Penn Quakers football

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Penn Quakers football
2021 Penn Quakers football team
Penn Quakers logo.svg
First season1876
Head coachRay Priore
4th season, 28–18 (.609)
StadiumFranklin Field
(capacity: 52,593)
Year built1895
Field surfaceSprinTurf
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceIvy League
Past conferencesIndependent (1876–1956)
All-time record845–489–42 (.629)
Bowl record0–1–0 (.000)
Claimed national titles7 (1894, 1895, 1897, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1924)[1]
Conference titles18
RivalriesCornell (rivalry)
Harvard (rivalry)
Princeton (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans63
Current uniform
Penn quakers football unif.png
ColorsBlue and red[2]
Fight songFight on, Pennsylvania!
MascotThe Penn Quaker
Marching bandThe University of Pennsylvania Band

The Penn Quakers football program is the college football team at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The Penn Quakers have competed in the Ivy League since its inaugural season of 1956, and are a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Penn has played in 1,364 football games, the most of any school in any division. Penn plays its home games at historic Franklin Field, the oldest football stadium in the US. All Penn games are broadcast on WNTP or WFIL radio.

Overall history[edit]

One of the first teams of the University, 1878.

Penn bills itself as "college football's most historic program".[3] The Quakers have had 63 First Team All-Americans, and the college is the alma mater of John Heisman (the namesake of college football's most famous trophy). The team has won a share of 7 national championships (7th all-time) and competed in the "granddaddy of them all" (The Rose Bowl) in 1917. Penn's total of 837 wins puts them 11th all-time in college football (3rd in the FCS) and their winning percentage of 62.9% is 21st in college football (7th in the FCS). 18 members of the College Football Hall of Fame played at Penn (tied with Alabama for 14th) and 5 members of the College Football Hall of Fame coached at Penn. Penn has had 11 unbeaten seasons. Penn plays at the oldest stadium in college football, Franklin Field, at which they have had a 35-game home winning streak (1896–1899), which is the 15th best in the country, and at which they have had 23 unbeaten home seasons. Penn is one of the few college football teams to have had an exclusive contract with a network for broadcasting all their home games. For the 1950 season, ABC Sports broadcast all of Penn's home games. The only other teams to have had exclusive contracts are Miami and Notre Dame. The Quakers competed as a major independent until 1956, when they accepted the invitation to join the Ivy League. When the Ivy League was reclassified to Division I-AA, today known as FCS, following the 1981 season,[4] Penn moved to Division I-AA play with the rest of the league.

Before the start of the 2020 season, the Ivy League announced that no sports would be played until January 1, 2021, at the earliest, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The League resumed in September 2021.[5]

NCAA television controversy[edit]

See: NCAA Football television controversy

In 1951, the NCAA attempted to stop any live broadcast of college football games during the season, which affected Penn due to them being one of only two colleges to enact this practice (the other being Notre Dame). After public outcry, the NCAA restricted the number of games televised for each team. Penn attempted to circumvent the rules through its contract, but they had to back down due to the NCAA's threat of possibly expelling the Quakers from the association.

Ivy League[edit]

Penn joined the Ivy League in 1956 when it was formed. Penn won its 1st Ivy League Football Championship in 1959. It was not until 1982, 23 years later, that Penn would win its 2nd Ivy League Football Championship. Since that year Penn has become a dominant football power in the Ivy League. They are tied with Dartmouth in winning a record 18 Ivy League Football Championships. Penn, however, is first in outright Ivy League titles (13), and first in undefeated Ivy League titles (8).


