Football Notes: Tigers Break Into Top 25; Epperly, Bhaya Both Honored
The Princeton football team entered the FCS Top 25 for the first time since 2006, and both Phillip Bhaya and Quinn Epperly earned individual honors as the Tigers prepare for their home finale and 136th meeting against Yale.
Princeton broke into The Sports Network Top 25 poll this week, moving to No. 25 after its 38-26 road win at Penn. This is Princeton’s first time in the Top 25 since the conclusion of the 2006 Ivy League championship season, when the Tigers were ranked 18th nationally.
The win was Princeton's third this season over a Top 3 team in the Ivy League preseason media poll. The Tigers have both gone on the road and rallied to defeat No. 1 Penn (down 16 in the second quarter), No. 2 Harvard (down 7 in overtime) and No. 3 Brown (down 17 in the second quarter).
Epperly was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth straight time and the fifth in the last six weeks. He is the first player in Ivy League history to win the Offensive Player of the Week award four straight weeks.
Epperly led the Tigers back from a 16-0 deficit to grab the victory at Penn. Epperly threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to become the first quarterback in Ivy League history to rush for at least 16 touchdowns in a single season. He completed 71.1 percent of his passes (32-of-45) for 268 yards and added 53 rushing yards. Epperly, who remains first in the Football Championship Subdivision in points responsible for, is just the second quarterback in school history to have 20 touchdown passes in a season.
"Quinn showed toughness against a strong Penn defense last week, making plays at key points to help lead us to the win," head coach Bob Surace said. "I continue to be impressed at his decision-making, and he made some big throws to help lead us back at Franklin Field."
On the other side of the ball, Bhaya earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for his achievements both on and off the field. A co-captain, Bhaya ranks second in the team with 53 tackles and shares the team lead with two interceptions.
"Phil has earned the CoSIDA Academic All District award because he has an exceptional work ethic," Surace said. "His leadership is not always vocal, but often a result of his effort on and off the field. We are excited that Phil receives this honor, as his valuable contributions the last four years are a major reason our football program continues to progress."