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Penn defensive backs Seth Fisher and Kevin Stefanksi tackle Dartmouth tight end Casey Cramer in the Quakers' 49-14 win. [Michael Lupoli/DP File Photo]

Penn 52, Lafayette 21 Sept. 21, 2002 What Happened:

The Red and Blue started 2002 off with a bang by putting up 38 points by the half at Fisher Field.

The Penn defense kept Lafayette and quarterback Marko Glavic at bay most of the game, limiting him to 180 yards passing and picking him off three times. Two first-time starters for Penn, quarterback Mike Mitchell and tailback Stephen Faulk, accounted for four touchdowns.

A trick play for the Quakers, involving a lateral to Joe Phillips, who then threw downfield to Erik Bolinder, helped the Red and Blue to run up the score on overmatched Lafayette.

Key Play:

A four-yard touchdown run by Faulk capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive for Penn's first score. The Red and Blue never relinquished the lead.

Offensive Hero:

In his first career start at tailback, Faulk gained 90 yards on the ground on 17 carries and scored three first quarter touchdowns.

Defensive Hero:

Two Penn defensive backs had impressive games to open the season.

Safety Kevin Stefanski, in his first game since injuring his knee against Lafayette in 2001, intercepted two Glavic passes. One of his interceptions set up a 12-yard Stephen Faulk touchdown.

Senior cornerback Fred Plaza tied for team-best with eight tackles. Plaza also ran back a second quarter interception 19 yards for a touchdown.

Penn 24, Lehigh 21 Sept. 28, 2002 What Happened:

The Engineers were riding a 26-game winning streak until they ran into the Quakers at Franklin Field.

Penn managed to stave off a fourth quarter Lehigh comeback to defeat the then fourth-ranked team in the nation. Penn's Stephen Faulk capitalized on an electrifying hook-and-lateral play at the end of the half and added a one yard touchdown run to put the Red and Blue up, 24-7.

The Engineers got back into the game in the fourth quarter with a punt blocked for a touchdown and a 15-yard touchdown run. However, Lehigh kicker Matt Douglass' potential game-tying field goal didn't find its mark, preserving the win for the Quakers.

Key Play:

The Quakers dug deep into the playbook for a hook-and-lateral and pulled off a last second touchdown at the close of the first half.

Quarterback Mike Mitchell found an open Joe Phillips on a pass that would have ended the half, but Phillips pitched the ball to a sprinting Stephen Faulk. Rob Milanese threw a critical block to help Faulk reach the endzone.

Offensive Hero:

In addition to his key block, Milanese became Penn's career receiving yardage leader, making ten catches for 111 yards. The senior also scored Penn's first touchdown on a five-yard catch.

Defensive Hero:

Penn safety Vince Alexander grabbed two interceptions in the first quarter, setting up a field goal and Penn's first touchdown. He also made six tackles.

Penn 49, Dartmouth 14 Oct. 5, 2002 What Happened:

The Quakers welcomed the Ivy League's Dartmouth to Franklin Field. Although the Red and Blue entered the game hesistantly, they ultimately trounced the Big Green, 49-14.

However, the early minutes of the game did not foreshadow a Penn win. On the first two Penn drives, Mitchell was intercepted by Dartmouth safety Clayton Smith.

The momentum of the game shifted in the second quarter when Vince Alexander picked off a Dartmouth pass and returned 42 yards and into the endzone for the first score of the game.

From there on out the Quakers pulled away, notching six more touchdowns in the remaining minutes.

Key Play:

When Vince Alexander secured a pick off of his own against the Dartmouth defense, he ran it all the way back for a touchdown. That first score took away any momentum that Dartmouth had been able to muster in the first quarter.

Offensive Hero:

Mike Mitchell, in only his third career start at quarterback, lit up Dartmouth for 428 yards passing on 31 completions, including four touchdowns. He is the second quarterback in Penn history to eclipse 400 yards in a single game.

Defensive Hero:

Penn's Vince Alexander continued to dominate from the secondary. He posted a career-best seven tackles and returned his third interception of the season 42 yards for the game's opening score.

