PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While most college football teams are getting ready for their third game of the 2011 campaign, Ivy League squads have yet to take the field.

That will all change on Saturday.  Two-time defending league champ Penn will start its season at Franklin Field, hosting Lafayette out of the Patriot League.

The Leopards come into this game with an 0-2 mark.  They lost, 42-6, on the road at nationally ranked North Dakota State two weeks ago, and then dropped a heartbreaker, 14-13, at Georgetown this past Saturday.

Quakers head coach Al Bagnoli says that despite the rough start, Lafayette is tough — especially when the other team has the ball.

“I think for them it starts on defense.  They played very well on defense in both games,” Bagnoli notes.  “They held North Dakota State to 14 points in the first half, and the second touchdown wasn’t scored until three or four seconds left until halftime.  They’ve been a very, very good defensive team, and I think they are going to cause problems for everybody, ourselves included.  Schematically, they move fronts, they blitz people, they change gaps — that’s where I think their strength is.”

As for his Quakers, Bagnoli talks about keys to success in a season opener:

“First game has that great unknown: how well can you protect the ball?  If you just look at the national landscape… Notre Dame, five turnovers in the first week for example.   And I think that is always your biggest scare.   You have to be able to protect the ball, and you have the have your young guys come to age real quickly.  It can’t take three quarters for your kids to figure it out who haven’t played before.  So, hopefully, it will take a couple plays, they’ll get use to game speed, they’ll be prepared, and then you can go out and execute.”

Listen to Matt Leon’s full interview with Al Bagnoli in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

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Penn brings an eight-game winning streak into this game, which kicks off at 6:00pm on Saturday night.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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