30 Seconds With… Greg Van Roten

Greg Van Roten (left) originally signed with the Packers practice squad but has since been moved to the active roster.

Those who watched the Giants crush the Packers on Sunday Night Football this week may have caught a glimpse of former Penn football player and current Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Greg Van Roten. As we wrote two weeks ago, the 2011 grad currently serves as a backup center and guard and is taking practice snaps with the first team (see story), but he's also been playing on special teams.

We took the time to question Van Roten on some of non-Packers questions in this edition of 30 Seconds With:

Do you have Aaron Rodgers’ cell phone number?
No, I don’t think anybody has that.

Best food in Green Bay?
Cheese Cake Heaven. We all go there for the sandwiches, but they’re famous for dessert.

What do you miss most about Penn?
Where do I start? All my friends mostly, but also being in a city like Philly. Never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. I miss Philly.

Best dancer on the team?
Donald Driver, he won Dancing with the Stars.

Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez?
Ha, neither.

Liveblog — Penn football vs. Cornell

Will Penn football win its third outright Ivy League title in four years? It all comes down to today's season finale in Ithaca, N.Y., where senior quarterback Andrew Holland will make his first and only career start for the Quakers (5-4, 5-1 Ivy) in place of injured QB Billy Ragone. Opposing him will be Jeff Mathews of Cornell (4-5, 2-4), who set an Ancient Eight record for passing yards against the Red and Blue a season ago at Franklin Field. Sports Editor Mike Wisniewski and staff writer Steven Jaffe bring you the action live:

This Week on 33rd Street: Nov. 16

Previewing our final Penn football game of the season, Senior Sports Ed. Megan Soisson, football writer John Phillips and I break down the Quakers' 30-21 win over Harvard (see story) and debate whether or not that momentum will carry over into Saturday's bout against Cornell in Ithaca with an outright Ivy League title on the line:

Three Up, Three Down: Cornell Edition

Breaking down last week’s Three Up Three Down is simple: the ups were right and the downs were wrong. That’s because the Quakers had to be on the up and up in every way to beat Harvard and they were. I predicted they’d be flagged a lot, struggle on third downs and struggle in the running game. They weren't, and they didn’t.

At least I nailed the positives, of which there were so many for Penn last week. Dave Twamley came up with another interception and Conner Scott had a few big catches, including a touchdown. And attendance was even pretty respectable. So who’ll be up and who’ll be down at Cornell?

Three Up —

Andrew Holland: This is Holland’s time to shine, and he couldn’t ask for a better setup for success. He’s going up against the Ivy League’s worst pass defense and looked more than tolerable under center in the final quarter against Harvard, throwing the dagger touchdown to Mitchell King. Up is better than backup, and Holland will get his moment.

Steve Lias: In his final collegiate game, Lias should keep up the stellar linebacker play of the last couple of weeks. Penn linebackers combined for six tackles for a loss and two sacks last week. Against Cornell’s mediocre offensive line, Lias and the rest of this linebacking corps should go out on top.

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Game Nine: Harvard — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

The Penn football team entered its Ivy tilt against Harvard and final home game of the season as a significant underdog against the No. 25 team in the FCS. But the Quakers proved their resolve and determination could not be matched as they marched to a 30-21 victory over the Crimson to clinch at least a share of their third Ancient Eight title in four years and 16th championship overall (see recap). Here's a rundown of the good, bad and ugly points in case you missed them:

THE GOOD: What else? An Ivy League title. There was no doubt coming into the season that Harvard was the favorite to defend its Ivy crown. And despite a loss to Princeton on Oct. 20, the Crimson appeared prime to do so, especially against Penn, which had squeaked out wins against lowly Columbia and Brown and even lost to Ancient Eight basement-dweller Yale (which, it should be noted, still has just one Ivy win this year — against Penn). But it wasn't meant to be, as the Quakers carried all of the momentum they had accumulated a week ago in Princeton into Saturday and never took their foot off the gas. Perhaps the ghosts of 1982 had something to do with it, too.

