BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Tyler McCambridge rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown, but it was quarterback Marc Braxmeier's eight-yard jaunt into the end zone early in the fourth quarter that made the difference in a 23-20 Moravian comeback win over Franklin & Marshall on Saturday. The Moravian win halted the Greyhounds' (5-2, 3-2 CC) losing streak at two games, and put the brakes on the Diplomats' (3-3, 2-2 CC) two game winning streak.
With his team trailing 20-16 and facing third and goal from the eight, Braxmeier looked to his right and saw no one open. The pass rush broke down enough to give him a small window behind the line, which he darted through untouched and was uncontested on his way into left side of the end zone.
F&M had two possessions down the stretch. Faced with a fourth and eight inside of two minutes on Moravian's 42 yardline, John Harrison looked for George Eager open on an in route. The pass was slightly underthrown, giving Carl Robinson just enough time to dive in and get a hand between the ball and a sprawling Eager to seal the Hounds' homecoming win. Eager hand been knocked off of his route well downfield earlier in the series, contributing to the fourth and long.
The game ended in Moravian's favor, but it was all F&M at the outset.
The Diplomats needed 18 seconds and George Eager to break the game open. Eager returned the opening kickoff 53 yards to the Moravian 30. On the first snap of the game John Harrison hit Eager in the right corner of the end zone to make it 6-0. Jay Ridinger collected a 13-yard pass on the first play of second quarter to make it 13-0.
The Diplomats were poised to score on their second possession, but Eric Brinkerhoff stepped in front of a pass at the front right pylon, ending the scoring drive with the first of two Moravian picks in the game.
Moravian ran its way back into the game in the second quarter on the back of McCambridge. His three yard plunge with 6:48 left in the first half made it a 13-6 contest, McCambriidge racked up 100 yards in the first half.
Despite controlling the clock in the first quarter, the Diplomats trailed in time of possession by the locker room break. That run on the clock continued in the second half, but the Diplomats defense would not break.
F&M limited the Hounds to three Brian Reckenbeil field goals on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter, each from 32-yards. The third field goal, which gave Moravian its first lead of the game, came on a brilliant defensive stand following a Brad Bodine interception that set Moravian up on the F&M 19.
The Diplomats answered on the ensuing kickoff when Eager split the middle of the field for a 60-yard return that would have been a touchdown, save for a horse-collar tackle that was flagged, but waved off. Four plays later Jarrel Diggs punched in from a yard out giving F&M a 20-16 lead. Moravian answered on the next drive, capped by Braxmeier's score.
Working from the shotgun throughout the game, Harrison completed 24 of 35 passes for 188 yards, two touchdowns and as many interceptions. Eager caught nine passes for 77 yards while Ridinger snagged seven passes for 37 yards. Eager rolled up 167 yards on four kickoff returns.
James Gregory led the Diplomats' defense with 14 tackles, half of which were solo stops. Zach Romash had 13 tackles, while Jeffrey Liberatore had 10. Barry Lovett recorded F&M's only interception of the game, a diving one-handed grab that took the ball out of a Moravian receivers hand deep in Diplomat territory. Lovett had a pair of pass breakups in the game.
Braxmeier struggled to get on track all day hitting just 13 of 29 passes for 133 yards. He completed throws when they counted in the fourth quarter, however, extending a handful of drives. Penalties also extended drives for Moravian. F&M was flagged nine times for 102 yards, while the Hounds dirtied the laundry just once costing them 10 yards. Five of Moravian's 22 first downs came on penalties.
Moravian got ten tackles and a forced fumble out of Andrew Morrissey. Bodine and Anthony Carney each posted eight stops.
F&M returns to action next week at Muhlenberg, ending the Lehigh Valley tour on the slate. The Diplomats are then at home for Centennial's Maryland contingent, McDaniel and Johns Hopkins.
Notes: The Diplomats dropped their first game of the season when leading at the half and after three quarters. F&M is now 3-1 on the year with the lead after two and three quarters of play... Eager's nine catches mark a season high for F&M. Ridinger's seven catches marked a tie of the previous high held by Eager... Marc Surma and Alex Pastore each picked up their first sacks of the season... Moravian's win cut the Diplomats' series lead down to 16-5 all time. Saturday's game marked F&M's first trip to Bethlehem since 1992, also a Moravian win. That loss marked Moravian's first time posting consecutive wins over F&M. Today's win marked the second time the Hounds pulled the feat...