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Penn football looses in overtime at Lafayette Penn 31 Michael DiMaggio Lafayette 47 Michael Schmidlein 55 Ian Dell 30 Carlos Lowe Credit: Katie Rubin

For six quarters, freshman running back Lyle Marsh was nothing more than an occasional short-yardage back for the Quakers. But after his second-half performance Saturday against Lafayette, Penn fans know that the future is bright — at least in the backfield.

“He’s very talented. He’s physical, he runs with his pads low, he’s got better-than-average speed and he’s got really good vision,” coach Al Bagnoli said. “So we’re not at all surprised. He’s done everything that we thought he was capable of doing.”

Marsh ran for 85 yards on 15 carries Saturday after entering the game in the third quarter. His playing time was not strategy-related, but rather necessitated by injuries to those ahead of him on the depth chart.

Sophomore running back Matt Hamscher was held out of the game after being injured against Villanova, and junior running backs Mike DiMaggio and Bradford Blackmon were roughed up in the first half. Blackmon would get back in the game, but only lined up at wide receiver.

Marsh’s performance was good enough to earn him Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors, but the honor is only the first step for him.

“I guess it’s a pretty good honor, but it doesn’t really mean that much considering it’s only the rookies,” he said. “There’s bigger goals ahead for myself, I think.”

No QB controversy… yet. Senior quarterback Kyle Olson put on an impressive showing against Lafayette, but that doesn’t mean he’s knocking on the door for the starting job.

In his first game back since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against Brown in his first start behind center last year, Olson completed half of his 28 pass attempts for 151 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns.

“I was happy getting out there, getting some playing time, getting back into the feel of things after coming back from the injury,” he said. “It felt like everything was rolling, especially in the beginning of the second half.”

He saw the bulk of the passing plays, while junior starting quarterback Keiffer Garton tended to keep the ball on the ground. But Olson only saw such extensive time due to the elbow injury Garton suffered in the final play against Villanova.

“We felt instead of risking further injury, we’d put the other kid in at quarterback, who’s played in the past and who’s done a nice job for us,” Bagnoli said.

And even though Olson had a good day airing out the football, the coach is quick to point out Garton is still his man.

“If Keiffer’s healthy, he’s going to be the quarterback,” he said. “If not, Kyle will be the quarterback and we’ll take it from there. There’s no quarterback controversy.”

Roughed up, but getting better. Two games into the season, the Quakers are already struggling with injuries. Though Garton and Hamscher are the major casualties, many others are battling bumps and bruises as the team enters the Ivy season.

“We’re not healthy,” Bagnoli said. “Hopefully we’ll get kids at 100 percent at some point this week because I really think it’s important that we get some practice time with these kids. It’s hard not to practice and all of a sudden put them in the game.”

It appears that Hamscher will be available for Saturday’s contest at Dartmouth, but Garton was not in pads for Tuesday’s practice. Though Bagnoli is hopeful, he characterized the quarterback’s status as “dicey.”

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