Returns were mixed on last week's predictions. Conner Scott wasn't up at all, catching just one pass for seven yards. Jeff Jack didn't carry the load as much as I forecasted either, but Dave Twamley came up with an interception to save Penn's Ivy title hopes in the fourth quarter. So who's looking up and who's looking down against Harvard?
Three Up —
Dave Twamley: Cornerbacks coach Jon Dupont told me this week that Twamley is “the grandpa of the secondary,” and his experience in defensive coordinator Ray Priore’s complex schemes has been evident all season. Twamley currently ranks second on the team in tackles and came up with the interception that preserved Penn’s Ivy title hopes in the fourth quarter last week. Twamley mentioned that Harvard’s offensive strategic continuity from last year is making for an easier time dissecting the Crimson ‘O’ in the film room this week, so maybe Twamley’s studying will pay some dividends when it matters most and keep him on the up and up.
Conner Scott: One catch, seven yards. That was Scott’s stat line at Princeton, and so he really has nowhere to go but up this week against Harvard’s seventh-ranked pass defense, its Achilles heel. Dartmouth wide receiver Michael Reilly, whose receiving stats are very similar to Scott’s this season, burnt the Crimson for 12 catches, 165 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago, so Scott is capable of that kind of performance against Harvard as well.
We're excited to have a new segment on The Buzz called Three Up, ThreeDown, in which we predict three players whose stock will rise and fall over the course of upcoming games.
Look for the following threesome to be thriving after Penn's Ivy opener at Dartmouth on Saturday:
Three Up —
Billy Ragone: Quite simply, this is Ragone’s time. He found his groove in Dartmouth’s backyard last year after a slow start, and it would be no coincidence if he were to do it again Saturday. The Big Green ranked dead last in the Ivy League in rushing defense a year ago, and they can be expected to once again set Ragone up to tuck and run. That usually translates into a more confident aerial attack from him.
If you enjoyed seeing Ivy League football on the Versus network last season, you'll be happy to know the rebranded NBC Sports Network has renewed it's contract with the Ancient Eight.
If you didn't enjoy the lack of basketball coverage fo the Ivies last season, you should be very excited to hear that with the new two-year deal, NBCSN has added "six-to-10 men's basketball games" annually and up to four men's lacrosse games in addition to the six-to-10 football games.
"The Ivy League is excited to continue our relationship with the NBC Sports Network," said Robin Harris, Ivy League Executive Director in a statement. "The NBC Sports Network has been an outstanding partner and we appreciate their interest in enhancing our existing relationship by increasing the number of games and sports. We are pleased to showcase more Ivy League competition nationally to our passionate fan base which has a thirst for Ivy League athletics."
The deal also includes the rights to broadcast "The Game," Harvard and Yale's annual end of the season football rivalry match. There is no mention of the Penn-Princeton men's basketball games, though these may be valuable properties the NBC decides to pick up. According to the release, "Even more Ivy League games may be seen on a national basis within this agreement as the NBC Sports Network has acquired the rights to sublicense additional football and men's basketball games to a national sports network."
UPDATE (4:45 PM): Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky has commented on the deal: "I think this is a great television package for the Ivy League and will allow a national audience to become more acquainted with the high level of talent that exists among our schools. Kudos to Robin Harris and her staff for getting this accomplished."
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