National championships[edit]

Penn has claimed seven national championships, with selectors declaring them a champion for six of their seven titles, with the Quakers claiming the 1907 season as a championship in their own view, although Yale was declared champion that year by most selectors.[6]

Year Selector Coach Record
1894 Parke H. Davis George Woodruff 12–0
1895 Billingsley, Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate System, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis George Woodruff 14–0
1897 Billingsley, Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis George Woodruff 15–0
1904 Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate, Parke Davis, National Championship Foundation Carl "Cap" Williams 12–0
1907 Self-declared Carl "Cap" Williams 11–1
1908 Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate System, Parke Davis, National Championship Foundation Sol Metzger 11–0–1
1924 Parke Davis Lou Young 9–1–1

Conference championships[edit]

Penn has won 18 conference championships (all of which in the Ivy League), winning 13 outright and five shared.[7]

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1959 Ivy League Steve Sebo 7–1–1 6–1
1982 Jerry Berndt 7–3 5–2
1983 Jerry Berndt 6–3–1 5–1–1
1984 Jerry Berndt 8–1 7–0
1985 Jerry Berndt 7–2–1 6–1
1986 Ed Zubrow 10–0 7–0
1988 Ed Zubrow 9–1 6–1
1993 Al Bagnoli 10–0 7–0
1994 Al Bagnoli 9–0 7–0
1998 Al Bagnoli 8–2 6–1
2000 Al Bagnoli 7–3 6–1
2002 Al Bagnoli 9–1 7–0
2003 Al Bagnoli 10–0 7–0
2009 Al Bagnoli 8–2 7–0
2010 Al Bagnoli 9–1 7–0
2012 Al Bagnoli 6–4 6–1
2015 Ray Priore 7–3 6–1
2016 Ray Priore 7–3 6–1

† Co-champions

NCAA records[edit]

NCAA record for most college football games played – 1,365.
NCAA record for consecutive overtime losses – 3 games[8]

Ivy League records[edit]

Most outright Ivy League titles – 13 (1959, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012) ;
Highest number of unbeaten Ivy League seasons – 8 (1984, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010);
Longest Ivy League winning streak – 20 straight games (2001–2004). Penn also holds the next two longest Ivy League win streaks: 18 straight games (2008–2011) and 17 straight games (1992–1995).
Record 18 Ivy League Football Championships. Tied with Dartmouth.

Franklin Field[edit]

Quakers enter Franklin Field in 2019

Penn's home stadium Franklin Field is not only the oldest stadium in football but holds many other records as well. It is the site of the oldest stadium scoreboard (1895), the "original horseshoe" (1903), the first college football radio broadcast (1922 on WIP), the first double-decker football stadium (1925), the largest stadium in the country (1925–1926), the first college football television broadcast (1940 on KYW-TV) and the first FCS stadium to host ESPN's College Gameday (2002).[citation needed]

Penn in the AP Poll[edit]

[citation needed]

Year Final ranking
1936 10
1940 14
1941 15
1943 20
1945 8
1946 13
1947 7

Bowl games[edit]

Penn has participated in one bowl game, garnering a record of 0–1.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1916 Bob Folwell Rose Bowl Oregon L 0–14



Penn/Cornell game, 2019

The series with Cornell dates to 1876. Penn leads the series 73–46–5 through the 2017 season.[9]


The series with Harvard dates to 1881. Harvard leads the series 48–38–2 through the 2017 season.[9]


The series with Princeton dates to 1876. Princeton leads the series 66–42–1 through the 2017 season.[9]

Individual players[edit]

Notable Quaker players[edit]

Individual award winners[edit]

Penn's total of three major award winners surpasses several BCS programs to this day.

Bob Odell1943
Chuck Bednarik1948
Reds Bagnell1950
  • Ivy League Coach of the Year
Jerry Berndt1984
Ray Priore – 2015

College Football Hall of Fame[edit]

Eighteen former players have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[10][better source needed]

Quakers in the NFL Draft[edit]

Chuck Bednarik (aka "Concrete Charlie") played gridiron football at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a '60-minute man', excelling as a center on offense and linebacker on defense, was a three-time All-American gridiron football player, and was elected a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, drafted as number 1 pick in 1st round of 1949 NFL Draft by Philadelphia Eagles.

A total of 51 players from Penn have been drafted in the NFL[11] including NFL Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik (#1 overall pick in 1949) and NFL first-round pick Skip Minisi.

