Saturday's Game: Franklin & Marshall (1-0, 0-0 CC) at Muhlenberg (1-0, 0-0 CC)
Series History: Saturday's game marks the 100th meeting in a series that began in Lancaster 111 years ago with a 69-0 F&M victory. The shutout was the first of nine-consecutive whitewashes spread out over 22 years. F&M took the first four, while Muhlenberg captured the next five. Shutouts are a staple of the series with 26 contests ending with at least one team posting a goose egg. In 1930, the teams held each other scoreless. Saturday's game marks the 54th meeting in Allentown, with Muhlenberg leading 27-26 while the Diplomats lead the all-time series 54-44-1.
F&M Last Week: Franklin & Marshall opened the 2016 football season with a decisive 30-6 victory over Lebanon Valley Saturday afternoon at Sponaugle-Williamson Field. The win is the third straight over the Dutchmen since the teams renewed their rivalry in 2014.
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Taalib Gerald finished the day with 135 yards on 19 carries and two scores. He averaged 7.1 yards a touch and scored twice with a long rush of 40. David Shellhammer added 36 on nine runs, and Taylor Collison finished with 35.
Brendan Daly led the defense with seven stops while Joe Granahan was dominating on the line with six tackles and two sacks for the Diplomats. Michael Sullivan and Vincent Moffett along with Steve Elf all finished with five tackles, including 2.5 for a loss from Elf. Luke Foukas picked off a pass for the Diplomats to go along with two stops.
Muhlenberg Last Week: Senior Nick Palladino threw for 284 yards and broke the school record for career touchdown passes as the Muhlenberg football team began the 2016 season with a 29-22 win at Wilkes.
Junior Nick Savant rushed 14 times for 73 yards and also caught a two-point conversion. Senior Nick Lamb caught seven passes for 125 yards, and senior Ryan Delaneyhauled in 11 passes, including a pair of touchdown strikes.
Senior John Feaster led the defense with nine tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. He also caught a two-point conversion.
Palladino, who entered his senior season as the Mules' all-time leader in passing yardage, completed 26 of 36 attempts and claimed one of the few major school records he didn't already own. His three touchdown passes gave him 65 for his career, topping the mark of 64 set by Michael McCabe in 2000.
Junior Amir Blair made a career-high nine tackles for the Mules, while freshman Mickey Kober had eight in his first career game. Sophomore Nate Corvil added seven stops in his first career start, and senior Mike Luby recorded 1.5 sacks.
Muhlenberg tied a program record by winning its season opener for the fourth year in a row.
The Last Meeting: Franklin & Marshall scored 13 points in the final 4:24 of action to upset No. 23 Muhlenberg 16-15 last season.
F&M trailed 15-3 with 12:45 left in the fourth, and after an hour lighting delay, the Diplomats returned to the field and punted the ball six plays later. The defense forced a four-and-out and F&M took over on its own 43 with 7:25 left to play in the contest.
Matt Magarity marched the Diplomats 53 yards down the field on six plays and Taalib Gerald punched the ball into the end zone with a four-yard spurt on third-and-goal to bring F&M within six, 15-9 and Billy Zwicharowski added the extra point to make it 15-10.
The Mules started the ensuing drive on their own 29 with 4:17 left in the game and slowly took time off the clock. Muhlenberg managed to convert and third-and-two with 2:51 left and appeared to be in control, but Vincent Moffett forced Nick Savant to fumble the ball and Jon Naji recovered on the Muhlenberg 39, giving F&M new hope.
F&M took over with 2:13 left and moved the ball down the field. The Diplomats faced two third downs on the drive and converted both, none bigger than Magarity's 11-yard completion to Bobby Keyes on third-and-nine, giving F&M the ball on the Muhlenberg 11-yardline. Two plays later Magarity took it in from three yards out to put the Diplomats up 16-15 with 1:01 left in the game.
Muhlenberg drove the ball 40-yards down the field on its next possession and appeared to be in field goal range with a completion at the 16-yardline. However, Mike Harris was called for illegal touching after he stepped out of bounds, pushing the Mules back to the 32. With five seconds left, Nick Palladino heaved the ball to back corner of the end zone, but the ball fell short of Max Cepeda, securing the win for the Diplomats.
Magarity finished the day with 133 yards on 11 completions and two picks and added 42 yards on the ground. Palladino went 19-for-29 for 189 yards, two scores and two interceptions for the Mules.
Keyes hauled in a team-high eight passed for 60 yards while Gerald finished with 20 rushing yards and added 27 on three receptions.
Steve Elf led F&M on the defensive side of the ball with 11 tackles (7s) with three going for a loss. Benjamin Okun and Luke Foukas both had eight stops while Brendan Daly and A.J. Koikoi finished with six apiece. Michael Sullivan recorded a sack and Koikoi along with Jon Naji, Sean Triandis and Tom Lyster each picked a half-sack.