Penn football spanked at The Frank
Defense allows most points since Nov. 2008 in season-opening 37-12 loss
September 17, 2011, 9:17 pm·
Megan Falls | DP
To say it was a disappointing start for the two-time defending Ivy League champions would be an understatement.
Lafayette buried Penn football in a second-half rout, handing the Quakers a 37-12 defeat in front of a crowd of 9,438 at Franklin Field. This marks the Red and Blue’s first loss since Sept. 25 of last year, snapping their eight-game winning streak.
“That was an old-fashioned rear-end kicking that we haven’t had here in a long, long time,” said coach Al Bagnoli, who took full responsibility for the loss. “If that doesn’t get our attention, I’m not sure anything is going to get our attention.”
The Leopards’ defensive unit was a force in the second half. Penn quarterback Billy Ragone was intercepted twice by Lafayette free safety Kyle Simmons, who also recorded a career-high 15 tackles against Penn (0-1).
Simmons returned his first interception 31 yards for a touchdown, giving the Leopards (1-2) a 30-12 lead at the end of the third quarter. The second interception put Lafayette 28 yards from the goal line and resulted in a touchdown pass from first-time starting quarterback Andrew Shoop to tight end Kevin Doty, putting the Leopards ahead 37-12.
Ragone finished 8-for-23 with 91 yards in the air andpicked up 52 on the ground. Junior running back Brandon Colavita ran for 67 on the night.
“Tonight I didn’t give the receivers an opportunity to make a good play on the ball and run after the catch,” Ragone said.
Backup quarterback Ryan Becker and third-stringer Andrew Holland also took some snaps under center as the game slipped away.
“We were going to play Ryan at some point, and so I wanted to make sure we got him in the game,” Bagnoli said. “We’re going to be playing two quarterbacks pretty much the entire year, it just so happened that was the rotation that he was in.”
Down by three points with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Lafayette’s Shoop capitalized on a roughing the passer call and completed a 37-yard pass to Mark Ross for six points.
In one of the few Penn highlights, senior Brian Giesecke blocked the Leopard’s extra-point attempt, and junior Justyn Williams took the loose ball 92 yards to the end zone for two points. It was the first time Penn pulled off an extra-point return since 1998.
“He made a great individual run,” Bagnoli said. “But besides that, there wasn’t a heck of a lot of bright spots.”
Just as the Quakers were looking to enter the locker room trailing 13-12, the momentum shifted to Lafayette once again — and this time it never shifted back. With 21 seconds left in the half, Lafayette’s special teams blocked a punt, which eventually resulted in a 48-yard field goal to put the Leopards ahead, 16-12.
“From the first drive to the last, they were going up top on us, early and often and we just didn’t have the communication and the execution to break up those big plays,” senior defensive back Matt Hamscher said.
“I think we’re all a little bit embarrassed, to be quite honest with you,” Bagnoli said. “And hopefully we can kind of get things back stabilized a little bit.“