Penn vs. Princeton: Quakers Look to Take Control in Ivy League Standings

Mark BatorAnalyst IINovember 2, 2012

Nov 20, 2010; Princeton, NJ, USA;  Despite the efforts of Princeton Tigers defensive linemen Matt Boyer (92) and Dan Fitzsimmons (13), Dartmouth Big Green quarterback Conner Kempe (19) gets pass off.  Dartmouth Big Green defeats Princeton Tigers 31-0. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

On the heels of their defeat by the Cornell Big Red, the Princeton Tigers play host to the Penn Quakers this weekend with the Ivy League title at stake. The Quakers, like Princeton, hold a 3-1 Ivy record, but whereas the Tigers are coming off last week’s bitter defeat, Penn won its game on a late field goal by Connor Loftus.

Connor Michelsen will look to rebound from his performance against the Big Red, and receiver Roman Wilson should figure prominently into the Tigers’ offensive plans this week. Wilson has now posted two 100-yard games in a row and currently leads the Ivy League with a 19.9 yards-per-catch average.

Princeton has shown marked improvement this season, but Penn has historically been a difficult opponent. Currently, the Tigers hold the overall edge 63-39-1 over the Quakers, but Penn head coach Al Bagnoli currently sports a 15-5 record against Princeton. More importantly, he is 2-0 in head-to-head meetings against his counterpart, Princeton head coach Bob Surace.

The Quakers' ground attack is powered by RB Jeff Jack (341 yards, two TDs) and QB Billy Ragone (320 yards, two TDs). Ragone has been good this season (100-of-170 for 1,088 yards and eight TDs) with a 119.9 QB efficiency rating. Like Princeton, Penn will also utilize the two-quarterback system, and Andrew Holland (50-of-77 for 550 yards and three TDs) has been a capable backup.

The main targets for Penn’s QBs have been the trio of WR Connor Scott (41 receptions), RB Lyle Marsh (29 receptions) and WR Ryan Mitchell (23 receptions). Both Marsh and Scott have four touchdowns on the season.

But perhaps where Penn holds the most distinct advantage is at placekicker, and this matchup may well come down to the foot of Connor Loftus as the deciding factor in the game. Loftus has been reliable, nearly automatic this season. As evidenced last week, the sophomore kicker can make crucial field goals in the clutch. In addition to the game-winning field goal against Brown last week, Loftus also kicked the late-game three pointer that tied the contest.

For both teams, it is nearly a must-win game. Suffering a second loss in Ivy League play will make it difficult for the loser to overcome the setback, especially with powerhouse Harvard (6-1) continuing to roll.

Game Time: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1pm in Princeton, N.J. Television: ESPN 3.