THIS WEEK'S GAME: This week's game marks the 96th meeting between the Diplomats and Red Devils in a series that began in 1889. The Diplomats hold a 59-33-3 advantage after knocking off Dickinson 20-14 in Lancaster in the second overtime game in Franklin & Marshall College history. Prior to last year the Red Devils had won four straight as Dickinson has captured 13 of the last 16 meetings in the series. Historically, F&M had not defeated Dickinson at home since a 13-10 victory in 1987 and had not picked up a win in the series since a 26-23 triumph at Biddle Field in 1998 prior to last season's victory. Streaks have been the story of the series over the last 30+ years as from 1970-1987, Franklin & Marshall College consistently defeated Dickinson. However, from 1988-1995, Dickinson responded with an eight year winning streak. The game will be broadcast on WFNM-FM (89.1) in Lancaster and on WDCV-FM (88.3) in Carlisle.
FANTASTIC FIVE: Franklin & Marshall will seek to win the program's fifth game of the season against Dickinson. Historically, F&M has not won five games in a season since 1996 when the team went 9-2, 6-1 in Centennial Conference play, while defeating Carnegie Mellon (28-7 W), Randolph Macon (20-13 W), Muhlenberg (53-0 W), Dickinson (14-12 W), Hobart (38-24 W), McDaniel (38-7 W), Swarthmore (35-7 W), Johns Hopkins (20-14 W) and Gettysburg (35-6 W).
HOPKINS-DICKINSON AT HOME: F&M has never lost to Dickinson & Johns Hopkins at home in the same season. The closest F&M ever came to dropping a pair at Williamson Field occurred in 1949 as JHU defeated the Diplomats 14-13, but F&M tied Dickinson 13-13. In other JHU-Dickinson in Lancaster years the following occurred:
1951 -- F&M 52, JHU 7 / F&M 27, Dickinson 6
1953 -- F&M 47, JHU 13 / F&M 39, Dickinson 6
1955 -- F&M 41, JHU 19 / F&M 21, Dickinson 14
OTHER CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE GAMES: The 2004 season enters its seventh week of action with three games involving Centennial Conference schools. On Saturday, Dickinson visits Franklin & Marshall (1:00 p.m.), Muhlenberg travels to Johns Hopkins (1:00 p.m.) and Gettysburg hosts Ursinus (1:00 p.m.). McDaniel is off this week before travelin to F&M for a game on October 30.
SHOULN'T THIS BE IN CARLISLE: If you go by the Conference schedule's alternating home-and-away series, then the answer is yes. However, F&M and Dickinson agreed to swap games in 2004 and 2005 so the Diplomats will travel to Carlisle in 2005 and 2006 before returning home to Lancaster in 2007.
LAST MEETING - F&M 20, DICKINSON 14 OT: Wide receiver Matt Wagaman '03 pulled in a three-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Doug Hiltner (Sr., Margate, NJ/Atlantic City) in overtime and linebackers Matt Capone (Sr., Scarsdale, NY/Scarsdale) and Andy Rehring '04 stopped Dickinson tailback Dennis Nelson on fourth-and-three at the F&M five yard line to close out the game as Franklin & Marshall knocked off Dickinson 20-14 in overtime. The game marked the second overtime game in the 117-year history of the Franklin & Marshall College football program as the Diplomats fell 27-20 on September 18, 1999 at Ursinus College. Trailing 14-6 with 45 seconds left on the game clock in regulation, Hiltner hit wide receiver Sean Flynn '04 for a 12-yard touchdown to cap a 10 play, 71 yard drive to bring Franklin & Marshall within 14-12. Needing the two-point conversion to force overtime, Hiltner connected with an uncovered Joe McGuigan to force overtime. In OT, the Diplomats won the toss and elected to take the ball as the NCAA overtime regulations dictate that each team receives the ball on the 25-yard line with a chance to score. The Diplomats moved the ball on their first three downs as Scott Stephen (Sr., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) rushed for one yard and Hiltner connected with Justin Salton '03 on four and nine yard receptions to place the ball on the Dickinson 11-yard line. With a first down, Hiltner completed an eight-yard pass to Derek Boyce (Jr., Lancaster, PA/Lampeter-Strasburg) before Dickinson took a timeout. Facing