For Penn football, the positive vibes are flowing in from multiple places.
Last Saturday, the Quakers comfortably defeated Bucknell 34-17 in the team’s season opener at Franklin Field.
Seven days later, the Red and Blue (1-0) will play at home once again when they take on Lehigh (1-2) in a rematch of last year’s 65-47 shootout victory.
Last year's win versus Lehigh and last weekend's victory were separated by 51 weeks, but they both appear to provide some reason for optimism. Coach Ray Priore was certainly encouraged by the victory over Bucknell.
“We’re excited about having the first victory, which is great,” Priore said. “We did a lot of things well. We have some things we need to improve upon, but for a first game going into a second game, we’re in a good place.”
The Quakers' 17-point victory marked the first start and win for sophomore quarterback Ryan Glover. Glover, who mixed two touchdowns with two interceptions on Saturday, echoed Priore’s excitement about the team going into the weekend.
“I’m really excited about what’s to come,” he said. “I think we’ve got a good group of guys. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team offensively and defensively.”
The quarterback situation for the Quakers has been well documented, with the decision to start Glover over junior Nick Robinson not made until three days before the season opener. Glover took every offensive snap in the victory over Bucknell, but Priore remained cagey when asked on Tuesday about the possibility of the two sharing playing time on Saturday. In particular, Robinson’s status remains unclear following an injury obtained during the preseason.
“Those things are decided as we go throughout the course of the week, and we’ll make those decisions as we get closer to the weekend,” Priore said.
The Quakers had weeks before the season to focus on Bucknell, giving them an ample amount of time to game plan and prepare. A much quicker turnaround for Saturday’s game provides its own challenges.
“The last game is over with. Now we go on to the next one,” Priore said. “Practicing now for an opponent within a week’s period of time is a lot different than having all of preseason to prepare for an opponent, so it’s a learning process and we’re going to take the next step.”
However, there may also be some advantages to preparing for the second game of the season, as Glover pointed out.
“It’s hard your first game because you’re not used to the speed and all of that,” he said. “Now that we have one under our belt, it should be cool.”
As for last year’s offensive display against Lehigh, the Quakers know it is a thing of the past. Although they have lost two of their first three games to open 2018, the Mountain Hawks won five of their final six last season to co-champion the Patriot League. Penn certainly isn't taking Lehigh lightly.
“They're a good football team with quality players," Priore said. "They're a totally different team than they were a year ago, so the takeaways are not from last year. It's what this football team this year can do.”
So while the Quakers hope history repeats itself on Saturday, they aren’t taking anything for granted.
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