Even 12 months after last year's double-overtime battle that ended with Princeton ahead by one, Penn captain Joe Anastasio still remembers the defeat like it was yesterday.
"It definitely burns us," the senior linebacker said. "We wanted it a lot emotionally and it's definitely sticking out in our minds going into this weekend."
Princeton (3-4, 2-2 Ivy) is fresh off of a come-from-behind win over Cornell that saw the Tigers break into SportsCenter's top plays for the second year in a row. And he is just one component of the Tigers offense, which has rushed for nearly 400 more yards than its opponents this season.
Senior quarterback Bill Foran is expected to see some snaps this weekend after sitting out last weekend to recuperate from a concussion, the Times of Trenton reported. However, Princeton coach Roger Hughes didn't specify whether Foran or counterpart Greg Mroz will start.
Princeton's offensive attack is not unlike the one Penn (2-5, 1-3) faced at Villanova earlier this season.
"They really run a true spread offense," Quakers coach Al Bagnoli said. "They've really got lots of motions and schematic headaches they give you and kids that can make some big plays in space. So that big play scares me a little bit with their offense."
A healthy Joe Sandberg will be critical this weekend. The senior torched the Tigers for 173 yards on the ground in last season's contest and was cleared to play earlier this week after suffering a stinger at Brown last weekend.
And in a season that's been littered with miscues so far, the Quakers can no longer afford those errors. After two disappointing results in a row, Bagnoli continues to be mystified by the team's lack of progress over the past few weeks.
"I knew we were going to have some headaches trying to recover from Yale, but I also thought we'd shore up a little bit more of our red-zone attack," he said. "So some of the answers I was looking for all of the sudden disappeared last week."
Last week's loss to Brown eliminated Penn from contention for the Ivy title, but, Anastasio said, the seniors have had no trouble finding motivation heading into this weekend.
"We're pretty disappointed that we failed in our goal to win a championship," Anastasio said. "You just have to remember that you love the game and you play to be with your teammates and try to get a win every week, whether that's in a losing season or a winning season."
With Princeton on an emotional high after last weekend and Penn at yet another low, the Tigers might seem to have the advantage. But as Mroz said, in this matchup, none of that matters.
"With the Penn-Princeton game, you can throw the records and past games away," he said. "This is always a tough, emotional game, and I expect this one to be no different."Comments powered by Disqus
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