ALSO GOOD: Penn's ground game. On a single run in the first quarter, Lyle Marsh surpassed the yardage total the Crimson had allowed on average all season when he sprinted 47 yards from the Penn 23 to the Harvard 30. The Crimson entered with the best run defense in the FCS, allowing less than 44 yards per game, but they couldn't stop the Quakers, who totaled 227 yards on the day. Lyle Marsh became the first Harvard foe to eclipse the century mark, running for 130 yards on 27 carries. Billy Ragone also had a day with 95 yards on 16 rushes. More on him...

THE BAD: Ragone is done. On the final play of the third quarter, Ragone scrambled for seven yards and a first before he was met by the 6-foot-3, 270-pound frame of Harvard defensive lineman Nnamdi Obukwelu. His ankle twisted in a way it definitely isn't supposed to, and the senior quarterback had to be carted off the field. Andrew Holland replaced him for all of the fourth quarter and will be the starter in next week's season finale at Cornell.

THE UGLY: Ragone's twisted ankle. Watching what happened to Ragone is not for the faint of heart. It wasn't quite USC's Marcus Lattimore from two weeks ago, but it's disgusting enough that we'll give fair warning before divulging that you can see it here.

Liveblog — Penn football vs. Harvard

In the penultimate game of the year, Penn football (4-4, 4-1 Ivy) will host Harvard (7-1, 4-1) in its final home game of the year at Franklin Field. The winner of the game will win at least a share of the Ivy League title. Sports Editor Mike Wisniewski and football writers Ethan Alter and John Phillips bring you the action live:

Reliving Penn-Harvard 1982: Miracle on 33rd Street

We've been saying all week how this weekend's Penn-Harvard match at Franklin Field is the de facto Ivy League title game: Whichever team wins will clinch at least a share of the championship and have a chance to win it outright next week.

Back in 1982, the two teams met at Franklin Field in the same situation with 4-1 records in the league. The Quakers jumped out to a commanding 20-0 lead, but the Crimson stormed back with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull ahead, 21-20.

In the game's final drive, Penn quarterback Gary Vura drove the Red and Blue to the Harvard 21, good enough to set up a 38-yard field goal with three seconds left. Against the win, the kick was no good. But as Crimson players celebrated their supposed victory, a flag was thrown for running into the kicker.

Placekicker Dave Shulman had another chance, and this time he nailed it, handing Penn its first Ivy League championship in 23 years. Highlights of the game can be seen here, with legendary Philadelphia Eagles broadcaster Merrill Reese providing the play-by-play:

This Week on 33rd Street: Nov. 9, Part II

In this week's football segment, I sit down with Associate Sports Ed. Kenny Kasper to talk Penn football. The Quakers upset Princeton on the road, 28-21, a week ago, and have set themselves up for a de facto championship game Saturday against No. 25 Harvard at Franklin Field (see preview). The Crimson rank near the top of the Ancient Eight in almost every category, so what will the Red and Blue need to do to come out on top?

This Week on 33rd Street: Nov. 2

Following Penn's 20-17 homecoming win (see story) combined with Princeton's 37-35 loss last week at Cornell, the Quakers and the Tigers head into Saturday's matchup at 3-1 and tied for first place in the Ivy League. Can Penn football win another to push the Yale flop back further in our minds, and what will it take? Here's what Sports Editor Alyssa Kress and football writer John Phillips had to say about it on this week's segment:

This Week on 33rd Street: Oct. 12

Penn football enters its Ivy home opener against Columbia coming off a tough weekend during which it fell, 34-28, to William & Mary (see story) and also likely lost fifth-year senior WR Joe Holder for the season to a broken fibula. This week, I sat down with football beat writer Anna Strong and Associate Sports Editor Allison Bart to discuss if it's worth it for the Quakers to play such a tough non-league schedule: