Penn heads to NYC for Saturday battle with Columbia

Matt Leon
October 16, 2019 - 1:22 pm
Penn WR Rory Starkey Jr.

Penn Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Penn Quakers head to New York City this weekend for a Saturday afternoon Ivy League match-up with the Columbia Lions.

The Quakers improved to 2-2 (0-1 Ivy) this past Saturday with a 38-24 non-league win over Sacred Heart at Franklin Field. 

"We went into the game having certain goals," Penn head coach Ray Priore told KYW Newsradio. "First goal was to get out fast and early and we scored (14) points in the first quarter which was really, really good. With that, we had to get some turnovers during the course of the game. We were able to get a big interception on their second drive, bringing it down to the three-yard line, giving another scoring opportunity for the offense. That's when you're playing really good football if you compliment each other."

The Quakers intercepted Sacred Heart quarterback Logan Marchi twice in the win, the first two turnovers the Penn defense has forced this season. 

The Penn offense was led by senior running back Karekin Brooks, who finished with 178 yards rushing and four touchdowns (1 receiving).

Brooks has been a consistent force throughout his career as the lead back for Penn, but the Quakers are now complimenting him with some young dynamic receivers. Sophomore Ryan Cragun returned from an injury to notch three catches against Sacred Heart, and fellow sophomore Rory Starkey, Jr. had a huge game against the Pioneers.

"It was great to get Ryan back," Priore said. "Obviously, through our first two games for us this season, he was excelling in everything we were doing. Missed the Dartmouth game and to get him back (against Sacred Heart). Was really great to see. He had a couple big catches on the day. With that, we've developed another young gentleman, RJ Starkey, who had a big game of eight catches over 100 yards (129) and a touchdown. It's really great to see those guys step up in those opportunities when they're given."

Columbia, coached by former Penn head coach Al Bagnoli, is 1-3 on the season (0-1 Ivy). Last week they lost a home non-league game against Central Connecticut State, 24-14.

"They're playing really, really good defense, keep you in check," Priore said. "They do not want you to run the football and they've been very stingy that way. On offense, they have some explosive receivers. So once again, we'll have to go up and play well against another good opponent."

Last year, these two teams met at Franklin Field with Penn pulling out a 13-10 win.

Saturday's game in New York gets underway at 1:30 p.m.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.