Notable games[edit]

Penn 30, Navy 26[edit]

On October 18, 1986, Penn defeated Navy 30–26 in front of Navy's Homecoming crowd. Penn finished the season undefeated at 10–0, 7–0 in the Ivy League for their 5th straight Ivy League title.[12]

Penn 35, Harvard 25[edit]

On November 14, 2015, Penn defeated 12th ranked Harvard 35–25 at Harvard Stadium. This win ended Harvard's 22-game winning streak; their first loss since October 26, 2013.[13] With this win, Penn improved to 6–3, 5–1 in the Ivy League, and with a 34–21 win in their next and final game against Cornell, were able to clinch a share of the Ivy League title along with Harvard and Dartmouth. The title capped a remarkable comeback season for Penn. After back-to-back losing seasons in 2013 and 2014, Penn started the 2015 season at 1–3, including a loss in their Ivy League opener, but rallied with 6 straight wins to end the season.

Penn 27, Harvard 14[edit]

On November 11, 2016, Penn defeated 22nd ranked Harvard at Franklin Field. This win ended Harvard's Ivy record 13-game Ivy road game win streak.[14] With this win, Penn improved to 6–3, 5–1 in the Ivy League, and into a three-way tie atop the Ivy League alongside Harvard and Princeton. Penn scored two touchdowns in the game's final 17 seconds, headlined by an 80-yard touchdown drive engineered by quarterback Alek Torgersen and a last second scoop and score by Tayler Hendrickson. A 42–20 victory the next week against Cornell gave Penn a share of the 2016 Ivy League title, making them back-to-back champions for the first time since 2009–2010. A Harvard loss to Yale in "The Game" the next week dropped the Crimson out of title contention.

Penn 23, Harvard 21[edit]

On November 13, 1982, Penn defeated Harvard with no time left on the game clock at Franklin Field. This win clinched a share of the Ivy football title for Penn. While Penn led 20–0 with nine minutes to play, Harvard scored three touchdowns in just eight minutes. However the Quarterback Gary Vura, starting at his own 20-yard line with just 84 seconds left, marched his team down the field, setting up a field goal attempt by kicker Dave Shulman. Shulman's 38-yard attempt was tipped by a Harvard player and went wide left. But Harvard was called for roughing the kicker. Since a game cannot end on a potential decision-changing defensive penalty, Shulman kicked again, this time from the 11-yard line and his 27-yard field goal was good.[15] Although the Quakers did lose the following weekend to Cornell, their victory that day, after three losing seasons of 0–9, 1-9 and 1–9, gave Penn a share of the Ivy title for the first time since 1959, which had been its only Ivy title. It also marked the turning point in Penn's Ivy football play, with the Quakers winning or sharing another 16 Ivy titles during the 35 years since then.


  1. ^ "2011 Fact Book Penn Football" (PDF). Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  2. ^ "University of Pennsylvania Logo & Branding Standards". Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Women's Basketball vs. Brown_Yale – Official Athletics Website". University of Pennsylvania Athletics.
  4. ^ New York Times – 2006-11-17
  5. ^ West, Jenna. "Ivy League to Postpone Fall Athletics, No Date Set for Return". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  6. ^ "2019 Football Fact Book Champions" (PDF). University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "2019 Football Fact Book Champions" (PDF). University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  8. ^ Caldwell, Dave. "Penn Loses in Overtime for 3rd Game in a Row". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  9. ^ a b c "2018 Penn Football Fact Book" (PDF). Penn Athletics. p. 140.
  10. ^ See: Penn Quakers#Football.
  11. ^ see
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-10-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Penn vs. Harvard – Game Recap – November 14, 2015". ESPN.
  14. ^ Friedman, Dick (13 November 2016). "Football: Harvard 14, Penn 27". Harvard Magazine.
  15. ^ "Penn Beats Harvard on a Kick". NY Times. 14 November 1982.

External links[edit]