LANCASTER, Pa. – Lamont Jackson rushed for 86 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Franklin & Marshall to a 28-21 victory over Muhlenberg in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. The victory snaps Muhlenberg's two game win-streak as the Diplomats improved to 1-1, 1-0 CC.
F&M jumped out to a 3-0 lead almost five minutes in the second quarter when Connor Ryan booted a 20-yard field goal. The kick capped an 18-play, 74-yard drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock.
Muhlenberg (1-1, 0-1 CC) responded two series later when an interception by Chris Flynn gave the Mules the ball on the F&M 22. Two plays later Joe Carlucci found Cody Geyer for a 19-yard score that gave Muhlenberg a 7-3 lead with 3:05 left until halftime.
The Diplomats countered on their next series when F&M marched 64-yards down the field in 2:46 to set up another Ryan field goal attempt. The freshmen made the best of the opportunity drilling the 31-yard kick to bring F&M within a point, 7-6, at halftime.
F&M went up for good on the its second possession of the third quarter. E.J. Schneider went 6-of-6 for 46 yards to open the drive and Jackson rushed five times for 19 yards including a one-yard plunge on third and goal to make it 13-7. The Diplomats were successful on the two-point conversion when Schneider found Paul Koehler in the end zone, which gave F&M a 14-7 edge.
Schneider made it 21-7 when his six-yard jaunt capped off a nine-play, 60-yard drive with 13:47 left in the game.
The Mules quickly answered on their ensuing possession taking just three plays to go 71 yards. The drive ended with a 54-yard pitch and catch from Nick Palladino to Cody Geyer for a 21-14 score at 12:17.
Two series later, Jackson scored his second touchdown of the game on 23-yard to make it 28-14. The series was set up by a fourth down stop by the F&M defense on the Mules previous possession. Muhlenberg attempted to convert a fourth-and-five, but Aaron Fant broke up the pass, giving F&M the ball on their own 48.
Nick Pallaadino rushed in from six yards out for the Mules final score at 4:23 to make it 28-21. Muhlenberg had one more opportunity after forcing F&M to punt, but the Diplomats' defense again stepped up again and forced a turnover on downs.
Schneider's two-yard pickup on third-and-one on the Diplomats next series secured the win as the Diplomats were able to run out the clock.
F&M outgained Muhlenberg 456 to 239 yards on offense and held a 38:48 to 21:12 advantage in time of possession.
Schneider completed 30-of-42 passes for 301 yards and became just the ninth Diplomat to toss over 4,000 career yards. The senior added 45 more on the ground.
Connor Ryan went 2-for-2 on PAT attempts and kicked two field goals for the Diplomats.
Brendan Wengerter reached double-digit tackles for the second straight week with a team-high 10 stops, two went for a loss and one resulted in a sack. A.J. Koikoi had a sack and finished with five tackles, while Chris DeStefano had two pass breakups and four tackles.
F&M returns to action next Saturday when the Diplomats travel to Ursinus for a 1:00 pm start.