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Roundtable | Did Saturday's win turn around Penn football's outlook?

Penn Football Vs. Columbia

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Penn football finally got its first win of the year on Saturday, taking down lowly Columbia. This weekend, a much greater test awaits in a strong Yale squad. Our editors debate: Does the Columbia game change the outlook for Penn football, or are the Quakers bound to fall to the Elis?

Senior Sports Editor Steven Tydings: Winning always changes things. Look, the Quakers aren’t going to look like world beaters overnight, but the team knows the formula to win now. They need to establish the running game, which should be easier with senior running back Kyle Wilcox back at practice this week and possibly ready to go to the Yale Bowl. Alek Torgersen will need to be just as strong with his decision-making, and the O-line needs to hold up its end of the bargain.

But the defense was the most important change on Saturday. Yes, I know, Columbia. But that defense had floundered for four games and now the D-line looks like it has things together. Senior linebacker Dan Davis is healthy. All of these factors means Penn is a strong competitor to Yale. Favorites? No, but Dartmouth proved these Elis are beatable, even at Yale. Game on.

Sports Editor Ian Wenik: I’m gonna have to be party pooper on this one. Penn’s secondary looked good against Columbia, yes, but I don’t see any reason to be confident in it until it shows up well against a competent quarterback. Yale senior quarterback Morgan Roberts is completing 69.4 percent of his passes this year, a ridiculously efficient clip.

If Penn wants me to believe it has a shot at the Ivy title, it’ll need to have that pass rush show up again in force on Saturday, to make the secondary issue irrelevant. After all, you can’t complete a pass if you’re pile-driven into the Yale Bowl turf. But that pass rush didn’t show up against Dartmouth, and I don’t see it showing up against the Bulldogs, either.

Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: I’m with Ian on this one. Sure, Dartmouth proved the Elis are beatable, but Penn and Dartmouth are far from the same team. And remember how close that one was. If Big Green quarterback Dalyn Williams had made one fewer heroic play in leading Dartmouth back in the fourth quarter, then we’d be talking about a Yale team undefeated in the league and holding a win over Army.

I don’t think a dominant win over lowly Columbia changes much of anything about Penn’s chances against one of the stronger teams in the league. Sure, it was by far the most complete game the Quakers have played all season, but the Lions aren’t a fearsome opponent. I think, if anything, Columbia helped cover up the flaws that doomed the Red and Blue in early games. We’ll see if Yale can expose them the same way that Dartmouth did, but either way Penn’s chances didn’t improve too much after a win that everyone saw coming.



Penn football Alumni Q&A: All-Ivy Quarterback Gavin Hoffman

After transferring from Northwestern, quarterback Gavin Hoffman became one of the best players in Penn football history, winning Ivy League Player of the Year in 2000. 

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As Penn football prepares for some strong competition at the Yale Bowl, we had the chance to speak with the legendary Ivy League quarterback, Penn’s own Gavin Hoffman, about this hectic part of the season. Hoffman broke Penn’s main passing records – those for yards, completions, attempts and touchdowns – after transferring to Penn from Northwestern in 1999. As a freshman at Northwestern, Hoffman started the entire season, including eight games against Big Ten teams.

He transferred to Penn because of a coaching switch at Northwestern but ultimately loved the time he spent at Penn quarterbacking the Quakers.

Daily Pennsylvanian: As Penn football’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, what is that feeling like when you return to Franklin Field and Penn in general?

Gavin Hoffman: [It] makes me miss the place and wish I was still in college!

DP: In what ways do you credit Coach Al Bagnoli with your successes while quarterbacking Penn?

GH: I always respected Coach Bagnoli for his professional approach to managing the team. He played no favorites, you were only judged on results. That atmosphere of accountability is new for lot of young guys coming into college, and I think that environment he fostered explains a lot of his sustained success at Penn.

DP: What was your favorite memory as a part of Penn football?

GH: Coming back to beat Brown after we were down 18 points with 4 minutes left.

DP: With the team in the middle of Ivy play, could you share your thoughts when you were going into these high pressure contests?

GH: I remember thinking that the Ivy League teams were generally equal in talent, so the winner was usually decided by the better prepared team and the one that rose to the occasion on that particular Saturday. Because the margin of victory in the Ivy League is so slim, I really enjoyed the week long process of preparing for the opponent and making sure my play was ready to peak on Saturday. The three hours on Saturday are just the public display of a week long effort.

DP: What about Penn football helped your decision to transfer?

GH: I had started at QB for Northwestern but was no longer having fun playing football. I came to Penn because I wanted to get back to enjoying football and got the sense that everyone was serious about football, but also had fun playing it. I was right.

DP: You’ve spent a lot of time in practice learning from defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Ray Priore. Coach Priore will be taking over Quaker football in 2015. What do you think of Priore as a coach and do you think that the team is in good hands during this transition?

GH: I am very happy for Ray, I don’t think it’s possible to find a better person in football. He has been very loyal to Penn and has produced all-time defenses in the Ivy League. He deserves this spot and will be a great new leader for Penn Football.



Penn Women's Basketball Recruit Roundup: Class of 2019

With the season on the horizon for Penn women’s basketball, it only seems appropriate to take a look ahead at the future of the team. With coach Mike McLaughlin’s prowess for successful recruiting – all four of his classes have produced the Big 5 Rookie of the Year – it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the commits for the Class of 2019 have been strong so far.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five verbal commits.

Kristen Daley (6-foot-0, G, Weston, Ma.) – A standout performer for The Rivers School over the past three years, Kristen Daley comes from a family of basketball players. Daley has earned three All-ISL selections and two All-New England selections through her three years of high school ball. Though she played point guard primarily in high school, the Massachusetts native is projected as more of a wing player at the college level.

Princess Aghayere (6-foot-1, F, Reston, Va.) – The most recent commit in the Class of 2019 (and by far the recruit with the coolest name), Princess Aghayere will add to an already deep stable of post players for the Quakers. While at South Lakes High School, Aghayere has already shown a strong ability to crash the boards. As a junior, she was named to the 2013 Virginia AAA All Northern Region first team.

Jameira Johnson (6-foot-3, F, Tamytown, Md.) – With reigning Ivy League defensive Player of the Year Sydney Stipanovich and highly touted recruit and now-freshman Michelle Nwokedi already with the program, one might figure that recruiting post players would be less of a concern for McLaughlin and co. Yet with Aghayere and Jameira Johnson, the team will find itself with two more forwards capable of dominating the glass. At McDonogh High School, Johnson established herself as a strong inside presence and helped lead her team to a 29-2 record last season.  Though we aren't sure if she's achieved her goal of dunking yet, the athletic forward should help bolster an already-strong frontcourt.

Ashley Russell (5-foot-10, G, Braintree, Ma.) – Russell – who committed in June – helped lead her high school (Braintree) to a state championship by averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals per game. She is currently Massachusetts’ reigning Gatorade Player of the Year. With the graduation of Alyssa Baron and Meghan McCullough, the Quakers are certainly in need of strong ball handlers for the future and Russell seems to fit that mold.

Deja Jackson (5-foot-9, G, Grinell, Iowa.) – The third guard in a well-balanced Class of 2019, Deja Jackson was listed as a forward for her junior season and was named first and second-team all-state by various news organizations. As a junior, Jackson averaged a team-high 18.9 points per game and tied for the team lead in assists with 41. While she'll likely find herself playing more guard than forward at Penn (especially amid all the taller forwards McLaughlin has brought in), Jackson will hopefully provide some of the scoring touch that helped her lead Grinnell in recent years.



Liveblog | Penn football (0-4) vs. Columbia (0-4)

Penn football is back in action, taking on Columbia. Both teams carry long losing straks and winless records into the matchup, so something has to give. Seamus Powers, Riley Steele and I will bring you the action.

Live Blog Liveblog: Penn football (0-4) vs. Columbia (0-4)
 


Why Columbia will beat Penn football | WKCR Sports' Ryan Young

-The Daily Pennsylvanian

Penn football plays Columbia this weekend so as an introduction to the Light Blue, we asked WKCR Sports' Ryan Young to tell you why Columbia will beat Penn. For more information on Columbia, listen to WKCR's "The Firing Lion," in which Young interviews Lions coach Pete Mangurian. 

Why will Penn lose? Well, that’s a tough one. Let’s see.

Columbia’s head coach, Pete Mangurian, has been constantly vilified. His captain quarterback, Brett Nottingham — who transferred to Columbia, played three quarters and then spent nearly a year rehabbing from an injury —quit the team this week. The same team that Mangurian described as finally being on the same page this year.

Columbia has lost 15 games in a row, the fourth-longest losing streak in Ivy League history. It has dropped 19 road games in a row.

The Lions have lost 17 straight games against Penn, tied for the longest streak against one opponent in league history.

Since they faced Penn last year, the team has held one lead — for precisely 12 minutes and 52 seconds against Princeton two weeks ago.

Their average margin of defeat during this losing streak is by well over 30 points. Exactly zero of the games have been competitive.

So, I guess you could say … they’re due?

On the other hand, after what had to have been one of the toughest FCS schedules out there to begin Columbia’s season, this Saturday represents a chance to at least start turning the page. Penn, who likewise has faced a tough schedule, is winless as well.

