Coming off a tough-to-swallow, 17-10 defeat at the hands of Lehigh last Saturday, the Penn football team (0-1) will attempt to reverse its fortunes when it meets Lafayette (1-1) tomorrow at Franklin Field at 12:30 p.m. With dynamic Penn running back Kris Ryan potentially sidelined with a high ankle sprain for the second consecutive week, this matchup will likely play out as a clash of two powerful passers. Quakers quarterback Gavin Hoffman (36-for-52, 356 yards) set Penn records for attempts and completions at Lehigh, and junior wideout Rob Milanese set another school single-game mark to boot, courtesy of his 13 receptions. Leopards freshman Marko Glavic, no slouch himself, entered the game with one minute, 36 seconds remaining in the first half versus Princeton last Saturday and directed the Leopards to a come-from-behind, 24-17 victory. Glavic (18-for-30, 243 yards) was helped, no doubt, by the 11 receptions for 109 yards hauled in by his own dominant wideout, Phil Yarberough. What matters most to the two squads, though, is that Glavic came away with a victory, and Hoffman returned to West Philadelphia with a loss. "We came off of a hard fought and very disappointing loss at a very good Lehigh team," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "We were a bit frustrated coming away from it. We played very hard, but we did not play very smart. "But we had some big-game performances from Gavin Hoffman and wide receiver Rob Milanese, who set school records. We threw the ball very well." On the other side of the ball, a Quakers defense that turned in a strong effort against the then-No. 21 Engineers seven days ago in Bethlehem is looking to put together an even better performance in its home opener. The fact that Penn will be lining up against a freshman quarterback and a Lafayette offensive line that has given up five sacks in two games could make for a long afternoon for the visiting Leopards. "Their quarterback is a freshman, so we're going to go out there play after play, and we're going to rattle him," Penn defensive back Hasani White said. "He doesn't have enough game experience to handle it at this point." First-year Lafayette coach Frank Tavani sees it a bit differently, and he feels that his freshman quarterback has responded well to his trial by fire. "We had hoped that in the first couple of games we'd get [Glavic] in a couple of series and get his feet wet. I just didn't know I was going to throw him into the ocean so quickly," Tavani said. "Having thrown 30 passes already certainly helps. He's a freshman who's going to make his share of mistakes, but he's got some tremendous talent." One factor the Quakers must heed is the breakout ability of Leopards tailback Bill Stocker. The six-foot sophomore rushed for 199 yards in his first two games, and will now challenge a Penn defense that held Lehigh to 3.6 yards per carry. Lafayette's success on the ground is in direct contrast to Penn's futility without Ryan, as the Red and Blue only amassed 30 yards on 16 carries at Lehigh. "We did not have our star running back available, and we struggled to try to establish a running game," Bagnoli said. These two squads last squared off in 1995, with the Quakers emerging victorious, 28-8. There is little doubt Hoffman would like to duplicate the passing effort of Penn's signal-caller in that meeting, when Mark DeRosa threw for three touchdowns. With Milanese blossoming into quite the receiver, and Doug O'Neill, Ben Zagorski and Colin Smith (five receptions apiece at Lehigh) steady as rocks, Hoffman looks to have plenty of opportunities to do damage. "It was certainly an exciting day to get my first career victory... but I came down quickly from the clouds once I saw film on the Penn team," Tavani said. Though Tavani's squad enters this matchup riding a wave of confidence, the disappointment over last week's loss that has resonated through the Penn locker room may be a far more effective motivating factor. "[Lafayette] has some big threat weapons," Quakers defensive coordinator Ray Priore said. "But the kids are coming back from a tough loss, and the kids were very, very disappointed. And they worked real hard this week mentally and on everything else, and they're in the right frame of mind to win."Comments powered by Disqus
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