rob Lombardi is the lead tailback for Penn. He led all rushers in the Cornell game with 135 yards on 27 carries.
Defensively, Penn is led by Andrew Feigenbaum, whose 11-tackle (eight solo) performance against Cornell was good enough to earn Player of the Week recognition. Andrew Migdail anchors the defensive line and Mike McMullen leads the linebacker corps.
Penn holds a 48-41-2 advantage in the series with the Tigers, including 22 straight wins dating back to 1996.