Penn football out for vengenace against the Bulldogs
With brothers facing off, this matchup between Penn and Yale is personal
October 24, 2013, 4:00 pm · Updated October 24, 2013, 8:35 pm·
Ellen Frierson | DP
When Penn sophomore defensive end Tyler Drake takes the field on Saturday at Franklin Field to face Yale, his parents won’t be rooting for the Quakers.
Nor will they side with the Elis, despite their other son Dylan, a senior, serving as one of the main cogs on Yale’s defensive line.
With both of their boys playing defensive side of the ball, all that’s really left to root for is a low-scoring affair.
“My parents are making a bigger deal out of this than me and Tyler are,” Dylan said. “They’re probably rooting for a defensive slugfest.”
It is understandable that the brothers’ parents are having difficulties determining their rooting interests, since this will be the first time the brothers will ever go head-to-head in football.
Dylan has played varsity at Yale (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) for the last two seasons, leading the team in sacks with six in 2012. While Tyler received playing time as a freshman for Penn (3-2, 2-0), he wasn’t active for the Yale game last year.
Even in high school, both Dylan and Tyler attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
Making it even easier for their parents, after Dylan graduated, Tyler took his number, 87.
“He had said in passing that he would keep it, keep it in the family, but I didn’t really ask him to do it,” Dylan said. “And he called me one day and said he had went into the coach’s office and asked to keep 87, and I was really taken aback.
“It meant a lot to me because it meant that he looked up to me.”
“It was an honor to wear his number,” Tyler said.
Taking after his brother, Tyler has thrived as a member of Penn’s D-line rotation, picking up seven tackles and two sacks on the year.
After a fantastic performance against Columbia, Penn’s defense will need to be on its toes this week, as Yale’s up-tempo option offense will call for the front seven to stick with their respective assignments.
“They have a lot of good skill players,” Tyler said. “They have a great running back and a great quarterback.”
“There are going to be a few more obstacles this week,” coach Al Bagnoli said. “But hopefully we’re able to carry forth.
Penn has seen option offenses twice this year in games against Villanova and Dartmouth. Both times, the Quakers’ defense did not hold up well as the Wildcats and Big Green gashed them for 280 and 242 yards rushing respectively.
While those numbers aren’t as foreboding as they may seem, as Yale’s offense isn’t as strong as either of those teams’ attacks, Penn will need to shut down the big play.
Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams and Villanova quarterback John Robertson each gouged the Quakers for big gains on different occasions.
Bagnoli has had his team working on battling those types of offenses from the preseason.
“We need to get organized,” Bagnoli said. “We need to get set in a timely manner and we need to communicate.”
Even if the Quakers’ defense holds up, Penn will still need the offense to run a little more smoothly than it did last week.
Fifth-year senior Billy Ragone is questionable, so it may be classmate Ryan Becker at the helm instead.
But if senior Conner Scott returns at wideout, then the Red and Blue’s job on offense will be made easier.
“Every offense has a go-to guy,” Bagnoli said. “And he’s been our go-to guy.”
Scott is currently probable for the game. He participated in practice on Wednesday, wearing a no-contact jersey.
For Tyler and Dylan, it will be the first time going up against one another since growing up playing one-on-one tackle football.
Back then, Dylan always had the upper hand, having two years on Tyler.
Whether his team will have the advantage on Saturday is to be determined.