PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The University of Pennsylvania football team will play its first road game of the season on Saturday afternoon as the Quakers visit Lehigh.
Penn opened the 2017 campaign this past weekend with a win, beating Division II Ohio Dominican at Franklin Field, 42-24. The Quakers actually trailed 10-7 at halftime before blowing the game open with 35 second-half points.
“It was a good opening game for our players,” Penn head coach Ray Priore tells KYW Newsradio. “First starts for our quarterback and a lot of the players on the field. Second half was a really good test of who we can be moving forward.”
The quarterback who made his first start was senior Will Fischer-Colbrie. After an up and down first half, Fischer-Colbrie settled in during the second half and finished 18 of 29 throwing the football for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one interception.
The Quakers ran for 302 yards against the Panthers, despite losing starting tailback Tre Solomon to an ankle injury early on. Sophomore Karekin Brooks led the way in Solomon’s absence with 142 yards and two touchdowns on just ten carries. One of the scores was an electrifying 64-yard jaunt through the Ohio Dominican defense. Priore was impressed with how the backs all stepped up.
“They stayed very focused and ran the ball well,” he says. “[Sophomore] Abe Willows (10 carries, 73 yards) and [freshman] Isaiah Malcolme (3 carries, 49 yards) as well. So we have depth at the position, which is really good to see. So we can go to running back two, three and four and really not lose a beat.”
Priore says Solomon is questionable for the game with the Mountain Hawks.
The Lehigh team that Penn will visit on Saturday has struggled so far here in 2017. The Mountain Hawks, coached by former Penn offensive coordinator Andy Coen, are off to an uncharacteristic 0-3 start. Last week they lost to another Ivy League squad, Yale, 56-28.
“They are probably not where they feel they should be on the defensive side of the ball,” Priore says. “Coach Coen will work hard and make those adjustments. On offense, they have weapons, quarterback, receivers, their tailback has been out the last game and a half, so that does not help you moving forward. But it’s always a battle, good football program. Trust me, they’ll be someone to be reckoned with in the Patriot League by the end of the season.”
Last year these two teams met at Franklin Field with Lehigh picking up a 49-28 win.
Saturday’s game in Bethlehem gets underway at 12:30pm.