Penn Sports Plus: Men’s Rugby

This week, we sat down with Doug Swift, an England native, and president of the Penn men’s rugby team, who discussed recent successes and the future of the fiercely competitve club sport.

How did you get into rugby?

Swift: So, I’ve been playing rugby since I was five, back in England. I played throughout Lower School, Middle School, and High School. After a gap year, when I realized I was going to come to America, I scouted out some of the schools I was applying to and it was an absolute bonus that Penn had a great program.

Being from England, most of the players that try rugby out in the States are football players or ex-football players. How do their skills translate in the game of Rugby?

Swift: There are certainly skills that do transfer over. But, you'd be surprised Americans are kind of wimpy. The tackle technique is more different than people give it credit for, and the fact that we don’t wear pads means that there is some adjustment. However, especially defensively the skills do transfer over.

So, you guys just played Brown this past weekend. What does your club look to do playing teams like Brown, Cornell, and Dartmouth who are more active in recruiting players?

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Game 22: Brown – The Good, Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly

FULL RECAP // BOX SCORE

THE GOOD: Penn's three-point shooting

There was a lot of good to around for the Quakers against the Bears, but the Red and Blue kept throwing dagger after dagger from downtown that ultimately put this one in the bag for most of the second half. Penn shot 60 percent from beyond the arc, while limiting the Bears to an atrocious 2-for-18 from downtown.

Junior Miles Cartwright, who broke his career high in points with 28 (previously 27), did so predominantly with the three ball. He went 9-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-6 from three.

THE BAD: Brown's stamina

There was an eerie feeling on press row, right around 6:40, when Brown came out to warm up. And after watching the second half unfold as it did, with Penn outscoring the Bears, 45-23, the DP's resident ghostbuster has determined the cause. Brown came with just nine players, and two of them only played a total of six minutes. Thus, Brown ran essentially a seven-man rotation the entire night. While this worked out fine in the first half, Penn was eventually able to crank the tempo up and run the few bodies that the Bears had out of the Palestra and back into the snowstorm from whence they came.

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Penn Football: Program Throwback

On the dawn of Homecoming, many alums will be making their way back to our neck of the woods and reliving their Penn memories. There's no doubt Penn has changed over the years, and the same goes for the sports culture. Leading up to the matchup against Brown this Saturday, we take a look back at a few vintage programs from some of the good ol' days of Penn football.

— via historicfootballposters.com


The Quakers shutout the Bears, 50-0, in this 1945 matchup (left).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is the Penn season program from '06 — 1906 that is.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penn rendered Brown scoreless in this late October 1961 game:

Turn Back the Clock: Oct. 10, 1987

DP archives: Sophomore tailback Bryan Keys ran for 126 total yards in the game, including his 68-yard touchdown run.

Penn Football comes back to defeat Brown, 38-17
October 10, 1987

Oct. 10: Penn 38, Brown 17

It was 1987 and the Penn football team reigned as defending Ivy League champions since 1982.

But a solid Brown team was coming to the Frank with the hopes of taking the title away from the Quakers.

And for a while, it looked like Brown would.

The Quakers came into the game 1-1 in the League, while the Brown Bruins (now Bears) were 2-0.

The game began with a Brown rally starting with a touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Mark Donovan to Jamie Simone. It was followed by another touchdown on a run by Donovan, who followed by waving the ball in the faces of the Quakers on the field.

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He’s baaaaack: Glen Miller a candidate for Brown head coach job

Glen Miller might be the smartest man to ever coach Ivy League basketball.

Word up the Northeast corridor is that Miller is a candidate for the head coach opening at Brown in the wake of Jesse Agel's firing. Miller was the most successful coach in Bears history, before he left to take Fran Dunphy's coveted position coaching at Penn in 2006. After devastating the Quakers' program in 3.5 short years, Miller was fired, and has since served as Basketball Operations coordinator and an assistant under Jim Calhoun.

GoLocalProv.com has more on the short list for the Brown job (which includes Penn assistant and stud Mike Martin).

So why is Miller the smartest coach in the history of the Ancient Eight? After running the Penn program into the ground during his tenure here, he destroyed the League's most successful program over the previous decade. It was all just a beautifully concocted mastermind plan to derail the competition and, when he returns to coach the Bears, bring an Ivy title to Providence.

Inception.

Penn basketball vs. Brown highlights and presser

Highlights from Penn's 54-43 win over Brown Friday night, courtesy of video editor Dan Nessenson:

And here are Jerome Allen and Zack Rosen in the post-gam press conference:

Game 29: Brown – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Recap: Penn beats Brown 54-43 for sixth straight win

The Good: Tyler Bernardini with game-changing effort. Although it's no secret that Bernardini has been hurt, he played one of his best games in weeks. From diving all over the floor to two dagger threes, Bernardini played with the heart of a fifth-year senior who is doing everything in his power to finish his season in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bad: Trailing at halftime. The Quakers have tended to play to their level of competition throughout the season and tonight was no exception. Penn trailed in the first half, 22-24, as the team only shot 10-for-27 in the first period. Trailing for much of the game may take a toll on their bodies as they will have to play another two games in four days.

The Ugly: Bernardini has a rebound stolen away from him. After Dockery Walker missed a ten-footer with 10:07 remaining in the second half, Bernardini grabbed the board only to have it taken right out of his hands by Walker. The Brown forward put in a layup to cut the Bears' deficit to one. After the game, coach Jerome Allen would say that he forgave Bernardini after he dove out of bounds to save a ball underneath the Bears' basket on the following series.