And despite the record losing streak against the Quakers, the Lions have played them pretty tightly in recent years. In fact, the 21-7 loss against Penn on homecoming last year, was Columbia’s most competitive game on its current slide.

Columbia’s new starting quarterback, Trevor McDonagh, struggled mightily throwing the ball last season, but after replacing Nottingham at Monmouth last week, he threw for four touchdowns. During the losing streak, Columbia had not previously had a game where it had thrown for even multiple touchdowns (as a team). Maybe momentum can carry over — or maybe his success was just a result of playing the second or third team defense for the Hawks.

Nevertheless, the Lions have especially been successful with screen plays and short passes in recent weeks, so quick plays to running backs Cameron Molina, Chris Schroer or Turner DeMuth will be crucial for success. Penn has struggled defending the pass so far this year, but the Lions cannot rely on deep passes.

Otherwise, Columbia will need to force turnovers and keep the game close into the fourth quarter. Maybe Mangurian’s team will be world-beaters at winning close games —we clearly just don’t know yet.

Or maybe, Al Bagnoli will just feel so awful about going 19-2 against Columbia in his career, that he’ll finally let the Lions have one. He knows that regardless of what happens, his departure from his team this year will probably be a little more romantic than that of the one from across the sidelines.



Turn Back the Clock: Columbia football goes streaking

Penn football took advantage of Columbia's mistakes and handed the Lions their 44th consecutive loss, a mark that still remains an FCS record.

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Having lost its past eight games, Penn football is in the midst of quite a losing streak. However, when it comes to stretches of ineptitude, the Quakers have nothing on their next opponent.

On Saturday, the Red and Blue will take on a Lions squad mired in a 15-game losing skid. For the occasion, let’s turn back the clocks to the end of the greatest — or worst — college football losing streak of all time.

When the two programs met on Oct. 1, 1988, they were in very different places.

Still a couple years away from picking up coach Al Bagnoli, Penn had won its first two games of the young season, and it was looking to compete for an Ivy title.

Columbia, meanwhile, had lost its past 43 games. Yes, its past 43 games.

To say that the Lions were underdogs going into the game would be a massive understatement. However, when they made the trek to Franklin Field that Saturday afternoon, they were not content to roll over.

Despite the Lions’ early energy, the Quakers took control of the game from the start. After a Columbia fumble deep in Red and Blue territory, then-senior running back Bryan Keys put Penn on top, 7-0.

Penn continued its opportunistic play throughout the first half, taking a 21-7 lead into halftime.

But despite the scoreboard, Columbia was dominating in almost every aspect of the game, and with over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Lions were poised to get within one possession of the Quakers.

However, Penn linebacker Bill Caughell changed that, laying a vicious hit on Columbia running back Solomon Johnson and forcing a fumble only two yards away from the end zone. Penn recovered and regained control of the game.

“When we fumbled, I was talking upstairs,” Columbia coach Larry McElreavy said. “I didn’t say anything bad, because I didn’t want to get struck by lightning.”

With 8:35 remaining and the Quakers up, 24-10, the game was Penn’s to lose. An incredible 77-yard punt from Penn’s Dave Amodio erased almost all doubt of the outcome. The punt more than doubled up his season average at the time of the kick and completely demoralized the Lions.

“Oh man, it was the killer,” Johnson said.

Penn improved its record to 3-0 on the year, but the Red and Blue recognized that they were fortunate to do so.

“I’m just glad the game’s over,” Penn coach Ed Zubrow said.

Unsurprisingly, the Lions felt that they had let a golden opportunity to end their already infamous streak pass them by.

“Those turnovers cost us the game,” McElreavy said. “The difference is [Penn] knows how to win.”

However, the streak would end soon enough, as Columbia defeated Princeton, 16-13, the very next week. To this day, the 44-game losing streak remains an FCS record.

Meanwhile, the Quakers would go on to share the Ivy title that year, coming only a loss on their last game away from winning it outright.

This year, neither program looks poised to reach the level of success — or ineptitude — that it reached in 1988. However, one thing is certain: one losing streak will, once again, live on.



Ivy League soccer roundup | Oct. 13

Penn women's soccer received a boost this weekend from freshman forward Juliana Provini, who provided the lone goal in the Quakers' 1-0 win over Columbia.

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Women’s Soccer

Harvard 2, Cornell 0

Harvard (7-3-2, 2-0-1 Ivy) put up a commanding 2-0 win over Cornell (6-5-0, 1-2). The match marked Harvard’s 11th  consecutive unbeaten game in the Ivy League and its third straight conference game without conceding a goal. Cornell’s defense celebrated “neutralizing” the defending Ivy Offensive Player of the Year, Harvard sophomore Midge Purce, as she didn’t score. Yet Purce fired off more shots and shots on goal than the entire Cornell team —  eight to Cornell’s five, and four to the Big Red’s two. At this point in the season, it’s not a question of who the team to beat is, but who can stop Harvard?