second and two on the Dickinson three-yard line, Hiltner connected with Wagaman for a 20-14 lead. An extra point attempt by Dan Eggertsson (Sr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast) was wide left to open the door for a Dickinson victory. On Dickinson's series of downs, Dennis Nelson rushed for gains of seven and six yards to set the ball on the F&M 12 yard line with a first down. Matt Reisig rushed for three and four yards on the first to plays to move the ball to the F&M five-yard line and set up third down. On third-and-three, Nelson was stopped for no gain by Tim Barry (Jr., Madison, NJ/Madison) and Joe Edwards (Sr., Middletown, NJ/Middletown North) as Dickinson faced fourth-and-three. On fourth down, Nelson was tackled for a one-yard loss by Rehring and Capone to seal the first overtime victory in Franklin & Marshall College history and the first win against the Red Devils since a 26-23 victory in 1998 at Dickinson. Overall, Hiltner finished 13-for-32 with one interception and a pair of touchdown throws in relief of starter Jeff Harner (So., Mohrsville, PA/Schuylkill Valley) who completed 9-of-17 for 140 yards in the first half. In the first half, Harner and the Diplomats built an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter as the freshman quarterback engineered an five play, 70 yard drive before scampering eight yards on a keeper 2:14 into the game. Eggertsson's extra point attempt was blocked by Dickinson's Bill Corcoran to keep the Red Devils within 6-0. Dickinson responded in the second quarter as Reisig rushed four yards into the endzone to finish off a 12 play, 54-yard drive with 1:45 left in the first half. In the second half, Dickinson took advantage of an F&M turnover as Hiltner fumbled on the F&M 35 and Nate Moore recovered on the 30-yard line to set the Dickinson offense up in Diplomats' territory. The Red Devils' needed just three plays to build the lead to 14-6 as Nelson finished off the scoring drive with a 31-yard scamper down the sideline and into the endzone to set up F&M's comeback and victory. Needing eight points to tie and force overtime, the Diplomats started on their own 29 yard line with 1:58 left in the game. On first down, Hiltner connected with Salton on a 17-yard pass to move the ball to the F&M 46. Following an incomplete pass, Salton reeled in a 12-yard pass to move the ball to the Dickinson 42 and give the Diplomats a first down. Following an F&M timeout, Wagaman pulled in a 13-yard pass to move the ball to the 29 and give the Diplomats another first down. Following back-to-back incomplete passes, Boyce snagged a 17-yard pass to move the ball to the Dickinson 12 yard line and set up Flynn's dramatic touchdown grab. For Franklin & Marshall, Salton pulled down nine passes for 122 yards for his 14th career 100-yard game. In addition, Wagaman caught seven passes for 78 yards as the Diplomats pulled in 22 passes for 274 yards on 49 attempts. For Dickinson, Nelson led the offense with 17 carries for 71 yards as the Red Devils totaled 205 yards of rushing offense on 64 carries. Further, quarterback Keven Williams completed six-of-18 passes for 65 yards as the Devils finished with 251 yards of net offense to the Diplomats 351. Overall, Dickinson dominated the time of possession 34:33 to 25:27 as the Red Devils held F&M to just three minutes of possession time in the fourth quarter. On defense, Rehring led the Diplomats with a career high 18 tackles, including three tackles-for-loss of four yards and a sack for loss of two yards, while also forcing and recovering a fumble. Joe LoCastro (Jr., Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic) finished second on the team in tackles with 12, including three tackles-for-loss of five yards, while Dan Nadler '04 tallied nine tackles with four tackles-for-loss of 10 yards. For Dickinson, Corcoran led the Devils with 12 tackles, with one solo hit, and two tackles-for-loss of 13 yards as the Red Devils sacked the F&M quarterbacks six times. With the victory, the Diplomats won the Conestoga Wagon trophy for the first time since 1998.
