Penn (1-0) vs. Villanova (0-3)
Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006 - 7 p.m.
Franklin Field - Philadelphia, Pa.
Radio: WFIL 560 AM / PennAthletics.com
Game Notes (PDF format)
Penn opens its home slate at Franklin Field against cross-city rival Villanova. The Quakers are hunting for their first win over the Wildcats since 1911 after knocking off No. 22 Lafayette, 21-11, last week.
On the Radio
Thanks to a new deal inked during the offseason, all 10 Penn football games will be heard on either WNTP 990 AM or sister station WFIL 560 AM this season. Every game will also be streamed live at PennAthletics.com. Matt Leon (play-by-play) and Hench Murray (color analyst) return for their fourth season together in the booth. This season also marks Murray's 26th providing color commentary for Quaker broadcasts. Brian Seltzer returns for his third season as the crew's sideline reporter. The pre-game show begins approximately 30 minutes before kickoff. Penn offensive coordinator Shawn Halloran will be Leon’s halftime guest this week.
Thegame is the second of six on television for the Quakers this year and the first of four on CN8. Three more will be on CN8 (Yale, Princeton and Harvard), and the Homecoming game with Brown will be televised nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV).
Head Coach Al Bagnoli got his 100th win with the Quakers last week. Bagnoli, who stands at 100-39 with Penn, is 24 wins behind the legendary George Woodruff for first all-time at Penn. He is also the second-winngest active coach in Division I-AA with a .719 winning percentage - only Dayton’s Mike Kelly (.830) is better.
Derailing the Leopards
Penn opened the season last weekend with a convincing 21-11 win over No. 22 Lafayette in Easton. Several new faces and a few familiar ones stepped up with big performances. Sophomore quarterback Robert Irvin had a spectacular career debut, completing his first 11 passes en route to a 17-of-27 performance with a rushing touchdown. Junior wideout Dan Coleman, also starting his first game, was Irvin’s preferred target, grabbing five catches for 85 yards, all in the first half. But it was returning running back Joe Sandberg who carried the Quakers when they needed it, racking up 166 yards and two touchdowns. The defensive front seven had a sharp game as well, pressuring Lafayette quarterback Brad Maurer and generating four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. The defense held the Leopards to 131 yards rushing, as well.
Searching For a Win
Despite Penn’s success over the past decade and a half, the Quakers have not beaten Villanova in the modern era. The rivalry began in 1905, and Penn won the first five games through 1911. The two sides renewed the series in 1980, with the Wildcats winning, 34-3, and it has been all Villanova since. Head Coach Al Bagnoli is 0-4 against the Wildcats, who came back to beat Penn in a heartbreaking 28-24 decision last season at Franklin Field.
With the win over Lafayette, Penn has won its last six season openers, spanning back to a 37-0 shutout of Lafayette at Fisher Field on Sept. 21, 2001. The Quakers have dominated their first opponent in each of those five games, winning by a combined 263-74. All-time, Penn is an impressive 101-29-1 in season openers and 11-4 under Bagnoli.
Penn has also been solid in home openers of late, winning six of its last seven dating back to 1999. The only blemish on that record was the 2004 loss to Villanova, 16-13.
If it seems like Penn and Villanova have played an inordinate amount of games at Franklin Field in the last three years, it isn’t your imagination. While Penn was the home team in 2004 and will be tonight, the two teams also faced off at Franklin Field in 2005, but Villanova served as the home team.
Your Attendance Please
Last year’s primetime Penn-Villanova game drew 23,257 fans to Franklin Field. It was the second-highest attendance for a college football game in any division in Philadelphia in 2005 - only the annual Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field drew more.
Seniors Sean Estrada (OL) and Scotty Williams (DB) have been selected by their teammates as Penn’s captains for the 2006 season. Both are returning starters and 2005 All-Ivy Honorable Mention selections.
Sandberg Named Ivy Co-Offensive Player of the Week
The Lafayette game proved to be a career one for Joe Sandberg. The senior running back broke out for career highs in carries (24), yards (166), touchdowns (2) and longest rush (36 yards, which was also a touchdown). Sandberg scored the critical game-clinching touchdown with 5:39 left in the game to give Penn a 21-11 victory. As a result, Sandberg was named the Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Week (along with Harvard’s Clifton Dawson) on Monday.
Irvin’s Big Debut...
Any concern about Robert Irvin’s lack of game experience was put to rest last week as the sophomore started his career red-hot. Irvin completed his first 11 passes for 108 yards en route to completing 17-of-27 throws for 182 yards to go with a rushing touchdown. Irvin spread things out, hitting five different targets and going long several times, including three 24-yard throws to Dan Coleman.
... And Coleman’s, Too
Junior wide receiver Dan Coleman, like Irvin, was playing in his collegiate game and didn’t waste time making an impression. The Philadelphia native caught five passes for 85 yards - all in the first half - including three 24-yard snags.
Williams’ Career Day
Senior safety and co-captain Scotty Williams had a career afternoon at Lafayette, making a career-high 11 tackles including two tackles for a loss and half a sack and blocking a field goal. He also downed an Anthony Melillo punt at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. Williams was named to the Ivy League Honor roll on Monday.
Melillo Pins the Leopards
Junior punter Anthony Melillo showed why he was a second-team All-Ivy selection a year ago, putting four of his six punts inside the 20 at Lafayette. One punt was downed at the 1-yard line and two more went out at the 7. Melillo earned a spot on this week’s Ivy League Honor Roll as a result of his performance.