Princeton 5, Brown 0

If one team can steal the Ivy League title from Harvard, it’s looking like Princeton. The Tigers (4-4-4, 2-0-1) destroyed Brown (5-5-2, 0-1-2), led by the dynamic sophomore duo of midfielder Haley Chow and forward Tyler Lussi, who combined for five goals. Lussi’s hat trick marks the first of the conference this season. The Tigers gave coach Julie Shackford her 200th  career win in dominant fashion.

Penn 1, Columbia 0

Penn earned its first conference win of the season by way of a beautiful goal from Co-Ivy League Rookie of the Week, freshman Juliana Provini. The win ends Penn’s slow start in conference play —  the Red and Blue improve to 5-4-2, 1-2-0. More importantly, Columbia (5-2-5, 1-1-1) was knocked off the top of Ivy League standings, which Princeton and Harvard now share.

Dartmouth 0, Yale 0

In a matchup between the league’s notorious draw-ers —Dartmouth (3-3-4, 0-0-3) and Yale (5-3-2, 0-1-2) — no one was surprised by the outcome: 0-0. Though both teams had their chances, Yale’s solid defense matched Dartmouth’s more active offense. After a double overtime, the match ended exactly as it began: 0-0.

Men’s Soccer

Harvard 1, Cornell 0

At home, the Crimson can’t lose. They’ve won nine of their last 10 contests at home, including all six home games this season. Harvard (7-3, 2-0) is now tied for the second-longest active winning streak in the nation at seven wins. Senior Hiroki Kobayashi’s shot found the back of the Cornell net in the 48th minute, marking the lone goal. The Crimson have won their past four games by a single goal.

Dartmouth 4, Yale 1

If the Elis were hoping to break their four-game losing streak, they sure weren’t hoping to face championship contender Dartmouth, a team unbeaten in eight consecutive matches. The Bulldogs (0-8-2, 0-2-0) showed promise early on. Yale neutralized the Dartmouth lead in the 11th minute. However, Ivy League Rookie of the Week  midfielder Jonathan Nierenberg scored twice in four minutes to give control back to the machine that has been the Big Green (7-2-1, 2-0). Dartmouth now sits atop conference rankings with Harvard.

Princeton 2, Brown 1

The Princeton offense is not only revered in basketball, but also in soccer . The Tigers (5-3-2, 1-1) were the first team to score on Brown’s airtight defense in over 500 minutes of play. Brown (3-4-3, 1-1) led Princeton for most of the match, until a Princeton penalty kick in the 68th minute evened the score. From there, the Tigers controlled possession and eventually scored the go-ahead goal.

Columbia 2, Penn 1

Columbia’s late game comeback edged out a Quakers squad poised to defend their Ivy League title. Penn (5-5, 1-1) looked dominant early on. After a classic Duke Lacroix goal (20’), the Lions (4-5, 1-1) broke a 300-minute goal drought with a score in the 61st minute, followed by a game-winning goal just eight minutes later.



Penn football kicker Jimmy Gammill racks up Ivy League, national honors

-The Daily Pennsylvanian

It isn't all bad news coming out of the Fordham game for Penn football.

Junior kicker Jimmy Gammill, who had just three field goals on the year before Saturday, made a program-record five field goals. Gammill's feat surpassed a record set by multiple former Penn kickers, including writer Andy Glocker, who congratulated Gammill on twitter.

For his efforts, Gammill received the proper recognition, getting Ivy League Co-Special Teams Player of the Week as well as National FCS Special Teams Player of the Week honors from both The Sports Network and College Sporting News

Will Gammill break his own record at some point? We will have to wait until at least Columbia on Saturday to find out...



Penn baseball gives back to West Philly community

Penn baseball is back in action ... on the tee ball field.

The Red and Blue took part in the Jackie Robinson Tee Ball League College Day in West Philadelphia, supporting former assistant coach Andre Butler, who is the head coach of the league. Butler is now an assistant at DeSales and invited new Penn assistant Mark Royer and others to help out.

Check out the video below to see what the Quakers are doing in the community. Hat tip to coach Butler for sharing the video. 



Liveblog | Penn football vs. Fordham

Join sports editor Ian Wenik and staff writer Thomas Munson as they bring you the live action from Penn football vs. Fordham. 

Live Blog Game 4 | Penn football vs. Fordham
 



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