Poor Bucknell. It happens to them every year. And this year, it's bound to happen again. It's safe to assume that last Saturday's 34-6 drubbing at the hands Villanova, the 14th-ranked team in Division I-AA, will be the Quakers' most humbling -- if not only --Eloss this year. And it's also safe to assume that Villanova's victory, like Richmond's victory over the Quakers last year, spells doom for the endangered Bison. You almost have to feel sorry for Bucknell. Imagine how good the Patriot League team must have felt on Saturday after coming from behind to vanquish Delaware State 38-28, bringing its record to 3-1. Here the Bison stood, poised to come to Philadelphia in a week and take advantage of a tired bunch of Quakers who had just slugged out a Big 5 battle with crosstown rival 'Nova. That is, until 8:03 that night, when the final whistle blew at Franklin Field. If Penn would have scored one touchdown, maybe Bucknell could feel OK. If the Villanova offense had sputtered in the least, maybe the Bison could rest easy. Instead, last Saturday's game was what coaches refer to as a "wake-up call." "I don't know where Penn is yet in their growth," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. "You get Penn in mid-season when they're convincingly on their way to being an Ivy champion, then they can line up in this game and score as many points as we do. "You get them into their second game and we're into our fourth game, maybe we're a little better team right now than they are in their progression." Last season Penn had just come off a defensive struggle against Dartmouth. The game wasn't pretty but Penn got the job done. Questions still swirled about quarterback Matt Rader's effectiveness. Enter the Richmond Spiders and their prolific offensive attack. Thirty-four points later, Penn found itself 1-1 with none of its questions answered. Sound familiar? A week after an ugly win over Dartmouth, a ranked, quicker, better opponent -- this time 'Nova -- puts 34 points on the board at Franklin Field, sending everyone into a frenzy. Well, fret not. This is how it's supposed to happen. It's all set-up for the Bucknell game. One look at the Bison secondary is all new quarterback Gavin Hoffman needs. By week four against Fordham, the Big Ten will wish he never left. After Bucknell, Rader and the Penn offense caught fire, scoring an average of 34.5 points per game en route to an Ivy League title. So don't feel bad for the Quakers and the loss. They were just doing what they were supposed to do -- getting ready for the rest of the year. A loss like last Saturday's can do different things to the Quakers. It can get them down and rattle their confidence. Not likely. It's more likely that Villanova's win will anger the Quakers. It will make them so angry that they won't want to lose another game the rest of the year. "The game's good for the University and it's good for the program," tailback Kris Ryan said. "Personally, I'd like to see [a game every year] because I'd like to play them again and try to win." Bad news Bucknell. Penn wants a win, badly. And you're up next.Comments powered by Disqus
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