Ragone showing Penn the way

Quarterback Billy Ragone has led two fourth quarter comebacks in a row. (photo by MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer )

The Penn football team went on the road to win ts first two Ivy League outings with last-minute drives that were orchestrated by quarterback Billy Ragone, who is showing why he was named first-team all-conference last fall.

In the Quakers 27-20 victory at Columbia last Saturday, the 6-1, 225-pound Ragone scored on a 1-yard run with no time left in the first half to knot the score at 10-10. And his 7-ard run with 25 seconds remaining provided the decisive points.

The touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter started with one minute, 30 second left at the Penn 33-yard line. And at the end of the game, the Quakers took possession at their own 44 with 1:28 to go.

The big play for Penn on the game-winn drive came when Ragone hit wide receiver Ryan Calvert for a 26-yard gain that carried to the Columbia 10.

During the contest, Penn was looking at deficits of 3-0, 10-0, 17-10 and 17-13. Penn took the lead at 20-17 on a 3-yard run by halfback Brandon Colavita with 11:02 to go. The Lions tied the game on a 35-yard field goal with 1:31 showing on the clock.

Ragone finished 18 for 31 passing for 185 yards.

``We did a great job of the end of the first half, and at the end of the game, but we've got to take care business on our other possessions as well," said Ragone, who went eight-for-eight passing down the stretch against Dartmouth, and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Calvert with 17 seconds left to give Penn a 22-20 victory on Oct. 1.

This week, Penn will host Yale, which is tied for first place with the Quakers and Harvard at 2-0 in the Ancient Eight.

Penn coach Al Bagnoli said he likes the way his team hung in there and won against Dartmouth and Columbia to run its Football Championship Sudivisions-best conference winning streak to 17 in a row.

``It's a credit to our kids that they believed in themselves, but obviously, we're going to have to play better," Bagnoli said. ``We needed the full 60 minutes, but at leasr we hung in there and persevered when things didn't look good."

Bagnoli was asked about his decision to go for six points at the end of the first half against Columbia. The Quakers had a fourth-and-one at the Lions 1-yard line. A field goal would have cut Penn's deficit to 10-6.

``We didn't come here to tie," Bagnoli said. ``We were going to go for it. If we didn't get it, it would have looked like the dumbest decision of the day. We were really sluggish in the first half. ``We were not focused, not energized, and not as competitive as we needed to be against a good team. But that gave us a little bit of momentum going into the second half."