Linebacker Travis Belden also had a big day for the Red and Blue, posting six tackles and forcing a fumble that he returned 22 yards to set up a touchdown.

Villanova 17, Penn 3 Oct. 10, 2002 What Happened:

Two weeks after knocking off the No. 4 team in the country, the Quakers stumbled against No. 6 Villanova. The Red and Blue's only loss of the season came on a dampened field that affected the offensive complexion of the game.

Neither side was able to generate much scoring, but Penn in particular was affected adversely by the conditions. Their lone score came on a Peter Veldman field goal with less than a minute left in the game.

The Penn defense turned in another strong performance, but Villanova quarterback Brett Gordon provided most of the offense in the contest. He sneaked in a one yard carry and tossed a touchdown pass to nail down the victory.

Key Play:

Villanova punter Adam James had two snaps over his head from a freshman long snapper, and four of his punts were nearly blocked.

James managed to get off all of the kicks, however, avoiding a possible momentum changing play.

Offensive Hero:

In comparison to their other games, Penn's offensive performance on the soggy field was dismal. One of the lone bright spots was the second half emergence of sophomore running back Michael Recchiuti, who gained 56 yards in only his second action of the season.

Defensive Hero:

Penn linebacker Travis Belden set the tone for the Quakers with two sacks, but the offense was unable to take advantage of a strong defensive effort.

Penn 44, Columbia 10 Oct. 19, 2002 What Happened:

The first half of play was relatively even, ending with Penn on top, 13-10. But the Quakers exploded with 31 second-half points after a series of Columbia miscues.

The Red and Blue defense carried the day, pressuring Lions quarterbacks Steve Hunsberger and Jeff Otis with six sacks and two interceptions.

Columbia didn't help itself on special teams by giving Penn stellar field position most of the afternoon. Two kickoff return errors resulted in a string of three straight Penn scores to start the second half, putting the game well out of the Lions' reach.

Penn got an offensive boost from unlikely sources in the second half with two touchdown runs on two carries by backup fullback Kevin DeSmedt and a 20-yard touchdown scramble by backup quarterback Jack Phillips.

Key Play:

After Penn scored a touchdown to open the second half, Columbia kick-off returner Kenny Wood mistakenly downed a Roman Galas kick at the one-yard line.

With his back against the goal line, Hunsberger threw a pass, on the ensuing play, into the waiting arms of Penn safety Vince Alexander. The turnover set up a DeSmedt plunge that gave the Red and Blue a 17-point lead.

Offensive Hero:

Penn placekicker Peter Veldman bested Columbia's 10 points on his own. The junior booted five extra points to remain perfect on the season. He also nailed all three of his field goal tries, connecting from 23, 34, and 36 yards.

Defensive Hero:

Vince Alexander again provided the defensive spark for the Quakers. In addition to his interception, the former linebacker caused havoc in the Lions' backfield with two sacks.

Penn 41, Yale 20 Oct. 26, 2002 What Happened:

A drizzly afternoon at the Yale Bowl didn't stop the Red and Blue from improving to 3-0 in the Ivy League. Penn fell behind after the opening kickoff was run back for a touchdown, but from that point on the Quakers dominated the Elis.

The Quakers offense picked up after the rain cleared, and when all was said and done Penn had gained 428 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Big passing plays were the key weapon for the Quakers, who had four receivers with catches of 30 yards or more. Rob Milanese and Erik Bolinder both had more than 100 yards receiving and the pair scored three touchdowns on the way to a road blowout.

Key Play:

With the game tied at seven, Penn's Joe Phillips took a lateral pass from Mike Mitchell and appeared to be headed downfield. The junior wideout instead turned and threw it to a wide-open Bolinder for a 44-yard touchdown. The trick play gave the Quakers a lead that they would not relinquish.

Offensive Hero:

Milanese was all over the field after an early fumble. The senior caught an even dozen passes with two touchdowns and gained a season-high 140 yards.

Defensive Hero:

Linebacker Steve Lhotak sacked Yale quarterback Jeff Mroz early in the second quarter, killing a drive with the game tied.

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