Time for Quakers to unload a huge chip from their shoulder

This was always the plan for the Penn Quakers (7-1 overall, 5-1 Ivy League), even if they were reluctant to talk about it. But now they can almost — but not quite — taste it.

A win over rival Harvard here Saturday, followed by victory at Cornell next week, would wrap up an undisputed Ivy League title for Al Bagnoli’s team for the second straight year. One win guarantees no worse than a tie.

“I don’t want to speak too soon,” said linebacker Zach Heller. “But we’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done here since the 2002-03 teams, who’ve gone down as one of the best in the program. To get in that group would be pretty special.”

But first they’ve got to take care of the Crimson (6-2, 4-1), who has gone unbeaten in the Ivies since an early-season loss at Brown. Harvard is led by tailbacks Gino Gordon (913 yards) and Treavor Scales (483).

“Harvard has been the model of consistency more than we have,’” said Bagnoli, who earlier in the season became the school’s all-time winningest coach. “We’re definitely going to have our hands full with them.”

Not that the Quakers are too shabby, with quarterback Billy Ragone leading the way with 439 yards rushing and 735 passing, with eight combined touchdowns. Harvard was chosen ahead of Penn in the preseason polls.

“I think we’ve definitely had a chip on our shoulder and still do,” admitted Heller. “People thought we’re the second-best team around. But we’ve done a good job making our presence felt.”

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