Other than Sandberg and Irvin, two other Quakers had rushing touches at Lafayette. Kelms Amoo-Achampong, a sophomore, took five carries for 15 yards. Chris Ashley carried four times for seven yards.
Special Teams Change the Game
Special teams play can often be the deciding factor between two evenly-matched teams, and that was very apparent in the Lafayette game. Penn made three big stops on special teams to help preserve the game. The Quakers blocked two close-range field goal attempts - first by Scotty Williams in the third quarter and then by J.J. Stanton with time winding down in the fourth - and also stopped a fake punt play in the fourth quarter. Lafayette snapped the punt to linebacker Justin Stovall, who ran out to his left and made it four yards before Kelms Amoo-Achampong stopped him just a yard shy of a first down, avoiding a potentially game-changing situation
Breaking Down Irvin’s Start
Quarterback Robert Irvin completed the first 11 passes of his career, totaling 108 yards. His targets in that span: Dan Coleman (24 yards, twice, and 7 yards), Matt Carre (7 yards, twice, 6 yards and no gain), Braden Lepisto (11 and 10 yards), Josh Koontz (7 yards), and Chris Mizell (5 yards). Irvin’s first incomplete pass didn’t fall until midway through the second quarter when he overthrew a deep pass to Carre.
The Penn defense put plenty of pressure on Lafayette’s Brad Maurer, dropping him in the pocket four times. Jim Malizia, the Ivy League’s sacks leader in 2005, had 1.5 sacks, while Brian Fairbanks and Naheem Harris each had a solo takedown. Scotty Williams combined with Malizia for a sack. In total, the Penn defense had 8.5 tackles for a loss.
The Wildcats are off to a tough start this season, going 0-3, but playing better than their record would indicate. Villanova opened the season with a 35-16 loss to Division I Central Florida, followed by a heartbreaking 31-28 loss to Lehigh at home. Last week, the Wildcats hung tough with No. 9 UMass but ended up on the wrong end of a 31-21 scoreline.
Wildcat Passing Game
Villanova quarterback Marvin Burroughs has been impressive in three starts this year, completing 50 of 82 passes with two touchdowns and one interception. The senior has thrown for 581 total yards and is averaging 193.7 a game.
Backfield by Committee
While DeQuese May is Villanova’s featured back, and leads the team with 159 yards on 29 attempts this season, several other running backs have seen significant touches. Phil Atkinson (25 ypg) and Aaron Jones (22.3 ypg) have seen plenty of action while Matt Dicken (19 ypg) has three touchdowns on the ground.
Hunting for an Ivy Crown
Penn was selected second in the Ivy League's preseason media poll, behind Harvard and ahead of defending champion Brown. The Quakers picked up 99 votes overall, including a pair of first-place votes, while Harvard had 116 (nine first-place) and Brown 94 (three first-place). The full poll can be found on Page 3 of this week's notes.
New Faces on the Sideline
Four new coaches will assist Bagnoli on the sidelines this year. Offensive coordinator Shawn Halloran moves in from the head spot at Franklin & Marshall to replace Andy Coen, who departed for the top job at Lehigh. Rick Ulrich returns to the Quakers for his second stint as wide receivers coach after offensive coordinator jobs at Georgetown, Trinity and Ursinus. Jon McLaughlin will be the offensive line coach, moving from a graduate assistantship at Iowa. Cornerbacks coach Jon Dupont comes to Penn from a similar position at Trinity.
This season represents several milestone anniversaries for members of the Penn football family. Dan “Coach Lake” Staffieri, the team’s emotional leader on game day who has more Ivy championship rings than fingers, celebrates his 30th season with Penn. Defensive coordinator Ray Priore enters his 20th season, and Penn equipment manager Mark Stewart is in his 20th season as well. Head Coach Al Bagnoli, defensive line coach Jim Schaefer and quarterbacks coach Larry Woods each begin their 15th seasons on the sidelines. The Penn football program itself marks its 130th year in 2006, while the Ivy League celebrates its 50th anniversary.
“Invincible” Makes a Splash
The Disney feature film “Invincible,” about the life of former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, was released this summer and has earned over $48 million at the box office. Much of the film’s game action was shot at Franklin Field, which can be seen in the try-out scenes, and Veteran’s Stadium was digitally recreated based on footage shot at Penn’s historic stadium.
Former Penn quarterback and two-sport star Mark DeRosa is having a breakout season as an infielder with the Texas Rangers. Through the weekend of Sept. 16, DeRosa was batting .309 in 473 at-bats with 72 RBI and 13 home runs. Earlier in the summer, he was named American League Player of the Week on Aug. 14 after hitting .433 with a .900 slugging percentage and 15 RBI in seven games ... Former Penn running back Jim Finn is once again be the New York Giants’ starting fullback this season. Finn had one catch for 11 yards in the Giants’ win over the Eagles last Sunday.
This is the 130th season of Penn football ... While Penn's first season of football was 1876, no intercollegiate team was fielded in 1877 but football has been played every year since ... Penn and Villanova are located just 9 miles apart ... Penn has not been shut out since losing to Harvard, 33-0, on Nov. 15, 1997, a span of 80 games ... The Penn football offices were renovated over the summer and will be dedicated in honor of Jack LeFort, Sr., W’48 prior to the Dartmouth game on Sept. 30 ... Part of the renovation includes display areas commemorating Penn’s football history.
Next Time Out
Penn opens its Ivy slate when it hosts Dartmouth for a 1 p.m. start. The Quakers are riding an 8-game winning streak over the Big Green.
Download: Game 2 notes - Villanova.pdf