Penn hosts Big 5 rival Villanova at Franklin Field tomorrow. Local bragging rights are on the line tomorrow at Franklin Field, when Penn and Villanova square off in a showdown of Big 5 rivals. Despite the Big 5's popularity and penchant for intense matchups in college basketball, things have not been quite the same on the football side of the fence. When the Quakers (1-0) welcome the Division I-AA 14th-ranked Wildcats (2-1) to the West Side in a special Big 5 at 5 p.m. promotion, it will only be the teams' seventh meeting in history. Although the Red and Blue lead the all-time series 5-1, a Howie Long-led Villanova squad handed Penn a 34-3 drubbing in the teams' last encounter, November 8, 1980, before many Penn and Villanova students were even born. Penn anticipates a big crowd -- around 25,000 -- for the Big 5 matchup, thanks in part to the special $5 ticket price and the later 5 p.m. kickoff time. The increased numbers in the stands is a welcomed change of pace for the Quakers, whose top draw last year was 20,875 for the Homecoming game against Yale. "It's nice," Penn linebacker Jim Hisgen said. "I like playing for big crowds. Even when you get 10,000 people in this stadium, it looks like there's no one here. So it's just nice to see a lot of people cheering for you." For transfer quarterback Gavin Hoffman, however, the larger crowd is a bit of a non-issue. The sophomore transferred this year from Northwestern, and in the Big Ten, massive crowds are a way of life. "It'll be fun to get a big crowd out here for a night game but it's no big deal really," Hoffman said. "I've played in front of 90,000 and I've played in front of nine but I try just as hard." The 5:00 game time is also a departure of sorts for Penn, which normally plays its home games at 1:30 p.m. "It'll be tough sitting around all day thinking about the game," Hoffman said. "You'd rather just kind of wake up and play it. "But I had a couple night games last year. You just kind of take it easy during the day, watch college football. Playing at night's almost better in a sense because you get to loosen up the whole day." The Quakers will have much to think about in their extra three and a half hours. Villanova is coming off a 26-21 upset of Division I-AA national champion UMass last week and the week before dispatched Richmond, a team which defeated Penn 34-18 last year. Leading the Wildcats charge is an effective, balanced offensive attack. Villanova averages 350.7 yards per game, on the strength of quarterback Chris Boden and running back Ducarmel Augustin. Boden, a three-year starter, became the Atlantic 10's all-time touchdown pass leader with his two scoring strikes against Richmond. Tomorrow marks his 28th straight start and he comes in with a streak of at least one touchdown pass in each of those games. "It all starts with the trigger guy -- he's a terrific player.," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "Terrific in terms of understanding what they want done, terrific in getting the ball out of his hands, terrific in understanding what the defense is trying to do." Bagnoli said the Quakers defense, which all but shut down the Dartmouth offense last week, will give Boden plenty of different looks and coverages in an effort to keep him off-balance. "You have to try to keep him out of rhythm so the ball isn't coming out of his hands 1-2-3 and he throws," Bagnoli said. "Because if that happens it could get ugly." As if that wasn't enough to worry about, Augustin has emerged as the Villanova's surprise star this year. Wildcats coach Andy Talley gave Augustin the nod after All-American Brian Westbrook went out for the year with an injured left knee. Augustin has not disappointed, turning heads around the Atlantic 10 with a two-touchdown performance against Richmond and 122 yards on 13 carries against UMass. "We're going to make sure that everything is played at 100 percent and played to perfection, because if you make mistakes against this team, they're going to hurt you," Hisgen said. "There's nothing special [to prepare for]. We just want to make sure that we play hard and we play for 60 minutes."Comments powered by Disqus
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