Score in the red zone: The pistol is the best weapon:
When asked what Penn brings to the table in Saturday’s game, head coach Tony Reno immediately identified dual-threat senior quarterback Billy Ragone. Last year Ragone tore up the Eli defense in the Quakers’ 37–25 victory in Philadelphia. He threw for 234 yards and three scores and rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown. The signal caller has been back to his old tricks this year, averaging 149.2 yards through the air and 45.8 on the ground. The defense will need to contain Ragone in the pocket so that he cannot utilize his playmaking ability on the perimeter. If the Bulldogs can do that, then they might have a chance at forcing Ragone to make a mistake — he has thrown five interceptions this season to just six touchdown passes.
The Bulldogs have scored touchdowns on just 39 of their trips to the red zone this year. Although Yale has gotten at least a field goal on 60 percent of its red zone opportunities, the Bulldog’s offense needs to get touchdowns when it gets that close to the endzone and take pressure off the defense. Last week the Elis scored one touchdown in three red zone trips, according to Reno. The Bulldogs lost by 10, so the 14 points Yale left on the board were the difference in the game. One problem near the goal line has been interceptions, so the Elis should focus on the ground attack and only pass enough to keep Penn from crowding the box.
Last week the Bulldogs began going to the pistol formation instead of the traditional shotgun. In the pistol, the quarterback stands closer to the line of scrimmage with the running back directly behind him, as opposed to beside him in the shotgun. This opens up more options in the running game, which led to success on the ground against Lafayette. Running back Tyler Varga ’16 ran for 100 yards and fellow back Mordecai Cargill ’13 chipped in 98 yards on the ground. Not all of these yards came from the pistol formation, but both backs seemed to be finding bigger seams to run through in the new formation. Yale should stick with the pistol tomorrow against a Quaker defense that ranks sixth in the Ivy League with 149.2 rushing yards allowed per game.
Score in the red zone:
The pistol is the best weapon: