Penn backup QB may start against Yale

Penn football coach Al Bagnoli. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Penn football coach Al Bagnoli. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 26, 2013

Each game Penn football coach Al Bagnoli makes sure that backup quarterback Ryan Becker sees action in a few series, and that strategy could pay off this week.

First stringer Billy Ragone is a dangerous runner and Bagnoli understands that a quarterback who carries the ball is subject to extra pounding and potential injury. So Bagnoli wants his backup to have sufficient experience.

When Ragone went down with an ankle injury during the fourth quarter of last week's 21-7 win at Columbia, Becker finished the game.

And it's possible Becker could be starting when Penn (3-2, 2-0 Ivy League) hosts Yale (3-2, 1-1) in Saturday's 1 p.m. game at Franklin Field.

"We have great confidence in Ryan and if Billy can't go or is limited, we think Ryan can come in there and we won't miss a beat," Bagnoli said after Wednesday's practice. "He will do a great job leading us and has demonstrated he is a quality kid."

Becker, who missed last season following knee surgery, completed 6 of 12 passes for 73 yards against Columbia. He threw a second-quarter, 22-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell King. It was Becker's first scoring pass since 2010.

"It's been a while since I had one due to the injury so it was nice to get that feeling again," Becker said.

Becker added that whether he starts or not won't change the way he prepares for Saturday's game.

"With Billy as a running quarterback I have to be prepared as well just in case something happens," Becker said. "We don't know what the deal is so I am preparing to play all four quarters or my few series a game, whatever happens I will go out and make plays."

Either of the quarterbacks will be happy not to have to face the Penn defense.

In the win over Columbia, the Quakers allowed just 118 total yards and four first downs. Senior safety Evan Jackson led the way with five tackles, a tackle for loss, two pass breakups and in interception in earning Ivy League defensive player of the week honors.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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