KICKING THE OPPONENTS: A 2003 All-CC second team selection at punter, place-kicker/punter Dan Eggertsson (Sr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast) returns to the Diplomats lineup after recording a Centennial Conference best 36.9 punting average as he led the CC in punting average for nine of the season's 10 weeks. He recorded a breakout season in 2003 connecting on 58 punts for 2,142 yards, including a career long 70 yard punt at Centre College as he finished with a career high 293 yards of punting yardage on seven kicks (41.0 avg.) versus the Colonels. In addition, Eggertsson led the Centennial Conference placing 14 punts inside the opponents' 20 yard line and helped clinch Franklin & Marshall's season-ending 14-13 win over Gettysburg booting a 40 yard punt to the Bullets' one yard line with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter. At place-kicker, he made two-of-four field goal attempts connecting on 27 yarders versus Oberlin and Ursinus for the first field goals by an F&M kicker since the final game of the 2001 season, as he is now two-for-seven on FG attempts.
PUTTING IT THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS: Eggertsson connected on a 27-yard field goal versus Oberlin in last year's season opener to snap an 11-game FG-less streak dating back to a 42-yard bomb by Steve Linebaugh '02 in a 24-16 loss to Gettysburg College at Williamson Field on November 10, 2001. This year the streak is much shorter as Eggertsson connected on a 27-yarder at Ursinus in the second to last game of the 2003 season.
BACK IN BLOCKS: Defensive back Chris Santaniello (So., Somers Point, NJ/Mainland) could make history this year as he recorded three blocked kicks with two field goals and an extra point to tie John Schropp for the F&M single season record last year. Currently, he is on pace to reset the school career record of eight blocked kicks held by Schropp.
F&M QUARTERBACKS: A competition could occur at quarterback this year as Franklin & Marshall will boast three potential quarterbacks in Kyle Turner (Fr., Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield), Doug Hiltner (Sr., Margate, NJ/Atlantic City) and 2003 All-CC second team honoree Jeff Harner (Jr., Mohrsville, PA/Schuylkill Valley). Harner, who transferred to F&M from West Chester University prior to last season, stepped into the starting quarterback role beginning with the first game of the season and finished the year ranked among the Conference's best in passing average (2nd, 138.0 ypg), touchdown passes (3rd, 8) and total offense (3rd, 148.8 ypg). Historically, he tied for second all-time in single game completions with 27 for 306 yards versus the #1 nationally ranked pass defense of Johns Hopkins. The most experienced quarterback on the Diplomats' depth chart, Hiltner, who returns via an NCAA granted fifth-year of eligibility due to an injury in his freshman season, completed 48-of-106 attempts for 569 yards and seven touchdowns in five games as a backup last season. His best game came in a 20-14 win over Dickinson College as he rallied Franklin & Marshall from a 14-6 fourth quarter deficit by completing 13-of-32 passing attempts with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion pass. Following a red-shirt freshman season due to an injury and an injury shortened sophomore season in which he appeared in only three games before suffering a broken clavicle on a scramble versus Muhlenberg, Hiltner completed 13-of-25 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns in four relief appearances as a junior in 2002. Overall, the tandem of Harner and Hiltner guided a pass offense last year that finished third all-time in school history in yardage (1,994) and completed an all-time school record 181 passes breaking the record of 174 from the 1992 season.
WHY IS F&M CALLED THE DIPLOMATS?: Franklin & Marshall College's nickname of Diplomats comes from New York Times sportswriter Arthur Daley who coined the name after watching Fordham come back in the fourth quarter behind NFL Hall-of-Famers Vince Lombardi and Alex Wojciechowicz to defeat F&M 14-7 at the Polo Grounds in the season-opening game of the 1935 season. Prior to the game, F&M teams were known as either "Nevonians" or "Big Blue". The name "Diplomats" was derived from the fact that F&M was five minutes late coming out of the locker-room to begin the second half, tardiness, according to Daley, "customary in the diplomatic services of both hemispheres."
OHIO 5-5-0: Last season's 5-5 record was the best at Oberlin since 1974, while the team's 4-2 mark in the Northcoast Athletic Conference was the school's best-ever since joining the conference in 1984.
ABOUT THE YEOMEN: The 2003 season was another step in the right direction for Jeff Ramsey and the Oberlin College football program. Ramsey looks to a group of 32 returning letterwinners to continue building momentum to push the Yeomen to the top of the NCAC standings. Offensively, the Yeomen will continue to improve after ranking sixth last season in scoring offense and ninth in total offense in the NCAC. Junior Shawn Brunner, an All-NCAC selection last season, anchors an offensive unit that returns seven starters. Brunner is a solid run-blocker, but also an exceptional receiver who caught 10 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Ryan Squatrito returns for his third season as the starting quarterback. Last season, he threw over 1,100 yards for seven touchdowns. Squatrito's experience and poise under center is an important factor for the Yeomen offensive unit. Junior Zach Lewis returns as the leading receiver after catching 34 passes for 368 yards and two scores. Lewis is recognized for running precise routes and possessing reliable hands. Travis Oman, a senior running back, returns after rushing for 662 yards and seven touchdowns. During his career, Oman has rushed for over 1,900 yards and 13 scores. Defensively, the Yeomen look to build on last year's outstanding performance where they finished second in scoring defense and sixth in total defense in the NCAC. The Yeomen defense led the NCAC in take-aways and red-zone defense, and they finished second in sacks. The defensive squad is led by All-NCAC selections Jon Ramsier, Vance Murphy, and Vinnie Hachigian. Ramsier, a senior defensive lineman, presents a difficult challenge for opposing offensive lines. Last season, he led the NCAC in tackles for losses with 23.0 and registered 5.5 sacks. Murphy is a junior linebacker, whocompiled 78 tackles and picked off three passes. Murphy is a "playmaker," capable of making the big hit, blocking a kick, or scoring from anywhere on the field when he gets his hands on the ball. Hachigian, a senior linebacker, is the "heart and soul" of the defense, while racking up 89 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, and 8.0 sacks. Hachigian is relentless on defense and is always near the ball, making big play after big play. Senior punter Ryan Drews will lead the special teams. Drews, a first-team All-NCAC selection last season, finished second in the NCAC in punting with an average of 38.6 yards, including an NCAC record 79-yarder, as he placed 24 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Senior Steve Willever, who handles much of the place kicking chores, looks to regain his form that made him a 2002 first-team All-NCAC selection. Sophomore Mike Tomlinson adds depth to the kicking game.
