Muhlenberg (2-4, 1-3 CC) at Franklin & Marshall (5-1, 3-1 CC)
Series Record: Today's game marks the 93rd meeting between Muhlenberg and Franklin & Marshall in a series that began in Lancaster 107 years ago with a 69-0 F&M win. The shutout was the first of nine consecutive shutouts in the series (spread out over 22 years) with F&M earning the first four, and Muhlenberg the next five. Shutouts have been a hallmark of the series. 25 games have ended with at least one team having a goose egg on the board. The 1930 engagement in Lancaster ended in a 0-0 tie. Muhlenberg has won each of the past two meetings.
The Last Meeting: John DeLuca rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries to lead #5 Muhlenberg to a 17-6 win over Franklin & Marshall. DeLuca carried the ball 12 times for 57 yards on an 11:27 drive that consumed most of the fourth quarter and ended with a 42-yard field goal by Mike Katz. Franklin & Marshall pieced together 129-yards of offense, compared to the 323 yards gained by the Mules on DeLuca's back.
F&M Last Week: After three consecutive games without a takeaway, Franklin & Marshall turned four Moravian turnovers into 15 points during a 29-13 Centennial Conference (CC) win. With the victory, the Diplomats improved to 5-1 (3-1 CC) for the team's best start since the 1996 season. The Greyhounds slid to 1-6 (1-4 CC).
Muhlenberg Last Week: Muhlenberg closed a 10-0 halftime deficit to one point, but a late fumble return for a touchdown clinched McDaniel's 16-9 win. Senior Phil Cresta caught eight passes for 147 yards and set up the Mule TD with a 51-yard reception.
Welcome to the Club: During the 29-13 win over Muhlenberg, John Harrison (So. / Flourtown, Pa. / La Salle College High School) became the tenth Franklin & Marshall quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in his career. He is the fastest quarterback to 3,000 yards in Centennial Conference history, reaching the plateau in 16 games.
Harrison is eight completions away from becoming the eighth Diplomat to complete 300 passes. One touchdown pass would tie the school record for touchdown passes in a season at 21, a mark that has been owned for 20 years by Geno Pagnozzi. It would also make him the sixth Diplomat to throw 35 or more career touchdowns. Three touchdown passes would move him into a three-way tie for third in career touchdown passes with Pagnozzi, Bill Meekings and Kyle Turner. Harrison is chasing the coveted record of 52, owned by Joe Coviello, whose 1974 team is being honored at halftime today.
Harrison is alone at the top of the chart for career completion percentage, clicking on 63.3 percent of his passes. He has posted a career passer efficiency rating of 139.6, .1 above Coviello.
16 games into his career, Harrison is ninth in touchdowns responsible for at F&M. One more will tie him with Dale Amos and two more will tie him Jeff Harner for seventh on the list.
Harrison Eying Season Completion and Yardage Marks: Harrison is 37 completions away from Kyle Turner's school record of 196 completions, set in 2007. Harrison first needs to leapfrog Turner's 170 completions in 2006, and Bill Meekings 174 in 1992. 41 completions would make him the first Diplomat to complete 200 passes in a year.
Harrison enters Homecoming Weekend with 1,874-yards this season. With four games to go, that is already the seventh best season on record. He is 329 yards away from tying the single season mark owned by Turner, who threw for 2,203 yards in 2007. His 68.2 completion percentage is a record by 8.2 percent.
Riding Greyhounds: Jay Ridinger (Jr. / Lititz, Pa./Manheim Twp.) caught five passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns in F&M's 29-13 win over Moravian. The TD receptions put him at a dozen in his career, leaving him one short of breaking into the top ten. With one more TD catch, he will join four players locked up in a tie for seventh on the career list at 13. Ridinger is also sitting on 97 career receptions, and is looking to become the ninth receiver in F&M history with 100 or more receptions.
