ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL: Franklin & Marshall College punter Dan Eggertsson (Sr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast), defensive back Chris Santaniello (So., Somers Point, NJ/Mainland), tailback Scott Stephen (Sr., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) and quarterback Jeff Harner (So., Mohrsville, PA/Schuylkill Valley) rank among the nation's best in the September 20 NCAA Division III football statistics. Ranked first in the Centennial Conference with a 41.5 punting average, Eggertsson ranks ninth in the nation as the senior booter has registered 15 punts for 622 yards. For his career, Eggertsson has punted 108 times for 4,044 yards, an average of 37.44 yards per punt, as he moved ahead of Andy Gilburg '00 (37.2) and into second place in career punting average in the history of the Conference behind Jon Bushey '97. At tailback, Stephen ranks 13th in scoring as he is averaging 12.0 points per game with six touchdowns in three games.Harner ranks 16th in passing efficiency (161.4) as he has completed 32 of 58 attempts for 585 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions in three games. On defense, Santaniello ranks 14th in forced fumbles as he has tallied two versus Hobart for an average of 0.67 per game. For his career, he has 50 tackles, two interceptions for 30 yards, two forced fumbles, three blocked kicks and eight passes defended. As a team, the Diplomats rank 32nd in total offense (426.0 ypg), 17th in passing offense (276.3 ypg) and 30th in scoring offense (37.0 ppg) per game in the national statistics as the team is outscoring opponents 111-42 through the first three games of the season.
IN THE POLLS: The Franklin & Marshall College football team is ranked 39th in NCAA Division III in the September 20 Lazindex.com Power Rankings. Following a 35-14 win over #61 Hobart College on September 18, Franklin & Marshall is 3-0 on the season as the team knocked off #183 Bethany (35-7 W) and #166 Oberlin College (41-21 W) to open the season with three straight victories for the first time since the 2002 team knocked off Oberlin (13-6 W), Catholic (13-6 W) and Ursinus (34-10 W). Overall, the Diplomats are the #2 ranked team in the Centennial Conference according to the Lazindex.com behind #26 Johns Hopkins University. McDaniel (#41), Muhlenberg (#55), Dickinson (#88), Ursinus (#143) and Gettysburg (#170) round out the Conference's representation in the poll. A computer generated ranking based upon record, winnig percentage, strength of schedule and margin of ictory in Division III games, the Lazindex is available online at www.lazindex.com.
IN THE POLLS II: The Franklin & Marshall College football team is ranked 10th in the Mid-Atlantic Region according to the September 20 Massey Ratings system. Ranked 39th in the Lazindex.com Power Rankings and 76th in the Massey Ratings for all of NCAA Division III, the Diplomats are ranked behind Bridgewater, Johns Hopkins, McDaniel, Muhlenberg, Hampden-Sydney, Lycoming, Christopher Newport, Moravian and Albright in the latest regional poll. A computer generated ranking based upon record, winning percentage, strength of schedule and margin of victory in Division III games, the Massey ratings are available online at ww.mratings.com
SOUTHERN LINE: Division I transfers Aubrey "Dev" Wakeley (Fr., Gardendale, AL/Gardendale) of Jacksonville State (AL) and Brian Rice (So., Rockville, MD/Good Counsel) of Southeast Louisiana State could strengthen F&M's offensive line. The first 300+ pound linemen for Franklin & Marshall since 400 lbs. Thor Mahan in 2000, the duo will anchor a line which will look to key the Diplomats' rushing attack as F&M gained 1,060 yards on 357 carries last season.
PUTTING FANS IN THE SEATS: Franklin & Marshall College finished the 2003 season ranked 98th in Division III home football attendance. F&M, which drew an average of 1,804 fans to its five home dates, experienced an average increase of 505 fans per game this year as the Diplomats drew 9, 020 people to Sponaugle-Williamson Field in 2003. Franklin & Marshall joined McDaniel and Gettysburg as the only Centennial Conference schools to experience an increase in attendance last year. Ranked 10th in the nation in average attendance (3,738), Muhlenberg drew 14,950 people for four home games, an average increase of 1,142 people per game. In addition, Gettysburg, ranked 52nd in average attendance (2,531) drew 12,656 people for five home games, an average increase of 768 over the 2002 season. Overall, F&M outdrew 131 institutions including Trinity in Texas (107th, 1,694), Rochester (117th, 1,600), Wittenberg (146th, 1,320), Allegheny (148th, 1,301), Centre (170th, 1,040), Oberlin (175th, 1,022), Johns Hopkins (182nd, 908), MIT (199th, 696), Colorado College (201st, 671) and Kenyon (207th, 598th). In the Conference rankings, the Centennial Conference finished 20th of 43 Division II and III athletic conferences with an average attendance of 2,168 per game. As a group the "Centennial Seven" of Dickinson, Gettysburg, F&M, Johns Hopkins, McDaniel, Muhlenberg and Ursinus outdrew the Middle Atlantic Conference (22nd, 2,002), Empire 8 (24th, 1,958) and New Jersey (27th, 1,889) conferences.
