On a lighthearted Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field, the Penn sprint football team received a serious wake-up call.
Playing against their former teammates in the annual Alumni Game, the Red and Blue were dealt a 20-0 shutout loss.
Familiar faces shined for the alumni, who played as if they had never stepped foot off campus.
2011 grad Mike Bagnoli had a stellar day in the backfield, rushing for 64 yards and a score, though it seemed like far more.
Defensively, the alumni defense harassed and harried new quarterback Nick Longtin all day long, forcing the sophomore into throwing two costly interceptions, including one in the endzone.
Longtin settled in after a rocky first half, completing 7-of-15 passes in his first game back at quarterback in two years.
“I was trying to stay calm in the first half,” Longtin said. “I was really tensed up, I haven’t played quarterback since high school. I came out in the second half, started to relax a little bit … It helped as much as it could.”
Longtin takes over for all-time passing leader Todd Busler, who was a first-team All-Collegiate Sprint Football League quarterback last season.
There were a few bright spots for the current Quakers on Saturday. Mike Beamish had a solid day on the ground, rushing for 32 yards in the first half before giving way to Joe Raso, while Danny Reyes picked off 2008 grad Mike D’Angelo in the second half.
Beyond that, though, there were few moments to cheer about for the current team. Head coach Bill Wagner recognized the need for his team to improve before they open the season against Cornell on Friday.
“We’re a young team,” Wagner said. “I think we are a good team. We made first-game mistakes and we came up against a group of all-league, young guys … and they took it to us.”
Penn beat Cornell at home last season, 35-28.
Though Saturday’s loss was frustrating for the Red and Blue, the sting of defeat was lessened by the postgame reception that followed, as the players mingled with their former teammates.
As Wagner summed up, the Alumni Game tradition is more than just a scrimmage for the sprint football team.
“It’s a great thing for us,” Wagner said. “You look around, there’s about  to 400 people here … It’s a good cross-section of people talking about their careers and how they got there, and I think that part of it’s very important.”
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