Princeton vs. Penn football preview

i-f40707b606b63cf196dc036b187697f7-Franklin_Field.jpg
(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Princeton (2-5, 1-3 Ivy) at
Penn (5-2, 4-0 Ivy)
Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m.
Franklin Field
Philadelphia, Pa.

Princeton’s 17-13 win over Cornell Oct. 31 came with a pair of important firsts: the Tigers’ first Ivy League victory and their first come-from-behind win. The fourth quarter was particularly rewarding, head coach Roger Hughes said: “We had a big fourth-down stop to get the ball back. We were able to run most of the time off the clock in our four-minute offense, and our quarterback [Tommy Wornham ’12] and our wide receiver Trey Peacock ’11 were able to make some explosive plays, which we hadn’t been able to do so far.”

Peacock caught three passes, two of them on touchdown plays. His 78-yard game-winning catch and run was the longest passing play in five years for the Princeton offense.

This week, the Tigers face a hot Penn team that has won five consecutive games and looks poised to challenge Harvard for the Ivy championship. A Princeton win could cripple the Quakers’ Ivy ambitions, but according to Hughes, the Tigers are not motivated by a chance to play the spoiler role.

“The Penn-Princeton rivalry has always been a big game … so I don’t know if the spoiler role has anything to do with it,” he said. “Our kids like to play each other, and our kids know that it’s a high-energy, very physical and emotional game when we get together.”

Culbreath update

Jordan Culbreath ’10, the team captain and star running back who has been fighting a rare and serious blood disorder this fall, returned to the Princeton sideline for the Cornell game. His presence, Hughes said, provided a lift for the team. “It was kind of a relief to our team to see that he’s doing OK,” the coach said. “It’d been the first time that they’d seen Jordan in about four weeks. … The treatment is progressing like it should, and it was good to see his smiling face.” When the team presented the game ball to Culbreath after the victory, Hughes said, “I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the house.”

History

The Princeton-Penn rivalry has seen close games in the last three years: a memorable 31-30 overtime win for Princeton in 2006, followed by 7-0 and 14-9 victories for Penn in 2007 and 2008. In the last two games, the Tigers have struggled to score on the Quaker defense, a trend that may continue this week. Penn leads the Ivies in points allowed (11.6 per game) and yards allowed (228.7), while Princeton ranks last in scoring and seventh in total offense.

Players to watch

Princeton safety Dan Kopolovich ’10

Kopolovich is one of a handful of Princeton seniors who played meaningful minutes during the team’s 2006 Ivy championship season. Last season, he split time between offense and defense, serving as a backup quarterback and starting defensive back. This year, he has played defense full time, showing versatility and leadership on the field. He has broken up more passes (six) than any other Tiger, and his 23 solo tackles rank second on the team.

Penn quarterbacks Kyle Olson and Keiffer Garton

Olson, a senior, and Garton, a junior, have split time at quarterback this year, though not exactly by design. Both players have been slowed by injuries. (At one point, the Quakers had to turn to their fourth quarterback, after third-stringer Billy Ragone broke his collarbone.) The strong-armed Olson had a career day in last week’s overtime win over Brown, throwing for 313 yards. In the Nov. 3 Ivy media conference call, Penn head coach Al Bagnoli was not sure if Garton, the more mobile of the two top quarterbacks, would be able to play this week.

Around the Ivies

Penn and Harvard, each 4-0, are the only teams that do not have at least two Ivy losses, so the game of the year appears to be next week’s matchup of the Quakers and Crimson in Cambridge. To stay unbeaten, Harvard will need to get past Columbia (1-3) in New York this week. In other action, Yale hosts Brown (both teams are 2-2) and Cornell travels to Dartmouth (both are 1-3).

Final quote

On who will be behind center for Penn: “We don’t know half the time. Ideally, you want the same kid there, but it just hasn’t worked out. Last week, Kyle Olson did a nice job. We asked him to open up the offense a little bit, and we played a little bit more to his strengths. … Hopefully this week, we’ll be able to have both kids available to us.”

– Penn head coach Al Bagnoli

Princeton’s probable starters

Offense

Defense

WR 19 – Trey Peacock ’11

LT 75 – Mark Paski ’10

LG 65 – Andrew Mills ’11

C 78 – Andrew Hauser ’10

RG 76 – Marc Daou ’10

RT 72 – J.P. Makrai ’10

TE 48 – Harry Flaherty ’11

WR 82 – Jeb Heavenrich ’11

or 9 – Andrew Kerr ’11

QB 7 – Tommy Wornham ’12

TB 29 – Meko McCray ’11

FB 25 – Matt Zimmerman ’11

K 99 – Ben Bologna ’10

DE 92 – Matt Boyer ’11

NT 91 – Kevin DeMaio ’12

DE 85 – Joel Karacozoff ’10

LB 50 – John Callahan ’10

LB 51 – Steve Cody ’11

LB 45 – Jon Olofsson ’11

LB 56 – Brad Stetler ’10

CB 3 – Cart Kelly ’10

S 17 – Wilson Cates ’10

S 18 – Dan Kopolovich ’10

CB 23 – Glenn Wakam ’11

P 41 – Otavio Fleury ’12

or 31 – Joe Cloud ’13

 

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