SELLINSGROVE, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall escaped with a 27-24 victory over Susquehanna in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. The Diplomats improved to 4-0, 3-0 CC while the River Hawks dropped to 2-2, 1-2 CC.
Susquehanna took an early 3-0 lead five minutes into the game before F&M answered on its next drive. The Diplomats put together a 17-play, 69-yard drive that took 9:12 off the clock. F&M converted two third downs and two fourth down on the drive and scored on 4th-and-17 when Tanner Erisman found Fortunato Perri for a 32-yard score to make it 7-3.
Joe Granahan came away with an interception on SU's next series and F&M converted the turnover into three points when Drew Tomlinson connected on a 25-yard field goal to put F&M up 10-3, with 10:51 left in the half. SU countered with a 90-yard drive that took up the remaining of the second and scored with 1:03 left to make it 10-10 at the break.
F&M scored 10 straight out of the break and took the lead for good. Just two plays into their drive, F&M scored when Erisman found Dillon Alderfer on a 57-yard pass for the go-ahead score. Tomlinson made it 20-10 when he drilled a 32-yard field goal at 4:38 in the third.
The River Hawks looked to change momentum with a score midway through the fourth to cut the deficit to three, 20-17, but the Diplomats answered 59 seconds later when Erisman raced 66 yards on an option to put F&M back up 10, 27-17.
Susquehanna answered and put a long drive together and scored with 1:38 left in the game. The River Hawks recovered the ensuing onside kick, but two plays into the drive Joe Granahan had a strip-sack and Bobby McDevitt recovered the ball to secure the win for F&M.
Tanner Erisman completed 10-of-17 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and added another 79 yards on 11 rushes with one touchdown. Taalib Gerald picked up 66 yards on 21 rushes while Dillon Alderfer had 78 receiving yards and one score and Fortunato Perri finished with 46 yards and a touchdown.
K.J. Boston led the defense with 10 stops (5 solo) and Ben Okun along with Bobby McDevitt each recorded eight stops. McDevitt also recorded one sack, and a fumble recovery for the Diplomats. Vincent Speranza had seven tackles with 1.5 sacks and Joe Granahan ended the game with three tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and one interception.
F&M returns to action next Saturday when the Diplomats host Muhlenberg at 1:00 p.m. for the final football game at Sponaugle-Williamson Field.