The Penn Quakers travel to New Haven to take on the Bulldogs at the Bowl on Saturday at noon. The game will be aired on ESPN+ and NESN.
Penn suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Columbia last week in a 44-6 contest. Expect Penn to bounce back and play with a high level of intensity after Ray Priore fired up his squad this week.
The Quakers have a very balanced offensive strategy as they have rushed for 1079 yards with 7 touchdowns and they have passed for 1078 yards and 7 touchdowns. The offense is led by senior quarterback Nick Robinson (6’2”, 205 lbs.). Robinson has completed just under 58% of his passes this season with only one interception. Strong opposing pass rushes have had a large effect on his timing and accuracy. The star of Penn’s offense is senior running back Karekin Brooks. Brooks is a solid back with great balance and the ability to break tackles. He’s rushed for 689 yards this season averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Sophomore wide receivers Ryan Cragun and Rory Starkey, Jr. are Robinson’s favorite targets in the passing game. Look for Priore to find ways to get Cragun and Starkey the ball often given Yale’s secondary struggles over the last two weeks. Penn’s offensive line is above average overall with run blocking being the key strength. The Yale defense can be successful if it limits Brooks on the ground and generates ample pressure on Robinson on passing downs.
Penn’s defensive line was impressive in the first drive of the Quakers game versus Dartmouth, but they could not sustain that high level of performance over sixty minutes. Senior defensive lineman Prince Emili (6’2”, 275 lbs.) and junior defensive lineman David Ryslik (6’4”, 280 lbs.) will pose challenges for our injury depleted offensive line. Emili and Ryslik have combined for 45 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Penn always seems to have talented linebackers leading their defensive efforts. Zach Evans and Brian O’Neill are no exception. Evans has racked up 44 tackles to lead the defense, while O’Neill has posted 31 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and an interception. Our offensive line will need to get hands on second level defenders this week to spring runs from Lamar and Dudek. The Quakers could not contain Columbia’s dual threat quarterback last week allowing him to run for 95 yards and complete 70% of his passes. Senior safety and two-time 2nd Team All-Ivy selection Sam Philippi is the heart of the secondary with 20 tackles and an interception on the season.
Sophomore punter Jake Haggard averages an efficient 38.9 yards per punt, while junior kicker David Perkins has had difficulties in the kicking game making just one field goal on five attempts. Penn has been dynamic on kick returns and punts returns averaging 21.0 yards and 16.2 yards respectively. Special teams could be the deciding factor in this contest, so the Bulldogs will need to limit the mental errors that plagued us versus Richmond.