On Jan. 22, five Penn football alumni will represent the Quakers and the Ivy League at the Dream Bowl in Tokyo. They will join nearly 50 other players from the other schools in the Ancient Eight and former Penn coach and current Columbia head coach Al Bagnoli to face off against all-stars from the X League, Japan’s National Football Association.
The five alumni playing this weekend are quarterback Ryan Glover, running back Isaiah Malcome, wide receiver Ryan Cragun, defensive back Jason McCleod Jr., and tight end Shane Sweitzer.
The Dream Bowl is a continuation of the tradition started by the Epson Ivy Bowl, which took place between 1989 and 1996 and also involved Ivy League players playing Japan’s all-stars.
With the Ivy League not partaking in the FCS tournament or any other form of postseason, the Dream Bowl is a unique opportunity for seniors and recent Ivy League graduates to showcase their skills. The game can also help improve interest in American football in Japan and exhibit local talent.
Glover played for three years before his senior season was canceled due to COVID-19. He appeared in 16 total games, and saw the most success during the 2018 campaign. That year, Glover started in all 10 games and completed 122 passes for seven touchdowns and 1,482 yards. Additionally, he ran the ball 100 times for a total of 300 yards and two touchdowns. Following his graduation from Penn in spring 2021, he transferred to California-Berkeley for his final year of eligibility.
Malcome excelled the most during his last year with Penn in 2021, earning Second-Team All-Ivy that season and cementing his place as Penn’s all-time leader in yards per carry. The Atlanta native started in all 10 games in 2021, rushing for 719 yards and six touchdowns as well as catching 29 passes for 201 yards and another touchdown. Malcolme's seven total touchdowns led Penn on the season.
Cragun also played for three seasons with the Quakers, appearing in 19 total games, including nine during his sophomore year in 2019. That year, he was named Second-Team All-Ivy after finishing the season with 58 catches for 885 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, Cragun finished his Penn career ranking 10th in program history with 1,385 receiving yards. After graduation, Cragun used his year of eligibility at UCLA in 2022.
McCleod appeared in all 10 games during both his sophomore and senior years, with his junior season canceled due to COVID-19. He received Second-Team All-Ivy in 2021 and finished his senior season with three interceptions, 15 pass breakups, 18 passes defended, and 34 tackles. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native led the Ivy League in both pass breakups and passes defended and finished second in the nation for passes defended per game (1.8). He also used his graduate eligibility at Sacred Heart in 2022.
Sweitzer appeared in 20 total games as a Quaker and completed his fifth year at Penn this fall. Sweitzer started out as a linebacker, before switching to tight end late into his Penn career. In total, Sweitzer made 11 receptions for 119 yards as a Quaker.
The players arrived in Tokyo on Jan. 15, and in addition to preparing for the Dream Bowl, will also take part in several cultural experiences facilitated by two Ivy League professors. Among the festivities announced are a visit to the U.S. embassy and discussions with the Japanese players and team. The Dream Bowl will be held on Jan. 21 at 11 p.m. EST (Jan. 22, 1 p.m. JST).