THE CONESTOGA WAGON: Today marks the only trophy game of the year for F&M in football as the Diplomats and Red Devils will play for pride, a Centennial Conference win and the Conestoga Wagon trophy. Since 1963, the Diplomats and Red Devils have played for a crafted model of the wagon that transported the teams to play each other in 1889, the year in which the team's first played one another. The trophy was donated by athletic directors J. Shober Barr (F&M) and Dave Eavenson (Dickinson) to symbolize the friendly football gridiron rivalry between the two institutions. Historically, F&M holds a 24-16 advantage in Wagon games.
FISH, SHOES & WAGONS: F&M is 1-1 in trophy games this year as the men's soccer team fell to Elizabethtown 1-0 to lose the Smith-Herr Bronze Boot and the volleyball team defeated Elizabethtown in the "Harrisburg Spike" match. In volleyball, the loser of the "Spike" match is awarded a wooden fish (a pike, actually) that must be displayed. Unfortunately, Elizabethtown misplaced the fish four years ago, so now the tournament trophy is in name only.
22 YEARS OF CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE FOOTBALL: 2004 also marks the 22nd season of Centennial Conference football. The Centennial Conference, celebrating its 12th anniversary of sponsoring championships for men and women in 23 varsity sports, evolved from the Centennial Football Conference (CFC). Founded in 1981, the CFC began play in 1983 as a football-only affiliation, including F&M, Dickinson, Gettysburg, Johns Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Swarthmore, Ursinus and McDaniel. F&M's first Centennial Conference win was a 19-0 shutout of the Dickinson Red Devils at Sponaugle-Williamson Field.
LAST WEEK'S GAME - McDANIEL 20, DICKINSON 0: The Dickinson football team suffered a 20-0 defeat at the hands of McDaniel College in Westminster College on October 16. Senior Kevin Kozup returned to form for the Red Devils, rushing for 100 yards on 27 carries, the first Devil to reach 100 yards in a game this season. It was also the most individual yards allowed by the Green Terror defense this season. Both teams had trouble moving the ball in the opening quarter, each punting on their first three possessions. Entering the second, Dickinson appeared to have the Terror pinned down when Drew Magyar faked a field goal and punted the ball to the McDaniel two-yard line. McDaniel went for it all on the first play as Brad Baer connected with Jaime Unger for a school record 98-yard touchdown pass to put the Terror in front 7-0. The Devils tried to answer on the next possession, but came up short on a 43-yard field-goal attempt. The score remained 7-0 at halftime and throughout the third quarter. The Devils had another field-goal opportunity on their first possession of the third quarter, but the ball struck the left upright from 35 yards out. McDaniel put together a pair of solid drives in the fourth quarter with Jason Hartman scoring on a two-yard dive, and Baer reaching the endzone on a 10-yard run. Baer finished with 44 yards rushing and 112 in the air on just three completions. Brod Maybank ran for a game-high 108 yards. Senior Gerald O'Hara caught five passes for 39 yards and had a pair of returns for 46 yards. Three different punters combined for a 39.5 average, including Magyar's kick to the two yard line, and a 51 yard boot from Cody Peer that went to the McDaniel one-yard line on the Devils' final possession. Defensively, freshman Eric Dube posted a team-high nine tackles, including one-for-loss. Todd Bagnull had eight tackles, one-for-loss and blocked the final extra-point attempt.
AMONG COMMON OPPONENTS: Dickinson is 1-2 against common opponents with the Diplomats as the Red Devils fell to Hobart (31-10 L) and Muhlenberg (23-3 L), but defeated Johns Hopkins (17-7 W). Ironically, F&M is 2-1 against the three opponents defeating Hobart (35-14 W) and Muhlenberg (15-10 W), but falling to Johns Hopkins (20-14 L). The Red Devils best game of the season came against Hopkins in a Friday night game on October 1 as Dickinson turned two of the six turnovers it forced into touchdowns. Dickinson came up with interceptions on three straight Blue Jay possessions in the first half, but it was JHU's first fumble of the game that the Devils turned into their first touchdown. Adam Cook mishandled a loose ball on a punt and the Devils recovered at the JHU 46. The Devils finally took advantage of the Blue Jays' generosity as Mike D'Amico capped a nine-play, 46-yard drive with a three-yard run with just 3:35 remaining in the first half to give DC a 7-0 lead. Dickinson pushed its lead to 10-0 on its first drive of the second half as Drew Magyar capped an impressive 12-play, 63-yard drive with a 37-yard field goal. A quick-moving third quarter saw the teams trade the next two possessions before the Blue Jays finally got going offensively late in the period. Junior quarterback Zach DiIonno connected with senior wide receiver Brian Wolcott on a 66-yard pass on a third-and-12 to give JHU a first down at the Dickinson 11-yard line. Four plays later DiIonno went in from one yard out to draw the Blue Jays to within 10-7 early in the fourth quarter. The Blue Jays had the ball three more times before Dickinson put the game away by forcing a DiIonno fumble that the Devils punched in for the final touchdown of the game. Bob Ziegler and Mike Andree sacked DiIonno at the JHU 33-yard line with just less than three minutes remaining and Zac Reding came up with the recovery for the Devils. Ryne Cantwell capped the quick, four-play, 30-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 2:05 remaining to seal the victory for Dickinson. Senior quarterback Keven Williams was 16-of-25 for 113 yards, while Dwight Phyall rushed for a team-high 63 yards to lead the way for Dickinson. Andree and Mike O'Donnell led a tremendous effort by the Dickinson defense as both registered 10 tackles. O'Donnell had one of Dickinson's four interceptions of DiIonno. Junior T.J. Lyons rushed for a game-high 65 yards, while senior Adam Cook added 53 on just eight carries for the Blue Jays. DiIonno was just 8-of-29 for 120 yards and was sacked twice to go along with the four interceptions. Sophomore linebacker Matt Hagel had 14 tackles, while junior Mike Aynardi added 12. The Blue Jays outgained Dickinson, 246-238, but the Devils had nearly an eight-minute time of possession advantage to go along with the six forced turnovers.
LAST GAME - JOHNS HOPKINS 20, F&M 14: Tailback TJ Lyons rushed 37 times for 173 net yards, caught six passes for 83 yards and scored twice as the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays rolled up 397 yards of total offense to escape Franklin & Marshall 20-14 in football on October 9. The Blue Jays held the advantage in nearly every category including first downs (24-14), first downs rushing (12-1), first downs passing (11-10), rushing attempts (51-22), yards gained rushing (218-38), net yards rushing (196-15), passes completed (17-16), interceptions (2-1), total offensive plays (80-59), total net yards (397-282), average gain per play (5.0-4.8), penalties (5 for 77-4 for 19), punt returns (5 for 70-2 for 7), third down conversions (6 of 16-5 of 16) and time of possession (37:08-22:52), while F&M led in net yards passing (267-201), passes attempted (37-29), kickoff returns (5 for 70-2 for 37) and average per punt (39.9-39.2). Franklin & Marshall took the lead early in the game as quarterback Jeff Harner (So., Mohrsville, PA/Schuylkill Valley) hit wide receiver Derek Boyce (Jr., Lancaster, PA/Lampeter-Strasburg) for a 79-yard touchdown connection on the first play from scrimmage in the game to put F&M in front 7-0 18 seconds into the game. Hopkins closed the gap with 4:34 left in the first quarter as Ben Scott converted a 31 field goal attempt to cap a 14 play, 69 yard drive to pull JHU to within 7-3. The Blue Jays would take the lead after F&M's next drive as Adam Colicchio intercepted a Harner pass from the F&M 22 at the F&M 49 on third-and-nine to put Hopkins within F&M territory. Johns Hopkins needed four plays to convert on the field position as Zach DiIonno dumped a pass off