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(Clockwise from top left) Alumni running back Isaiah Malcome, wide receiver Owen Goldsberry and wide receiver Ryan Cragun. Credit: Sukhmani Kaur , Samantha Turner

Penn football ended the 2021 season with a 3-7 record — its worst finish since 2014. Now, as the Quakers prepare to begin a redemptive 2022 campaign, it's time to look back at how the Red and Blue fared in comparison to their Ivy League counterparts, which included some good, some bad, and a little too much ugly.

The Good

  • The Quakers were tied for first in passing touchdowns allowed with Dartmouth, giving up just eight across 10 games.
  • Opposing quarterbacks completed just 54.9% of passes against Penn, good for third-best in the Ivy League.
  • The Red and Blue gave up 15 touchdowns in the red zone total last season, just behind Dartmouth and Harvard for first in the Ivy League.
  • Penn led the Ivy League in fumbles forced in the red zone with two
  • The Quakers were one of three Ivy League teams to not miss a single extra point all season.
  • In 2019, Penn went 3-9 on field goals, which placed the team well below its Ivy League counterparts.

The Bad (Below Average)

  • Although the Quakers might not have finished at the very bottom in yards, teams felt comfortable running against them, as they had the highest number of runs attempted against them amongst the Ivy League.
  • In 2019, Penn ranked last in rushing yards allowed per game and first in runs attempted against them.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the Quakers notched 24 total sacks during the 2021 season, good for fifth in the Ivy League.
  • In 2019, Penn finished second in fewest sacks allowed and was one of two Ivy League teams to end the season with under 100 yards lost due to sacks.
  • Though Penn finished with the third-most penalty yards, the Quakers were tied with Cornell for the second-most penalties in the Ivy League with 7.1 a game.
  • Against Penn, opponents committed an average of 5.9 penalties for 54.0 yards a game.

The Ugly

  • Penn also finished with the fewest touchdowns in the Ivy League, with just 24 total across the 2021 season.
  • The Quaker defense, on the other hand, allowed 21.5 points per game, which placed it at fourth-best in the conference.
  • Penn tied with Cornell for lowest completion percentage in the Ivy League with a 51.2% mark.
  • The Quakers’ running attack didn’t fare much better, finishing second-to-last in the conference in rushing yards per game.
  • Penn ran the second-fewest total offensive plays in the Ivy League, narrowly edging out Dartmouth by just one snap.
  • In 2019, Penn finished last in the conference for time of possession with just 27:50 of ball control a game.


Last season, Penn was straddled with an injury-ridden quarterback that it had to replace mid-season with a developing freshman — not exactly a recipe for success. This go-around, the Quakers have a new offensive coordinator paired with now-sophomore quarterback Aidan Sayin who comes into the season with a decent amount of experience. The signs point to the potential for a revitalized offense, but whether or not Offensive Coordinator Dan Swanstrom and Sayin can get the job done together remains to be seen.

Penn’s secondary last season ranked near the top of the Ivy League — a rare bright spot during a tumultuous stretch. Although the Quakers lost key defensive backs Mohammed Diakite and Jason McCleod, Jr., the unit still boasts an impressive arsenal of experienced talent, including seniors safety Jaden Key and defensive back Kendren Smith, who will return after missing most of last season to injury.

In the run game — where the offense struggled as well — Penn will have a lot of work to do to replace defensive lineman Prince Emili and linebacker Brian O’Neill. It wasn’t a complete liability the way it was for Brown — which gave up a whopping 178.6 rushing yards per game — but if the Quakers want to have a shot at the Ivy title, they might need to raise their run defense to the level of their pass prevention.