By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It should be a lot of fun at Franklin Field on Saturday when one of college football’s great rivalries continues, as the Penn Quakers host the Princeton Tigers.
“It’s obviously one of the games that you mark on your schedule,” Penn head coach Al Bagnoli tells KYW Newsradio. “In addition to it being Penn/Princeton, it’s also Homecoming. It also has some long-term, title implications on it. So there is a lot riding on it. It’s a great rivalry that goes back an awful long ways. And I think it’s two teams that respect each other, but also understand how important it is to try and win the game.”
Penn is 4-3 on the season and coming off its first Ivy League loss in four tries. Last weekend the Quakers were shutout up in Providence, Rhode Island, losing at Brown, 27-0.
“We got behind early,” Bagnoli says. “First play of the game was a (93-yard) touchdown run off of almost a broken play. We just kind of got jolted early and we were never able to recover. We’re just not designed to be the type of team that can overcome big deficits. They forced us out of our game plan and forced us to throw the ball too much, and as a result we were never able to generate any type of momentum.”
Penn played without quarterback Billy Ragone for a second straight game in the loss to Brown. Fellow fifth-year senior Ryan Becker handled things under center.
Bagnoli says Ragone continues to work his way back from an ankle injury.
“He practiced on Tuesday,” Bagnoli says. “We’ll kind of see how he feels throughout the week, as his ankle has a couple of hours of trauma on it, to see if it holds up. If he’s feeling better and he thinks he can run around and create some plays with his feet and his arm, then we’ll look to play him this weekend.”
Princeton is in the midst of a wonderful season. The Tigers are 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the Ivy league and they are the only team that controls its own destiny with regards to winning the Ancient 8. The thing about them that jumps out at you is their offense. They have scored at least 28 points in every game this season and four times have gone over 50.
“They’ve got great balance and then schematically they do a great job,” Bagnoli says. “They are in that Oregon, up-tempo (offense), so they’re going to run a ton of plays. They average a little over 90 plays a game, and they’ve got great balance. So they can run the ball well, they can run the ball with the quarterback well, and they can spread you out with some pretty good skill kids and they’ve been throwing the ball great.”
Penn has dominated this series as of late, winning the last six match-ups. Princeton leads the all-time series however, 63-40-1.
Saturday’s game will kick-off at noon.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.