OBERLIN THROUGH THE YEARS: The Yeomen enter this week's game in the midst of a 17-130 record from 1989-2003.
1989 4-6 (Wins: Thiel, 21-14 Season Opener; Hiram, 8-7; Bethany, 17-15; Earlham, 42-20)
1990 1-9 (Win: Thiel, 24-4 Season Opener)
1992 1-8 (Win: Kenyon, 14-8)
1997 1-9 (Win: Thiel, 18-17 Season Opener)
2001 2-8 (Win: Kenyon 53-22, Denison 33-20)
2002 3-7 (Wins: Hiram 35-14, Kenyon 56-17, Denison 30-22)
2003 5-5 (Wins:Hiram 24-12, Wooster 14-7, Kenyon 9-6, Earlham 37-14, Denison 42-3)
OBERLIN COACH JEFF RAMSEY: Jeff Ramsey enters his fifth season as the head football coach at Oberlin College. He is the 31st coach since the Yeomen program started in 1891. Ramsey's past experience includes serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Sonoma State (CA) University. Before Sonoma State, he was the wide receiver and tight end coach at the University of Nevada at Reno. During his tenure at Nevada, the Wolfpack led the NCAA Division I-AA in scoring and passing offense for two years. Ramsey's teams participated in the 1991 NCAA Division I-AA championship game and the 1990 semifinals. In addition, he was an assistant coach at Marietta College, where he was defensive backfield coach and the head golf coach; the University of Illinois, where he was a graduate assistant coach in charge of the tight ends and running backs for two seasons; and at his alma mater, UC-Davis, where he served as the freshmen coach and offensive coordinator, and tight end coach for the varsity team. While at UC-Davis, Ramsey coached in the 1982 NCAA Division II championship game, the 1983 semifinals and the 1984 and 85 quarterfinals. He has coached seven All-Americans as well as 12 players who have seen action in the National Football League. As a player, Ramsey was the starting wide receiver and backup quarterback for two seasons at UC-Davis. He was a member of two conference championship teams and made two Division II playoff appearances. Before playing at UC-Davis, Ramsey was the starting wide receiver and was a member of one conference championship team at Fullerton (CA) Junior College. Ramsey earned a master of science in kinesiology and athletic administration in 1988 from the University of Illinois. He also received a bachelor of arts in physical education in 1983 from the University of California at Davis. Ramsey and his wife Elizabeth have two children, Shane and C.J.
F&M PROJECTED STARTERS:
WR Derek Boyce (Jr., 6-0, 190, Lancaster, PA)
WR Rob Donofrio (So., 5-10, 170, Sea Girt, NJ)
TE Matt Mondonedo (So., 6-0, 220, Silver Spring, MD)
LT Jeff Pawlikowski (Jr., 6-2, 237, Bernville, PA)
LG Brian Rice (So., 6-2, 310, Rockville, MD)
C Jeff Gunn (Jr., 6-1, 235, Tunkhannock. PA)
RG Nick Maturi (So, 6-1, 255, Oakland, NJ)
RT Rory Regan (Jr., 6-3, 300, Waretown, NJ)
QB Jeff Harner (So., 6-2, 210, Mohrsville, PA)
TB Scott Stephen (Sr., 5-7, 180, Glen Rock, NJ)
FB Rick Dunlap (So., 5-9, 185, Boothwyn, PA)
CB Matt Pastore (So., 5-10, 175, Ridgewood, NJ)
CB JC Capote (So., 5-10, 180, Ridgefield Park, NJ)
SS Ryan Carrozza (So., 5-10, 175, Cherry Hill, NJ)
FS Ryan Sychterz (Jr., 5-10, 176, Sinking Spring, PA)
DL Matt Capone (Sr., 6-1, 245, Scarsdale, NY)
DL Jack Duncan (Fr., 6-0, 255, Nottingham, PA)
DL Chris White (Sr., 6-0, 200, Vestal, NY)
LB Justin Koch (Sr., 6-0, 200, Schuylkill Haven, PA)
LB George Farrell (Fr., 6-1, 220, Hatfield, PA)
LB Chris Stepien (Jr., 5-9, 175, Fairfield, NJ)
LB John Warnick (So., 6-2, 215, Rockville, MD)
PK Dan Eggertsson (Sr., 6-1, 180, Royal Palm, FL)
P Dan Eggertsson (Sr., 6-1, 180, Royal Palm, FL)