Penn pays tribute to fallen teammate

September 19, 2010 4:59:59 AM PDT
Penn honored a player who committed suicide this spring with a moment of silence before the coin toss of Saturday night's game against Lafayette at Franklin Field.

Owen Thomas, who would have been a senior, killed himself in April, just two weeks after being named one of the Quakers' captains.

This week, researchers at Boston University revealed that an autopsy on Thomas' brain showed he had the early stages of a disease that has been connected to depression and impulse control issues in NFL players who have sustained concussions.

On Saturday night, Penn's three senior captains - quarterback Keiffer Garton, running back Bradford Blackmon and offensive lineman Joe D'Orazio - were joined at midfield for the pre-game coin toss by Thomas' four former roommates.

The other Penn players then marched onto the field, lined up, clasped hands, and stood behind the captains for the moment of silence and the coin toss. The silence lasted 40 seconds as a tribute to Thomas' uniform number. The Penn players are all wearing "40" decals on their helmets this season.

Penn beats Lafayette 19-14 on late Marsh run

Lyle Marsh's 12-yard touchdown run with 6:21 left gave Penn a 19-14 win over Lafayette in its opener Saturday night.

The Quakers, who won for the 800th time in their history against 432 losses, have won eight straight dating to last season.

Lafayette (0-2), without quarterback Ryan O'Neil most of the game due to an ankle injury, was limited to 175 yards and eight first downs.

But thanks to a second quarter in which Kyni Scott recovered Ben Eaton's blocked punt in the end zone and Michael Phillips returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, Lafayette took the lead. It stayed in front until Marsh capped a 75-yard drive in 14 plays, all but one of them runs, that devoured 7:27.

Before the game, Penn had a moment of silence to honor one of its captains, Owen Thomas, who committed suicide in April, and longtime game day coordinator Dan "Coach Lake" Staffieri, who died that month at age 85.


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