Game 1: Franklin & Marshall (0-0) at Washington & Lee (0-0)
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Series History: Saturday's game marks just the 14th time these teams have squared off on the football field. Washington & Lee took three-straight in the early 1960's before the series went on a 43-year hiatus. The Diplomats have won five of the seven games since the revival in 2006 and hold a 7-6 series advantage.
A Little History: The John Troxell era enters season number eight as the Diplomats prepare to embark on the 126th campaign since F&M first hit the grid circuit in October of 1887. The Diplomats have posted a winning record in 70 seasons and a losing record in 48 seasons. Seven seasons have seen the Diplomats finish at .500. F&M's 9-2 mark in 2009 was the first winning season since 2004 when the Diplomats went 8-3 in capturing an ECAC Championship. F&M has gone undefeated and untied in four seasons (1950, 1964, 1972, 1974), and was undefeated with one tie in 1945. The Diplomats have suffered through five seasons without a win: 1887, 1904, 1926, 1962, and 2000. The 1926 season saw F&M post one tie.
The Last Meeting: Lamont Jackson's nine-yard run with 15 seconds remaining in the game delivered Franklin & Marshall a dramatic 35-28 victory over Washington & Lee in the 2012 season opener.
E.J. Schneider picked up 270 yards in the air on 26-for-39 passing and added 110 more on the ground. The signal-caller accounted for three scores, one rushing and two passing, as he led the team in both categories while Jackson picked up 42 yards on 14 touches with two scores.
Sam Massaro and Chris DeStefano anchored the F&M defense with nine tackles each. DeStefano had eight solo stops and an assist and forced a fumble. Massaro tallied seven solos, including 1.5 tackles that went for a loss. Mike Shin finished with six solo stops while Leo Chubinishvili and Jordan Studevan each picked up a sack.
First Game Facts: Franklin & Marshall is 69-53-3 in its season openers. The first opening day win came in the second season that F&M hit the field (1889) - a 60-0 win over cross-town rival, Millersville. F&M lost its first opening-day game at the York Y.M.C.A, 9-0 on October 10, 1887. Those were the first pair of the 51 opening-day games that have been shutouts.
F&M is 22-28-1 in season openers that have seen a side shutout, including 2008's 24-0 blanking of Washington & Lee, avenging the 20-0 shutout at the hands of the Generals the season prior. The lone tie was a 0-0 barnburner between F&M and Delaware, at Delaware, on October 4, 1919.
F&M's largest margin of victory and highest point total on opening day came in a 69-0 shutout of the crew of the U.S.S. Connecticut on September 27, 1913. The largest margin of defeat and most points scored against F&M in a season opener came in a 66-0 loss at Fordham on October 2, 1937.
F&M is 5-2 in season openers under John Troxell. All seven of those games were against today's opponent. The Diplomats are 7-5 in the last 12 season openers.
Scouting the Generals: Washington & Lee was picked to finish fourth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference coaches poll. The 2012 ODAC Champions return 10 starters and 44 letterwinners from last season's squad, which finished 8-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play. W&L claimed its second ODAC title in three seasons and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Hobart, 38-20.
Washington and Lee has experienced a tremendous amount of success of late, producing a 17-2 record in conference play since the beginning of the 2010 season. The Generals are also riding a 14-game home winning streak entering the 2013 campaign.
Headlining the returnees for W&L is preseason All-America offensive lineman Connor Hollenbeck. A senior and three-year starter, Hollenbeck is the leader of an offensive line that paved the way for the top rushing offense in Division III last season, averaging 363.7 yards per game. Senior Bobby Jones also returns after garnering First Team All-ODAC recognition last season. They will block for returning Second Team All-ODAC quarterback Nick Lombardo who threw for 704 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 1,010 yards and five more scores during his junior campaign in 2012.
On defense, the Generals are led by senior lineman Michael Unholz, who totaled 36 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, en route to posting Second Team All-ODAC laurels.