Diplomats Bounce Bears

Diplomats Bounce Bears

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Franklin & Marshall scored 24 unanswered points to erase an early 9-0 deficit and cruised to a 34-12 victory over Ursinus in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon at Sponaugle-Williamson Field.  F&M improved to 2-1, 1-1 CC while Bears dropped to 0-3, 0-2 CC. 

Ursinus look to be in control early with a 9-0 lead late in the first quarter as the F&M offense struggled to pick up a first down. The Diplomats finally got things going late in the first when F&M took the ball on their own 22-yardline and drove 78 yards in six plays to put its first points on the board. Tanner Erisman had 55 rushing yards on the drive, including a 35-yard jaunt that brought F&M within two, 9-7. 

On the Bears next possession, the F&M defense forced a three-and-out and on 4th-and-19, Taylor Collison blocked the punt by Ursinus, and Tyler Schubert recovered the ball in the end zone for the go-ahead score. 

After another great defensive stand by F&M, the Diplomats started their first drive of the second on the 46. On 3rd-and-5, Erisman found Andrew DeStefano for 35 yards and two plays later Joshua Young took ball 10 yards to the house on a reverse to give F&M a 21-9 lead midway through the second quarter. 

The Diplomats tacked on three more on their next series when Billy Zwicharowski connected from 38 yards out to put F&M up 24-9 heading into the break. 

Ursinus put three more on the board early in the third, but it was all F&M after that field goal. The Diplomats went ahead 27-12 on a 13-play, 42-yard drive at the end of the third quarter capped off by a 30-yard field goal from Zwicharowski. 

The teams exchanged possessions early in the fourth with F&M striking on a two-yard run by Erisman with a little over three minutes to play. The Bears drove inside the 20 on their next possession, but Vincent Moffett picked off a pass on the 1-yardline to secure the win. 

Erisman ended the contest with a game-high 74 yards on 15 rushes with two touchdowns. He added another 108 through the air with 10 completions. Taalib Gerald rushed for 51 yards on 18 touches and Dave Shellhammer racked up 47 yards on 11 carries. DeStefano led the receivers with six catches for 75 yards. 

Zwicharowski finished the game with 10 points, hitting four extra points and connecting on field goals of 38 and 30 yards. Cody Hubbs average 41.7 a punt and placed two inside the 20. 

The defense was relentless all afternoon led by Luke Foukas with seven tackles ( 6s), including three sacks. Joe Granahan finished with eight stops (5s) and recorded two tackles for a loss (tfl) and one sack. Brendan Daly had five solo stops with one assist and Moffett ended the day with five stops, one pick, and one tfl. Steve Elf and Jon Naji both recorded half a sack. 

F&M returns to action next Saturday when the Diplomats travel to Juniata for a 1:00 p.m.