Running away with the Tigers’ roar
52-10 victory in New Jersey is Penn’s largest against Princeton breaking 116 year-old record
November 6, 2010, 7:00 pm · Updated November 8, 2010, 12:00 am·
There had been 101 Penn-Princeton football games before this weekend’s showdown in New Jersey.
But never had the Quakers been as dominant as they were Saturday.
In this year’s chapter of the historic rivalry, Penn compiled an astounding 600 yards of total offense and cruised to a 52-10 win over the Tigers. The 42-point margin of victory marked the school’s largest-ever blowout over Princeton (1-7, 0-5), breaking a record set November 10, 1894.
“We’re clicking right now,” Penn quarterback Billy Ragone said.
That was especially true for the Quakers (7-1, 5-0) early on in the contest.
In the first quarter, Princeton attempted to catch the defense off guard with its hurry-up offense. Instead, it only served to help Penn put points on the board faster.
After a missed field goal on their opening drive, the Tigers suffered three consecutive three-and-outs — all of which lead to Penn touchdowns. By the end of the quarter, the Quakers led 28-0.
“It was important to get out early,” Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. “I think the longer you keep this thing close, the more confidence the other team has and I think the harder the job becomes.”
The commanding lead allowed Bagnoli to play his second- and third-stringers throughout the remainder of the game.
Seniors and starters last year Keiffer Garton and Mike DiMaggio, who have both battled back from injuries, returned to action in the second half, and DiMaggio finished as the team’s leading rusher with 83 yards.
Much of the game, though, featured the latest installment of the Billy Ragone show.
As usual, the sophomore showcased his speed and elusiveness, which led to 75 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
And against the Tigers’ league-worst defense, Ragone also aired it out. The quarterback put together the best passing game of his young career, completing 11-of-16 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.
Bagnoli credited Ragone’s throwing ability with keeping the defenders “on their heels” and allowing the coach to open up the playbook.
“As the quarterbacks allow us to throw the ball better, then I think we become multi-dimensional on offense,” Bagnoli said.
The offensive game plan included an assortment of gadget plays — a flea flicker, an attempted double reverse pass and several end-arounds. After having his number called on the end-around numerous times earlier this season, freshman Aaron Bailey finally broke free Saturday.
The former high-school track star, who Princeton coach Bob Surace labeled “one of the fastest guys in the League,” ran for 82 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career.
All told, the Quakers’ overpowering ground game posted 396 rushing yards. In total, the Tigers had 170 yards.
It was the perfect time for a Penn rout, with a crucial matchup against second-place Harvard on tap. With a win over the Crimson next week, the Quakers would clinch at least a share of the Ivy title.
The Red and Blue are certainly peaking at the right time.
“It has a lot to do with confidence,” Ragone said. “We come out expecting for everything to work. Today was one of those days.”
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