On to the next one.
After suffering a 23-10 loss to Yale at home last Friday, Penn looks to keep its slim Ivy League championship hopes alive as it travels to Providence this Saturday to take on Brown.
The Quakers (4-2, 1-2 Ivy) can continue climbing out of the bottom of the Ivy rankings with a win this weekend and a Cornell loss to Ivy-best Princeton. A defeat, however, would prove to be not only a probable goodbye to the Ancient Eight crown but also a devastating upset. The Bears (1-5, 0-3 Ivy) currently sit at the bottom of the conference standings amidst a struggle of a season.
“We understand the stakes right now,” coach Ray Priore said.
Last Friday in a nationally-televised home game, Penn managed to put up a season low 10 points against Yale's defense. Penn currently sits in the bottom three of the conference in terms of points scored and will look to turn that around against a porous Bears defense which has allowed the most points in the league to date.
Despite Penn’s offensive struggles, the running game has shown considerable promise. With a mobile quarterback in sophomore Ryan Glover and a top-four Ivy League rusher in junior Karekin Brooks, Penn has managed to generate a respectable amount of offense on the ground, currently sitting in the top half of the conference in rushing yards. Furthermore, the Quakers’ offensive line has allowed the second least amount of sacks in the Ivy League, demonstrating the good protection Penn receives up front.
On defense, the Quakers rank in the top three in points and yards allowed. Led by senior and 2017 All-Ivy middle linebacker Nick Miller, the Quakers’ front seven has been a force, recording the most sacks in the Ivy League so far this year. Despite allowing some big plays that kept them on the field versus Yale, this squad has a chance to make a statement against a Brown offense that rests at the bottom of the Ivy in scoring and yards.
“Brown resorts to a lot of trick plays, plays that are going left, right, throwbacks, all over the place, so you’ve really got to be disciplined and sound,” Priore said.
The Bears have relied mostly on sophomore quarterback Michael McGovern, who has racked up the most passing yards in the conference — on the most attempts. But the young quarterback’s heavy usage has also led to him throwing a league-high five interceptions this season. If Penn’s front seven can put pressure on the pocket, the secondary should be able to take advantage of any poor decision-making.
While this game might seem like an inviting matchup, a lot is on the line for the Quakers on the road this weekend. If the team sticks to what it knows — a consistent rushing attack with limited turnovers and a stout defense —then Penn can most likely get the job done and continue to keep its eye on the prize in another winnable game against Cornell in Ithaca.
Priore, though, isn't focused on what may come down the line for the team.
“Control the controllable,” he said.
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