Diplomats Down McDaniel in OT Thriller

Oct. 27, 2007

Box Score

WESTMINSTER, Md. - Ryan Murray ran for 215 yards but it was a five-yard Kyle Turner-to-Jay Ridinger touchdown pass and Byron Avery forced fumble in overtime that gave Franklin & Marshall a 24-17 victory over McDaniel in Centennial Conference (CC) football action on Saturday.

Turner, who entered the day with 1,523 yards passing for the second-highest number in the CC, finished with 192 yards through the air on 18 of 27 passing with a pair of touchdowns to lead the Diplomats (2-6, 2-4 CC) to their fourth consecutive win over the Green Terror (1-7, 1-5 CC) and second straight overtime victory in Westminster.

Tom Wenrich paced McDaniel with 208 yards passing, completing 21 of 48 attempts. Brian Amenta was his favorite target, catching a career-high eight balls for 73 yards.

McDaniel won the toss to start overtime and elected to play defense first. After five plays, keyed by a 14-yard catch by Stew Ryan - his only reception of the day, Turner found Ridinger darting across the back of the end zone. Chris Minck converted the ensuing PAT to give the Diplomats a 24-17 advantage.

Eric Zwilsky ripped off 11 yards on the Green Terror's first two plays of overtime. On the next play from scrimmage, Saum Sami carried to the Franklin & Marshall 7 before Avery forced McDaniel's third fumble of the day, which Zach Romash recovered inside the two-yard line to secure the win.

In a game that started out destined as a shootout, four of the first seven drives ended in touchdowns.

After the Green Terror punted on its opening possession, Murray ripped off two runs totaling 34 yards before Turner found Paul Sousa two plays later for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

McDaniel responded with a 9-play, 67-yard drive to knot the game at 7. Wenrich and Amenta hooked up for two catches and 26 yards, including a 14-yard completion on fourth-and-8 at the Diplomat 31 to keep the drive alive. Zwilsky capped the drive with a five-yard run off right tackle.

Murray carried the ball six times for 61 yards on the ensuing Franklin & Marshall possession, a drive that covered 80 yards in eight plays.

Set up with the ball at the Diplomat 34 after a 37-yard Travis Wenrich punt return to start the second quarter, Travis' older brother Tom marched the Green Terror to the end zone in five plays.

Matt Bergbauer caught a 24-yard pass on the drive and then hauled in a three-yard jump pass from his senior quarterback. Jay Leonard's PAT knotted the game at 14.

Neither team moved the ball inside their opponents' 25 over the remainder of the second quarter.

Four Murray carries for 19 yards and a 33-yard Turner-to-Sousa pass play, setting up a 27-yard field goal from Sousa to make it a 17-14 game.

McDaniel finally responded on its second possession of the fourth quarter when Leonard converted from 34 yards out for his longest field goal of the season.

Four three-and-outs over the remainder of regulation forced overtime.

Ryan Mellinger and Derek Zabko finished with 11 tackles while Bryan Letourneau finished with 10. Mellinger added 2.5 sacks while Letourneau had 1.5.

James Gregory led the Diplomat defense with 12 tackles and two pass breakups. Jeff Kellar, Byron Avery and Zach Romash all finished with 10 tackles.