By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After two straight weeks on the road, the Penn Quakers will return to Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon as they welcome the Yale Bulldogs to town in Ivy League action.
Penn is 3-2 and a perfect 2-0 in the Ancient 8 after smothering Columbia last weekend, 21-7. And when I say smothering, I mean smothering.
“Statistically, it was as dominating a performance as we’ve ever had and probably ever will have,” Penn head coach Al Bagnoli tells KYW Newsradio. “We held them to four first downs for the entire game and we held them to (118) yards of total offense. And I think one of the reasons, we not only played good defense – they were 0 for 13 on 3rd down – but we played pretty good offense. We ran 91 plays and dominated time of possession and we were well over 50% on 3rd down conversions on the offensive side. It was really like the perfect storm.”
In the Columbia game, quarterback Billy Ragone suffered an ankle injury, but not before setting a Penn record with his 55th career touchdown (20 rush, 35 pass). The injury clouds his status for Saturday, but the Quakers do have some real depth under center.
“We’re very fortunate,” Bagnoli says. “Ryan Becker has had all kinds of snaps and we have the real luxury of having two fifth-year seniors play quarterback, which obviously is a huge bonus for us. So we have lot of confidence in Ryan, we’re not really radically changing anything that we’re doing as we prepare and we’ll see how this thing unfolds.”
Yale is 3-2 on the season and they have split their two Ivy League games. Last weekend, they lost to nationally ranked Fordham, 52-31.
“On offense they are very explosive and very balanced,” Bagnoli says. “So they’ve got one of those throw for 200 (yards), run for 200 (yards), not sure what exactly you’re trying to defend and they have you spread out all over the place. Defensively, they are playing with a lot of youth, playing with a lot of energy. They’ve managed to get ahead in most of the games, so they’re able to pin their ears back and get after people.”
Last season Yale handed the Quakers their only Ivy league loss, grabbing a 27-13 decision in New Haven, Connecticut, and Bagnoli expects the Bulldogs to give his team all they can handle in this match-up.
“I think it’s a football team on the rise,” Bagnoli says. “I think it’s a football team that has a lot of good players, even though some of them are young. I think we’re going to be challenged and potentially it’s going to be as good an Ivy football team as we’ve seen all year.”
Penn and Yale will kick-off at 1:00pm on Saturday at Franklin Field.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.