 

Penn basketball early scouting report: Brown

We're still two days out from the biggest Ivy League game of the season for Penn (every game is the biggest one, right, coach Allen?) but it's high time to take a look at who the Quakers will face Friday night when the Brown Bears (8-21, 2-10 Ivy) come to town:

Megan Soisson/DP File Photo

(Megan Soisson/DP file photo)

Previously in Providence. Penn split it's weekend trip to Connecticut and Rhode Island, beating Brown 65-48 — the biggest win of the season for Penn — on Saturday, Feb. 4, after falling to Yale the previous night. Rob Belcore gets the player of the game award, scoring a team-high 17 points with 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. Zack Rosen had 11 points and five assists on the night. Brown's Andrew McCarthy, who averages 10 points per game this season, dropped 20 on the Quakes, cleaning up with 12 rebounds, as well. Reigning Ivy Rookie of the Year, Brown sophomore Sean McGonagill was held to three points in all 40 minutes, and coughed up seven turnovers. From the DP's recap:

“Talk about bouncing back — that’s the magic of the Ivy League,” Belcore said. “That’s what you have to do. That’s what good teams are supposed to do. We’re a senior-led team, [myself], Zack [Rosen], Tyler [Bernardini] and Mike [Howlett]. We’ve been through the ringer for a long time and we’re not going to let this team fold.”

Right? Right.

Since then: While the Quakers have rattled off a five game winning-streak, Bruno has picked up five losses — totaling eight-straight Ls. But Brown's fate changed this weekend when it avenged a loss to Columbia in a 94-78 shellacking of the Lions that looked more like the NBA All-Star game than Ivy League basketball. Brown's star  McGonagill scored 28 points with eight assists.

A question: Do they get free Clam Chowder when the Bears score 100 points at Pizzitola? Almost, guys. Almost.

Transfiguration: Watch out for McGonagill, who averages 14 points per game. He was banged up in the Quakers win earlier this season, but continued to play with limited effectiveness due to Brown's injury-depleted roster. He hit 5-of-7 threes in the big win over Columbia. In conference play, however, junior guard Matt Sullivan has emerged as Brown's leading scorer. He's shooting 51 percent from three in Ivy games.

Bear necessities: Here's how the two teams stack up, which in several categories is much closer than the records indicate:

  • Scoring offense: Penn (2nd) 65.9 ppg, Brown (7th) 62.7 ppg
  • Scoring defense: Penn (6th) 65.3 ppg, Brown (8th) 69.6 ppg
  • FG%: Penn (3rd) .445, Brown (6th) .411
  • FG defense %: Penn (7th) .433, Brown (8th) .451
  • Rebounding margin: Penn (6th) -2.9, Brown (7th) -5.5
  • Assists/Turnover: Brown (2nd) 1.1, Penn (3rd) 1.1
  • Average home attendance: Penn (1st) 4,462, Brown (8th), 1,007
  • Violent Crime: Penn (7th) 12.15 crimes per 1000 residents, Brown (4th) 6.84 crimes per 1000 residents.

New Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has Ivy League ties

Penn State will have another Brown graduate at the helm of its football program.

Bill O'Brien, who is currently serving as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, has been chosen to succeed Joe Paterno.

O'Brien graduated from Brown in 1992 and played defensive end and linebacker for the Bears from 1990-1992. Paterno graduated from Brown in 1950 and played quarterback and cornerback.

O'Brien stayed with the Ancient Eight upon graduating, coaching Brown's tight ends in 1993 and linebackers in 1994. He then coached at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke. He has been with the Patriots since 2007, taking over as offensive coordinator this season.

O'Brien had little success against Penn as a player and coach, posting a 1-4 record. His only win over the Quakers came in 1990, a 24-17 victory at home. He suffered four losses to Penn from 1991-1994 by a combined score of 124-28.

An official announcement about the hire will be made on Saturday January 7th. O'Brien will continue to coach the Patriots throughout the playoffs.

O'Brien will certainly have his hands full taking over for Paterno amid the ongoing investigation at Penn State. How do you think the Ivy League grad will do?

Mano-A-Mano: The End of the Streak

ManoAMano1Saturday's Snow Bowl of sorts against Brown saw the end of Penn football's 18-game Ivy winning streak, which dated back to Nov. 15, 2008, as Penn lost by a putrid count of 6-0. Now, the Quakers' quest for a third straight Ivy title hangs in the balance, with still-undefeated Harvard now solely atop the League. A 6-0 loss is a 6-0 loss, but was the result mostly due to the weather, as our esteemed columnist Ethan Alter argues? Let's tango.

Question 1: Was Saturday's volatile weather to blame for Penn's loss?

Brian Kotloff: I thought Ethan brought up some important points in his column, but I have to disagree a bit. He called the Quakers the more "athletic" team and as a result, said they were more affected by the awful playing conditions. I actually think the rain and mud should've helped Penn more than Brown. After all, the Bears have the air-it-out offense, led by QB Kyle Newhall-Cabellero, while the Quakers have the old-school, pound-it-down-your-throats mentality. And what says old-school football more than a battle in the mud? It's true that the elements can act as "the equalizer," neutralizing one team's physical advantages over the other. But outside of Billy Ragone's juke-and-cut scrambling, Penn actually runs a pretty vanilla brand of offense. Theoretically (and historically based on other rainy/snowy games I've seen), the Quakers should have been able to let power backs Brandon Colavita and Jeff Jack go to work all day, while defense should have been easier with Newhall-Cabellero and his quick receivers struggling in the rain. The passing game was the Bears' biggest advantage heading into the game, considering how much Penn's young secondary has struggled this season. Give Brown credit for adjusting and beating the two-time champs at their own game.

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