Tigers Aim For Best Road Streak In 60+ Years During Showdown Of 2016 Ivy Co-Champions
Winning on the road is meant to be challenging. It is supposed to be a disadvantage.
Princeton has found a way to make it something far different.
The Tigers will play Saturday afternoon in one of their most familiar road venues, Franklin Field, and attempt to do something that Princeton hasn’t done since its national championship days (more on that in the notes below). They will also try to avoid their first losing streak since 2015, as well as keep their championship hopes alive in one of the wildest Ivy League seasons in recent memory.
But let’s face it, all of that is extra. When Princeton and Penn meet Saturday at 1 pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia/Chicago and the Ivy League Network, there won’t be much need for extra motivation, especially after the last two seasons, when both meetings had significant title implications.
After all, it’s Princeton-Penn. That is more than enough.
Lights, Camera, Action
Princeton returns to Franklin Field Saturday at 1 pm in a game that will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports Chicago, and streamed on the Ivy League Network. Joe Tordy (play-by-play) and Coffee Jones (color) will broadcast the game. Fans can listen to Cody Chrusciel and Craig Sachson live on the Princeton IMG Sports Network (103.3 FM WPRB in Princeton) or through the TuneIn app (search “Princeton IMG Sports Network”). The RWJ Barnabas Health pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
This will be the 109th meeting between Princeton and Penn in a series that dates back to Nov. 11, 1876, a game Princeton won 6-0-0 at University Field in Philadelphia. The two teams met for the first time at Franklin Field on Oct. 17, 1936, a game Penn won 7-0 on a 57-yard punt return touchdown by Lew Elverson; at the time, it was only Princeton’s second loss in 29 games.
This will be the 40th meeting between the two teams at Franklin Field, and it will break a 19-19-1 deadlock between the two historic programs. Princeton leads the all-time series 66-41-1, though Penn has won eight of the last 10 meetings at Franklin Field.
Princeton has won seven straight road games, which matches its longest road win streak in more than 60 years. The undefeated 1964 Ivy championship team began a seven-game road win streak that lasted through 1965 and ended with the first road game of 1966.
The last time Princeton won more than seven straight road games was 1949-1953, when the Tigers won 11 consecutive on the road. That stretch included Princeton’s 28th national championship season (1950), and the 1951 Heisman Trophy-winning season by Dick Kazmaier ’52. Kazmaier remains the only Princeton football player to ever have his number (42) retired.
We Are All The Champions
Saturday is a matchup of the 2016 Ivy League co-champions, as Princeton and Penn both went 6-1 in the Ivy League to share the Ivy crown. For Princeton, it was the program’s 11th Ivy title.
In Case You Had Forgotten
Princeton won the head-to-head matchup 28-0 over Penn last season.
The last meeting between Penn and Princeton at Franklin Field ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Tigers. Penn’s Donald Panciello blocked a game-winning field goal attempt by Nolan Bieck at the end of regulation to force overtime, and Alek Torgerson threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eric Fiore in overtime to finish a 26-23 Quaker win.
Saturday will feature a showdown of the Ivy League’s two leading wide receivers. Princeton junior Jesper Horsted leads the Ivy in both receptions (65) and receiving yards (815), while Penn senior Justin Watson is second in both categories (52, 719). Watson leads the Ivy League in touchdown catches (10), while Horsted is tied with teammate Stephen Carlsonfor second (8).
Watson is a two-time finalist for Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year honors; last year, he was the runner-up to Princeton’s John Lovett, who set a Princeton record with 20 rushing touchdowns but had offseason surgery and has yet to see the field this season.
Armed And Ready
Senior quarterback Chad Kanoff is putting together a historic season leading the Princeton offense. He ranks first in the FCS in completion percentage (75.0), third in completions per game (27.4), fifth in passing efficiency (168.0), and eighth in passing yards per game (322.1).
Kanoff is two weeks removed from a career effort, when he completed 31 of 35 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-17 win at Harvard. The effort, which earned him FCS National Offensive Player of the Week honors, was the eighth-most single-game passing yards in Princeton history. His completion percentage of .886 was just off the FCS single-game record (minimum 30 completions), which is .889.
