Ironically, on the day Penn recognized John Heisman, the man who invented the forward pass, it was a strong running game from quarterback Billy Ragone that set the Quakers alone atop they Ivy League.
Before Saturday’s game, Penn received a cast of the Heisman Trophy in honor of the former Penn athlete and football coach.
Then after kickoff, Ragone ran hog-wild over Brown’s defense, racking up 151 yards on the ground to aid the Quakers’ 24-7 domination of the Bears.
“He’s got that escapability factor that everyone’s looking for,” said Penn coach Al Bagnoli. “And when he gets in the open field, he’s electric, and he’s hard to knock down.”
Ragone shocked Brown at the beginning of the second quarter. With the two teams scoreless after missed field goals by both kickers, Bagnoli called Ragone’s number.
From Penn’s 46-yard line, the sophomore took the snap through a huge hole in the offensive line, then weaved his way through the secondary en route to an electric 54-yard touchdown.
“It was good to get out of the gate and get a big play for the offense,” Ragone said. “We’ve been running the ball great all year and today was no different.”
Penn’s running backs were no slouches either this homecoming weekend, as sophomores Brandon Colavita and Jeff Jack combined for 140 yards. The entire rushing offense accumulated an astounding 321 yards. The last time Penn ran so successfully was in 2007, when the Red and Blue carved up the Cornell defense for 329 yards.
“Their run game is vastly superior to anything we’ve gone up against,” Brown coach Phil Estes admitted.
Though Brown would run back the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown after the Ragone score, those would be the only points the Bears put on the board.
The Quaker defense suffocated the Bears’ offensive attack all day, holding the Brown offense scoreless and allowed only 87 rushing yards.
“I thought we dominated them pretty much the entire game,” Penn linebacker Brian Levine said. “They really couldn’t get a lot going versus us. It starts with our scheme, and it comes down to that we actually have pretty good players who can execute our scheme pretty well.”
Unlike Brown, Penn would score again, and each of their next two touchdowns would have Ragone’s fingerprints all over them.
The second Penn touchdown came directly after Brown’s score. Penn took over at its own 35-yard line and rode the live arm of Ragone to the promised land, as the sophomore completed four passes for 52 yards. Fullback Luke DeLuca capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Later in the quarter, Penn took over at midfield after the Quakers forced a three-and-out from the Bears’ goal line. Ragone took a draw once again, scampered for a 35-yard pickup and then hit wide receiver David Wurst with a 14-yard strike on the next play. With the ball at the Brown one-yard line, Colavita hit pay dirt, putting the Quakers up 21-7.
Penn tacked on another three points in the third quarter via a 46-yard Andrew Samson field goal.
With the victory, Penn handed Brown its first Ivy defeat and separated themselves from the rest of the Ancient Eight as the only undefeated squad.
“This was obviously a huge game. It’s a game that gives you control of your own destiny and that’s all you can ever ask for,” Bagnoli said.
“I don’t need help from Yale beating Brown. I don’t need help from Dartmouth beating Harvard. Now we control everything.”
Bagnoli went on to emphasize that Penn still had three important games to win, including away battles against Princeton and Cornell, as well as the big home showdown against Harvard.Comments powered by Disqus
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