Friday, October 14, 2016

Reunion on the Schuylkill

Columbia is hoping Penn sees a lot of Alan Watson's back

Columbia Lions at Pennsylvania Quakers

October 15, 2016

Location: Franklin Field

Kickoff Time: 3:00pm

Game Time Weather Forecast:  65 degrees and sunny

The Spread: Penn is favored by 14 points 


The game will be broadcast nationally on One World Sports Network. It is available on FIOS, but I'm not sure what other cable providers carry it. Check your local listings/channel guide. Superior audio commentary from Jerry Recco and Sal Licata is available on the Columbia Audio Network. 

Leading Story Lines

1) I really didn't want to give any time to what I thought was a bogus complaint by some backers of Head Coach Al Bagnoli that Penn fans and alums were somehow disrespectful or showing their ingratitude to him. I thought those complaints were overstated by a lot. But then I got a look at the Penn game notes for this contest and I noticed that Bagnoli's name is not even mentioned. Not once. Frankly, this is really low class. It's not like anyone really wants some kind of grand homage, let alone a halftime or pregame ceremony. But not to even mention this is Bagnoli's return to Franklin Field is indeed disrespectful and ungrateful. I've always pushed back on the constant accusations that Penn represents the least gentlemanly sports fans and alums in the Ivies. I laughed at that accusation considering no Ivy fans are anywhere near as nasty as most fans of major college sports or pro teams. But this really makes the Quaker faithful and the entire administration look bad. Penn's usual "let's be dismissive of Columbia" mindset is not appropriate here. 

2) Penn blew through Columbia last year as the Quakers were just getting into gear for their title run. The win over the Lions was their first Ivy victory of 2015. The expectation now is for more of the same. Columbia is basically being seen as a total patsy.

3) The Lions are indeed banged up at WR. Super rookie Josh Wainwright and steady 5th year senior Scooter Hollis will not play based on some added information from sources. This could thus be a big chance for some new players to make an impact. 

Players to Watch

Columbia RB Alan Watson #5 had a break out game against Wagner last week. With the CU passing game likely even more hampered by injuries, Watson will have to perform against a Quaker defense that's done better against the run lately... or at least has had the good fortune to not have to face a very good RB since Fordham in week two. 

Penn QB Alek Torgersen #10 is the best QB in the Ivies. He can spread the ball around and really hurt defense that otherwise shut down the pass. He can scramble and run. If he gets into a groove, you're doomed. 

Columbia LB Gianmarco Rea #34. Rea is now the Ivy League leading tackler, and he'll have plenty of opportunities to add to that total as he'll be tasked with spying Torgersen's every move and trying to stop Penn's top RB Tre Solomon. But so far, Rea has risen to the challenge in every game. 

Penn LB Colton Moskal #44. Moskal is starting to make some serious noise as you'd expect from a Syracuse transfer coming into the Ivy League. Something tells me this game on national TV will inspire him even more. 

If, Then

-If Columbia can get a solid running game going with Watson and running QB Anders Hill, then the entire complexion of the game could change. The only two teams to establish the run against Penn this year were Lehigh and Fordham, the two teams that beat the Quakers. 

-If Penn is able to complete lots of high percentage passes and then get 8-11 yards after the catch like the Quakers did vs. the Lions last year, then the game will get out of hand very quickly. 

-If the Columbia defense can get to Torgersen and knock him down early and fairly often, Penn might not have a very good plan B. 


oldlion said...

Totally classless. Is anybody really surprised?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't read too much into the omission in the game notes. Coach Bagnoli has said his goodbyes, he knows who is friends are. If someone holds a grudge for 23 years and 9 championships then that is on them. Can't imagine the Penn sports information staff being that ignorant.

Chen1982 said...

Well...There is a bit of precedent right now of classless Penn grads...but most of Penn is disavowing knowledge of him

DOC said...

Possibly they're ticked off that Al didn't stay in their little desk job and instead resigns in order to coach one of their biggest Ivy rivals-ya think ?

Don Antaky said...

Hard to believe that although we recruit the entire United States, we can't locate one or two players who can catch a football.


Peter Stevens said...

I've seen enough of Hill to conclude that we will not win with him this year or next. .
Hill has shown no improvement over the past 2 seasons. His negatives far outweigh his strengths. It's time to play the frosh, if Skyler remains on shelf.

Hill's positives are that he is big, strong, tough, spirited and has a powerful arm.

On the negative side, he has shown time and time again, he is not an accurate passer. Almost every ball whether short or long, is either too high, too low, too far behind or too far in front of the intended receiver;

He has no touch at all. Nearly every throw is a fast ball whether it's 5 or 50 yds.

He makes bad decisions throwing--He holds onto ball too long which leads to fumbles, sacks, forced throws or mindless scrambles.

He doesn't have a good sense when to scramble or run.

When he does run, it seems that he just hopes for the best.

I'm trying to think when was last time we had such a terrible starting QB.

Question: if Hill is in there because he's supposed to be a hard-nosed, tough, running QB, why did Bags take him out on a crucial 4th and 1 and then again at the goal line-- both times he brought in a frosh -w/o any playing experience at all. And the frosh wasn't in there to throw either. He simply took snaps and charged toward the line. Isn't that supposed to be Hill 's strength?

Look for Bags to make change early against Dartmouth if Hill has slow start.

alawicius said...

Only way to respond is to win. Maybe next year at home. If we can shore up at linebacker and QB (two pretty big ifs) to, we might have what it takes.

Roar Lion said...

It is hard to see how we'll win much this year or next without a significant upgrade at QB. Skylar's numbers were better than Hill's last year. The decision to turn the team captain into a special teams player and go with a QB who has been ineffective over two seasons is mysterious.

Despite the final score, it is encouraging that we were 21-10 in the 4th quarter before we seemed to run out of gas. Penn thumped Dartmouth on the road harder than they beat us at home. Homecoming is winnable.