Climbing The Charts
Chad Kanoff has a chance to set multiple single-season passing records for Princeton. He currently has 2,225 passing yards, and he needs to average 316.7 over the last three games to move past Doug Butler (1983) for the single-season record. He has 19 touchdown passes, six shy of the program record set by both Butler (1983) and Quinn Epperly (2013). He only needs 32 more completions to surpass Butler’s 1983 record of 224, and he is also on pace to surpass Jason Garrett’s 1987 record for completion percentage of 66.5 (Kanoff is currently at 75.0).
Head Of The Class
Chad Kanoff was named a semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, one of the top scholar-athlete honors in college football. Candidates for the award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
There have been three 1000-yard receiving seasons in Princeton football history (Derek Graham 1, Kevin Guthrie 2), but Jesper Horsted is making a strong push at the fourth. Horsted, who ranks in the FCS Top 10 in both catches and receiving yards per game, currently has 815 yards this season, an average of 116.4 per game.
Jesper Horsted is also on pace to break the Princeton single-season record for receptions. He has 65 catches through seven games, 23 shy of Kevin Guthrie’s 1983 record of 88, meaning Horsted needs to average 7.7 catches per game over the final three weeks to match the mark. Horsted, also an All-Ivy League centerfielder for the baseball team, has had at least eight catches in four of his last five, including 23 over the last two weeks.
Prior to the 2017 season, junior Stephen Carlson caught three passes for 14 yards. This season, he ranks fourth in the Ivy League in both receptions (47) and receiving yards (620), and he is tied with Horsted with eight touchdown catches this season (including two last weekend). The single-season record for touchdown receptions in a season is 11, set by both Derek Graham (1983) and Roman Wilson (2013).
From Beginning To End Zone
While Justin Watson leads the Ivy League in total touchdowns this season (10), Princeton junior running back Charlie Volker leads the league in points per game (9.0). Volker, who missed the season opener due to illness, has scored nine touchdowns over six games this season, including seven between the Brown and Harvard games.
Volker had a career day against Brown; he rushed for four touchdowns, including a Princeton-record 96-yard score against the Bears. That was the third-longest rushing touchdown in Ivy history.
Princeton ranks second in the FCS with a 52.0 third-down conversion percentage this season. In the Tigers’ five wins this season, they have converted 55.7% of third downs (39 of 70); in their two losses, they have converted 42.9%.
Tackling The Issue
Junior Tom Johnson entered the season as a new starter at inside linebacker. Over the first seven games this season, he has seen six defensive starters, including fellow linebacker Mark Fossati, suffer injuries that have or could cost each multiple games, including reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kurt Holuba, and former Ivy League sack leader Mike Wagner.
In their place, Johnson has taken over as the heart of the Princeton defense. He ranks fifth in the Ivy League with 62 tackles, and he earned a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll last weekend with a 16-tackle effort in the 29-28 loss to Cornell.
Tom and James Johnson are not the only members of their family on the Princeton team. Junior Sam Johnson, a reserve tight end, is the cousin of both. Sophomore Will Johnson, who moved from wide receiver to cornerback in the offseason, is not related.
Princeton ranks second in the Ivy League and 10th in the FCS in rushing defense. The Tigers have allowed only 84.6 rushing yards per game this season. Penn has one of the Ivy League’s top runners in Karekin Brooks, who is averaging 84.3 rushing yards per game.
In The Wolff’s Den
Senior linebacker Quincy Wolff recorded his first career interception last weekend. The team’s starting strongside linebacker, Wolff had a career-best nine tackles against Cornell, including one for a loss. He has already doubled his number of tackles from last season (26 in 2017, 13 in 2016).
CJ Wall earned his second Ivy League Rookie of the Week award following a standout effort against Georgetown, which included a 38-yard return for a touchdown. Wall, the Ivy leader with in both passes defended (8) and interceptions (3), is fifth on the team with 22 tackles and has started every game.
He is the first Princeton player to win the Rookie of the Week honor multiple times since 2012, when Anthony Gaffney won the award twice. The previous season, Chuck Dibilio earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors six times.
Due to graduations in the defensive backfield and injuries at the defensive line and linebacker position, the coaching staff has used freshmen far more than usual over the last few games. Six freshmen (DL Sam Wright and Connor Mills; LB James Johnson; DB CJ Wall, Delan Stallworth and Trevor Forbes) saw significant action last weekend and each made multiple tackles in the Cornell game.
While Wall has been a starting cornerback since the opener, Forbes has been the starting nickelback all season. Stallworth has played every game and is the top reserve cornerback. Johnson has been a staple on special teams and moved into the linebacker rotation after the Fossati injury. Both Wright and Mills have seen more action following four defensive lineman injuries over the last three games.
