Coach Al Bagnoli is anything but proud of his 125th win.
In a 31-10 victory over Bucknell on Saturday in Lewisburg, Pa., Bagnoli earned the most wins in program history.
But rather than enjoying the victory, the coach felt overwhelmingly “unsettled,” as the Quakers (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) went into the locker room at the half with just a 10-7 lead over the still winless Bison (0-5).
“I’m just really more trying to figure out why it took us 30 minutes to play,” Bagnoli said.
Though senior quarterback Keiffer Garton made his long-awaited season premiere in the game, freshman Ryan Becker handled primary quarterback duties. In the second quarter, he connected with freshman Conner Scott in the endzone, which was the first collegiate touchdown for both players.
And had it not been for a blocked Andrew Samson field goal and Bucknell touchdown off of a Becker interception, the halftime score may well have been 13-0.
But when the Quakers took to the field in the second half, they played like an entirely different team. According to wide receiver David Wurst, Bagnoli gave a “nice little halftime speech,” to rejuvenate the Red and Blue.
Becker, who started the game because sophomore Billy Ragone was serving a one week disciplinary suspension, led the Quakers on an 8-play, 71-yard touchdown drive. Brandon Colavita punched into the endzone from 13 yards out — the score was Colavita’s first of two.
With Becker under center for the majority of the game, he was able to establish a rhythm and gain valuable momentum for the Quakers.
“Going every other series, it’s hard to get a pace and just get a rhythm going,” Becker said. “I’m all about the moment.”
And in the first game where Bagnoli consistently used the same quarterback, Becker connected with key receivers.
“It’s nice to get in a rhythm with your quarterback so you don’t keep switching,” said Wurst, who caught nine completions for 102 yards. “People throw the ball differently … so it’s nice to get everyone on the same page.”
Garton, in his limited action, led the Quakers on a 40-yard scoring drive that ended with Jeff Jack running 12 yards nearly untouched into the endzone.
The Penn defense continued to be a solid force — they held Bucknell to just nine first downs and an average of 1.4 yards per carry. Zach Heller led the team with 7 tackles, and contributed a sack to Penn’s total of six. The Bison lost 45 yards on the sacks.
Though the numbers on the stat sheet all favor Penn, Bagnoli is still concerned with his team’s stagnant first half performance.
“We’re going to do things differently,” Bagnoli said of his plans for practice this week. “[We will] push some different buttons and make sure that we get our kids’ attention a little better.”
- Senior kicker Andrew Samson had two field goal attempts, setting Penn's career record. He has now attempted 62 field goals for the Quakers, passing Jason Feinberg's mark of 61 set in 2000.
- Bradford Blackmon set career highs in both kickoff and punt returns. He took the opening kickoff 45 yards and had a 22-yard punt return in the second half.
- Senior wide receiver David Wurst set new career highs with nine receptions and 102 receiving yards. The last Penn receiver to surpass 100 yards was Braden Lepisto on Oct. 27, 2007 against Brown, a span of 27 games.
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