Eager Strikes Again: George Eager (Sr. / Lititz, Pa. / Manheim Twp.) Eager only returned one kick against Moravian, but he made it count. The senior was a blue streak for 80-yards up the F&M sideline for a score to open the second half of F&M's win over Moravian. The score was Eager's second 80-yard touchdown return this year. He pulled the same feat the last time F&M was at home against Dickinson. It was the third touchdown return for a score of his career. That is a school record.
Eager 2K: Eager needs a dozen yards to become the fourth F&M receiver to reach 2,000 yards in his career. He will join Dale Amos (3,846), Justin Salton (3,136) and Zac Kraft 2,160 in the exclusive club. He is one score away from tying Salton for second in career receiving touchdowns at 22. Amos' record of 35 appears to be safe at the moment.
Still Eager for More? Eager has 3,427 all-purpose yards to his credit, enough for third on the career charts at F&M. He needs 228 yards to catch up to Corby Lucas in second, and 469 yards to catch Amos' record, 3,869. He passed Lucas in career kick return yards 12 yards into last week's touchdown score. He averages a school record 25.12 yards per kickoff return, 1.25 yards more than Mike Caterbone. Eager's 25 career total touchdowns are third on the career chart, four behind Keith Wert and 10 behind Amos.
Pick Your Poison: Jeff Kellar's (Sr. / State College, Pa. / State College) interception against Moravian moved him into 15th on the career interception chart at F&M. He sits in that spot with five other players. Barry Lovett (Sr. / Brooklyn, N.Y. / Poly Prep) is one pick behind, tied with four other players for 21st. Ty Savastio (So. / Downingtown, Pa. / Downingtown East) nabbed his fourth career pass tying him with 18 Diplomats for 29th on the career chart.
Massaro of his Own Domain: Inside linebacker, Sam Massaro (Fr. / Old Tappan, N.J. / Northern Valley Old Tappan), is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the league's top middle linebackers. Last week, he recorded 11 tackles, seven solo, including one for a loss and intercepted a pass that sealed F&M's 29-13 win over Moravian.
Hutcheon Hounds Hounds: Drew Hutcheon (Jr. / Mt. Laurel, N.J. / Bishop Eustace) was disruptive in both phases of the Moravian offense He recorded eight tackles and forced a fumble in the win over Moravian last week. He slowed up the passing attack with 1.5 sacks resulting in losses of 12 yards and batted down a pass.
Diggs' Season High: Jarrell Diggs (So. / Baltimore / Gilman) posted a season-high 51 receiving yards against Moravian, most of those yards came after the catch. He looked like the shifty freshman F&M fans grew accustomed to seeing last year. He averages 11.3 yards per catch this season.
Ball Hogs: Franklin & Marshall has averaged 34:17 minutes of possession time per game in the 5-1 start to the season. F&M holds the ball over eight minutes per quarter, and in the third quarter, they hold it for an average of 9:15 minutes. The only game where F&M dipped below six minutes in the third quarter was the loss to Dickinson.
Turnover Drought Over: After a stretch of three games without a turnover, the Diplomats had had enough. Drew Hutcheon forced a Ryan Rempe fumble on the first play from scrimmage. It was the first of four F&M takeaways in the win. The Diplomats -5 turnover margin climbed to a -2 in the win.
Field Goal Drought Over Too: Mike Shin (Fr. / Tenafly, N.J. / Tenafly) booted a 28-yard field goal on F&M's first possession of the Moravian win to end a string of 18 quarters without a field goal made. It was the first field goal for F&M since the second quarter of the season opener.
Low Season Highs: Alan Williams (So. / Benton, Ky. / Marshall County) posted team season-highs of 19 carries and 85 yards as well as the season's longest rush, a 29-yard scamper late in the game. F&M rushed 38 times for the second-straight week. Once again the bulk came in the fourth quarter. The Diplomats have owned the ball for more than 11 minutes in the fourth quarter in each of the past two games.