Franklin & Marshall faces tough foe in conference opener;

September 28, 2006

Franklin & Marshall takes to the road Saturday, Sept. 30th for its Centennial Conference opener where they will face a versatile Muhlenberg squad.

John Troxell's Diplomats (1-2, 0-0) are coming off of a 34-14 loss at Carnegie Mellon, but the first year coach saw plenty of positives despite the outcome.

"We did a good job of running the football and I think that's largely because of our five guys up front," Troxell said.

He was actually referring to six different players - Jim Ishkanian, Brian Rice, Randall Marquis, Dan Muller, Jeff Brabant and Patrick Boyle.

Two have come up huge week after week offensively in quarterback Kyle Turner and running back Curtis Varner. Varner has gone over the 100-yard plateau twice, while Turner has shown he can get it done with his arm or his legs.

Turner had a touchdown pass to Robert Donofrio in the Mellon loss. "Rob had a good game after being hurt (vs. Kean) with a leg sprain," Troxell said. "It was good to get him back."

Though the Dips took their lumps defensively, linebackers James Gregory and George Farrell both came up big.

Muhlenberg comes in with a 2-1 record and, according to Troxell, will field a very solid offensive squad.

"What makes them go is that they have so many guys that can do so many different things," he said. "They've got a very athletic quarterback (Eric Santagato) and he's got a couple of big tight ends as targets. They're just a very versatile offensive team. Defensively, they do a good job of keeping you out of your rhythm."

Santagato has thrown for 446 yards, one touchdown and has run for another. Running back John DeLuca has rushed for 154 yards and two scores.

Despite all of that, Troxell feels that the biggest key to the game will be winning the special teams war. "They've already faked a punt, kicked it on-sides and blocked a kick," he said. "We're going to have to win it there."

In conjuction with WFNM and College Communications, will be audio webcasting the F&M vs. Muhlenberg football game on Saturday afternoon.

To listen to the live webcast, simply press the play button below after 12:45pm on game day.

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