Be A Tiger
Princeton sophomore Tiger Bech doesn’t have enough returns to qualify for the Ivy League stats (has 12, needs 14), but he would lead the Ivy League with a kickoff return average of 24.4 yards per return. Bech has also become a standout slot receiver for Princeton; he has 27 catches for 332 yards this season, including his first career touchdown reception at Brown. He had his most productive game of the season last weekend, when he caught seven passes for 97 yards, including a 29-yarder on the final drive.
Both Princeton and Penn have shown impressive discipline this season. The Tigers lead the league and rank fourth in the FCS with only 4.0 penalties per game, while Penn ranks second in the Ivies with 5.0 per game.
Special teams — in particular, blocks — have played a key role in this series recently. In 2015, Penn blocked a potential game-winning field goal in the final seconds and won in overtime. Last year, Jesper Horsted blocked a Penn punt that was returned for a touchdown for the first score in a 28-0 Princeton win.
Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’90 is the reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year, and he is a three-time finalist for FCS National Head Coach of the Year honors. Earlier this season, he earned a win over former teammate and close friend John Garrett ’88, who is in his first year as the head coach at Lafayette.
Princeton has had three players selected in the NFL Draft over the last five years (Mike Catapano ’13, Caraun Reid ’14, and Seth DeValve ’16). Both Reid and DeValve have scored multiple touchdowns in their young NFL careers, and DeValve has ranked among the NFL’s top tight ends early in his second season.
Home Sweet Home
Princeton returns home Nov. 11 to take on Yale at 1 pm. It will be both Military Appreciation and Senior Day on Powers Field, and it will be Alumni Weekend at the University. The first 1000 fans at Princeton Stadium will receive an exclusive Camo Princeton hat. Tickets are still available at GoPrincetonTigers.com. The game will be televised on Eleven Sports, and it will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network.
Princeton Football • By The Numbers
1 • latest Princeton ranking among universities by U.S. News & World Report
6 • televised Princeton games this season; eight of the 10 games will also be shown on the ILN or ESPN3
9 • Princeton football players who have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships
11 • Ivy League Championships won by Princeton since the league officially formed in 1956
15 • Princeton players picked in the NFL Draft; three were taken in the last five years
22 • career interceptions by Dean Cain, former “Superman” star; total remains an Ivy League record
26 • Princeton players and coaches who are in the College Football Hall of Fame
28 • national titles won by Princeton; no college football program can claim more
42 • number worn by 1951 Heisman Trophy recipient Dick Kazmaier; no Princeton player has worn the number since
43.7 • points per game scored by the Ivy champion 2013 Princeton Tigers; total remains an Ivy League record
72 • Princeton’s total first-team All-America honorees; John Lovett (2016) is the most recent
153 • points Princeton scored during its last four must-win games of the 2016 title season; the opposing teams combined for only 31
193 • career receptions for Kevin Guthrie, the all-time Princeton leader
1869 • the year of the first college football game, played between Rutgers and Princeton
1878 • Princeton’s first “Big Three” title; the University celebrates with a bonfire on Cannon-Green when the Tigers sweep Harvard and Yale
4,208 • career rushing yards for Keith Elias, the Princeton record holder
27,800 • seating capacity at Princeton Stadium, which celebrates its 20th year in 2017, and where our tradition continues this season
|Week 8: Princeton (5-2, 2-2 Ivy) at Penn (3-4, 1-3 Ivy)|
|Date • Time • Location||Nov. 4, 2017 • 1 pm • Franklin Field • Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Watch Live||NBC Sports Philadelphia/Chicago l Ivy League Network|
|Tickets||Penn Ticket Office|
|Radio||103.3 FM l Listen Live on the TuneIn App|
|Game Coverage||Live Stats l @PUTigers l @PUTigerFootball|
|All-Time Series||Princeton leads 66-41-1|
|Last Meeting • Current Streak||PRINCETON 28, Penn 0 l Princeton 1 win|
|Princeton Information||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Penn Information||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Ivy League||Standings l Statistics l Weekly Release|
|Last Week||Cornell 29, PRINCETON 28 l Penn 17, BROWN 7|
|Next Week||Nov 11: Yale at Princeton (1 pm • Eleven Sports/Ivy League Network)|