Thursday Night Football: Quakers Take on Villanova

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PHILADELPHIA -Thursday Night Football features the 2015 edition of the Schuylkill Showdown. Philadelphia foes Penn and Villanova face off in a game that was moved due to the Pope’s impending visit to the City of Brotherly Love this week. Kickoff from Villanova Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

The Penn-Villanova Series—20th Meeting
These two Philadelphia foes have met in each of the last 11 seasons and 12 of the past 13. Prior to that, the Quakers won the first five matchups between 1905-11 by a combined score of 113-12, and the teams only met twice between 1912-2000. But the Wildcats have turned the tables in the new century with 14 straight wins over the Quakers. Penn has lost on the last possession four times over the last decade, but Villanova, who has been ranked in six of the last eight matchups, has won the last three games by a combined score of 100-21. Penn’s last win over the Wildcats came on Oct. 14, 1911.

The last time Penn beat Villanova...
... the cost of a stamp was two cents, a loaf of bread was a nickel, and a gallon of milk averaged 34 cents. A car could be purchased for $500
... the Titanic and Fenway Park were under construction
... Franklin Field was already 16. And no other current stadium had been built
... the first Indy 500 was run
... William Howard Taft was President and Ronald Reagan was born

Two Games in Five Days
Penn was one of the last Division I teams to play, but will be quick to catch up. The team’s first two games will take place within five days. The matchup with Villanova was moved to Thursday, Sept. 24. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, but with the Pope’s impending visit the City of Brotherly Love, an estimated 1.5 to 2 million visitors are expected in Philadelphia and city-wide restrictions led to the change. It will be Penn’s first Thursday night game since the sixth-ranked Wildcats held off the 23rd-ranked and eventual Ivy League champion Quakers, 17-3, on Oct. 10, 2002.

Penn Against Ranked Teams
Villanova enters the game ranked No. 6 in the Top 25 Media Poll and No. 5 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Overall, Penn is 5-18 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2000, including four straight losses. The Red and Blue’s last win over a ranked opponent came in the 2012 home finale against No. 25 Harvard, 30-21. That Ivy title-clinching win snapped a seven-game losing streak to Top 25 opposition.

Watch For Watson
Sophomore Justin Watson has had multiple receptions in all 11 games of his career. Last week, he added a career-high 10 catches and a career-best 143 receiving yards, in addition to a career-long 74-yard touchdown reception. Last season, he set the school freshman records for receptions (36) and receiving yards (420).

Torgersen Trends
Junior quarterback Alek Torgersen has a touchdown pass in 11 of his 12 career games, including nine straight and all eight Ivy League games he has played ... He has thrown for 200+ yards and 1+ touchdowns in nine straight games, including five 300-yard passing performances in that span ... He has passed for 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions in his eight Ivy League games.

Milestones
After just one full season as a starter, Torgersen has already found himself among some of Penn’s all-time greats in the school record book. Last week, he became the 12th quarterback in school history to reach 3,000 career passing yards, and also became the 12th player in Penn history to surpass 3,000 total yards of offense.

Captain Vhito
If you haven't seen it yet, here is Vhito's Story. Penn's four-year-old captain and inspiration.

A Penn Win Would…
… break a 104-year drought against Villanova.
... be the first under head coach Ray Priore.
... be the first over a ranked opponent since 2012.
... improve the Quakers to 1-1 on the year.

A Penn Loss Would…
... be the 15th straight to Villanova.
... make the Quakers 0-2 to start the season for the second straight year
... mark the fifth straight to a ranked opponent.
... be less good than a win.

Last Time Out
- Several underclassmen shined in the season opener on Saturday, but Lehigh was too much to overcome on the road as the Mountain Hawks pulled away and topped the Quakers, 42-21, in Ray Priore’s head coaching debut for the Red and Blue.
- Offensively, a pair of sophomores -- Justin Watson and Tre Solomon -- totaled more than half of the team’s 476 total yards, freshman Christian Pearson hauled in a long touchdown pass, and junior quarterback Alek Torgersen racked up another 300-yard passing performance.
- Meanwhile, defensively, sophomore transfer Colton Moskal and first-time sophomore starter Ephraim Lee combined for 19 tackles, while freshman Mason Williams logged the only sack of the day, and another freshman Nick Miller corralled an interception for the unit’s only turnover.
- Penn tied the game at 7-7 on the first play of the second quarter, but Lehigh led 21-7 at the half, and 28-7 in the third quarter. Penn go within 28-14 after a 74-yard touchdown pass to Watson, but Lehigh scored the next two touchdown for a commanding 42-14 lead.

Up Next
A well-earned 10-day break awaits the Quakers after two games in five days. When the Red and Blue return to action they will welcome Ivy rival Dartmouth to Franklin Field in Penn’s first home game under head coach Ray Priore. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

#FightOnPenn

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