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. In the latest NCAA Division III statistics, he is ranked 14th in forced fumbles as he has tallied two versus Hobart for an average of 0.67 per game. For his career, he has 50 tackles, two interceptions for 30 yards, two forced fumbles, three blocked kicks and eight passes defended.
WHEN THEY FIRST MET: In 1909, F&M travelled west to play then Carnegie Tech in the first ever meeting between the two schools. It is noted in the 1940 game program, the first meeting between the two school sin Lancaster, about the 1909 game, "It is interesting to note the spirit and enthusiasm shown by the student body and alumni for the Tech game as well as throughout the whole season. The student body sent the team off for Pittsburgh with a parade to the station, which surpassed even the traditional "night-shirt" parade in spirit and participation. The Pittsburgh alumni met the train and drove the team to the Hotel Schenley in cars. The players were treated by the alumni with a tour of the city in autos and a serenade in the hotel before the game. The grads tendered the team a box party at the Alvin theatre the evening after the game where they saw Blanch Ring in 'The Yankee Girl.' The Carnegie players occupied opposite boxes, while the theatre was decorated with the colors of the two schools." Prior to the game, controversy arose as, "Carnegie charged that F&M alumnus, Dr. Simpson, had unethically 'scouted' Tech after he officiated at their game of the week before. On the other hand, the Nevonians (as F&M was then known) contended that the officials of the game, one of whom was the Carnegie Mellon coach of 1908, weren't selected until the morning of the game, and greatly favored the home team." But it wouldn't matter as the Skibos (as CMU was then known) defeated F&M 11-5. In 1940, the next meeting between the two teams CMU would continue their winning streak by downing F&M 18-6. Strangely, F&M would commit the same crime that they accused CMU of in 1909 as head referee H.R. Witwer was an F&M alumnus. The Diplomats would finally get their first win over the Tartans in 1948 as they dropped Carnegie Mellon 19-0.
WHY DO THE GRANDSTANDS LOOK LIKE THE MOVIE "BRAVEHEART": The stands at Carnegie Mellon will be a sea of plaid as the Tartan's Kiltie Band will make an appearance. Attired in traditional Scottish kilts and playing an assortment of instruments, including bagpipes, the Kiltie Band are one of the most unique supporting bands in all of collegiate sports. The Kiltie Band made its public appearance on Andrew Carnegies' birthday, November 25, 1922, at Forbes Field where Carnegie Tech played the University of Notre Dame. Today the Kiltie Band is under the direction of Paul Gerlach, a Pittsburgh native and graduate of Carnegie Mellon. Gerlach earned his bachelor's degree in music education and trumpet in 1968, before receiving a master's degree in trumpet in 1969, and musicology in 1972. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, Gerlach became the band director at Bellevue Junior and Senior High Schools. In 1976, he moved to the Northgate School District before becoming director of the Kiltie Band in 1983. Gerlach is an artist lecturer in Carnegie Mellon's music department.
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."
CARNEGIE MELLON COACH RICK LACKNER : During the past two decades, Carnegie Mellon University has fielded one of the most successful football programs in NCAA Division III. It is no coincidence that Rich Lackner's association with the Tartans' program has spanned that same period. Named head coach in 1986, Lackner has directed the Tartans to a 127-50-2 (.709) record, eight conference championships and an NCAA playoff berth. Last year's 6-4 mark moved Lackner further ahead on Carnegie Mellon's all-time win list. Lackner passed Walter Steffen, who guided Carnegie Tech to an 88-53-8 mark from 1914-32, on Sept. 19, 1998 as the Tartans defeated Bethany College , 38-7. Carnegie Mellon has risen to unprecedented prominence in the University Athletic Association (UAA) under Lackner. The Tartans own seven UAA titles and have an impressive conference record of 39-13 (.736). Lackner has been named the UAA Coach-of-the-Year four times, in the 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1997 seasons. Lackner's ties to Carnegie Mellon football date back much further than his head coaching tenure, however. He was an assistant coach from 1979-85 and was a standout linebacker for the Tartans from 1975-78. From the time he first stepped onto Carnegie Mellon?s campus as a freshman, Lackner has never experienced a losing football season. In total, he has been a part of 29 consecutive winning seasons, 13 conference championships, five NCAA playoff appearances and a 228-78-4 (.735) record from 1975-2001. Lackner himself had an exceptional athletic and academic career at Carnegie Mellon. A four-year starter at linebacker, he was a three-time All-Presidents' Athletic Conference pick as well as the PAC's 1976 Defensive Player-of-the-Year. In 1978 Lackner was named to the Pittsburgh Press All-District Team and received a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Award. Also a model student, he was twice named an Academic All-America. During his playing career, Carnegie Mellon had a four-year mark of 28-7-1 and won PAC titles in 1977 and 1978. The Tartans advanced to the NCAA Playoffs in 1978, marking their first postseason appearance since the 1939 Sugar Bowl. Following his 1979 graduation with a bachelor's degree in history, Lackner remained with head coach Chuck Klausing as an assistant coach. Seven years later, Lackner was named head coach when Klausing left to join Mike Gottfried's staff at Pitt.
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)