to Lyons who broke tackles and scampered his way down the middle of the field for a 38 yard touchdown run on second-and-10 for a 10-7 JHU lead with 2:13 left in the first quarter. Franklin & Marshall countered on their next possession as Harner hit tightend Matt Mondonedo (So., Silver Spring, MD/James Hubert Blake) for a 55-yard touchdown completion to cap an eight play, 82 yard drive and put the Diplomats back in front 14-10 with 13:42 left in the second quarter. However, JHU fired back as Scott drilled a 42-yard field goal on JHU's next possession to finish a 12 play, 51-yard drive with 9:40 left in the first half. Following an eight play, 31 yard drive by the Diplomats to the Hopkins 46 and a 34 yard punt by kicker Dan Eggertsson (Sr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast) to put JHU at their own 12 yard line with 7:27 to go until halftime, the Blue Jays offense went to work on the ground. Lyons rushed four times for 54 yards and quarterback Zach DiIonno rushed for two yards to put JHU on the F&M 32-yard line with a first down. DiIonno completed a pass to Brian Wolcott for eight yards down to the F&M 24 and Zach Rupert rushed for 10 yards to put Hopkins at the F&M 14 with another first down. Lyons did the rest rushing for gains of six and three yards to move the ball down to the F&M five-yard line before bursting through the line on third-and-one for a touchdown as the Blue Jays carried a 20-14 lead into the break. Both teams had their chances to add to the score in the second half, but neither could cash in as Johns Hopkins nor the Diplomats found the endzone or the uprights in the last 30 minutes of the game. On F&M's first possession of the second half, Harner's second-and-10 pass attempt from the JHU 44 was picked off and returned to the JHU 45 by Max Whitacre to set Hopkins up within five yards of Diplomats' territory. Following a five yard rush to the 50 yard line by Lyons, DiIonno attempted to pass down the sideline for a touchdown, but F&M's Ryan Sychterz (Jr., Sinking Spring, PA/Holy Name) picked off the pass at the Franklin & Marshall 9 and returned the ball out to the 11 with 10:18 left in the third quarter. However, the JHU defense stiffened as Harner hit Boyce for a 14 yard gain to the F&M 25, but a rush for no gain by tailback Scott Stephen (Sr., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) and back-to-back incomplete passes brought up a 36 yard punt by Eggertsson to end the challenge. Both team's inability to score continued in the fourth quarter as Scott pulled a 31 yard field goal wide right with 10:06 left on the game clock to set F&M up at their own 20 yard line for a drive. Harner hit fullback Rick Dunlap (So., Boothwyn, PA/Garnet Valley) for an eight yard gain to the 28, but Dunlap's rushing attempt on second down was stopped at the line and a pass by Harner to wideout Chris Wagner (Fr., Media, PA/Penncrest) was incomplete to bring up a 49 yard punt by Eggertsson down to the JHU 23. The Blue Jays couldn't muster a drive as Hopkins went 30 yards on six plays before Scott punted into the F&M endzone for a touchback to give the Diplomats back the ball at their own 20 yard line with 5:42 left on the clock. Following an incomplete pass, Harner connected with Wagner for a seven-yard gain before hitting Boyce for a six-yard gain to the F&M 33 to move the chains. On first down, Stephen rushed for three yards to the F&M 36 and Harner connected with Mondonedo for a four-yard gain on second-and-seven out to the F&M 40. However, Max Whitacre swatted down Harner's next pass attempt to bring up fourth-and-three before the JHU defense was pulled offsides on a hard snap count to put F&M at their own 45 with a first down. The Diplomats' luck ran out on the remainder of the drive as an illegal procedure call backed F&M up to the 40 and Stephen was tackled in the backfield by Brian Cook for a five yard loss to bring up second-and-20 from the F&M 35. Harner connected with Mondonedo for an 11-yard gain, but back-to-back pass attempts to Boyce on third-and-nine and fourth-and-nine were broken up by Matt Hagel to close out F&M's 11 play, 26-yard drive. Taking over the ball with 2:00 to go, Hopkins attempted to run out the clock as Lyons was stopped in the backfield for a loss of four yards by defensive back Chris Stepien (Jr., Fairfield, NJ/West Essex), picked up five yards on a second-and-14 rush to force F&M to call a timeout. After the break, DiIonno connected with Wolcott for a 10-yard gain down to the F&M 35 for a first down as Hopkins ran out the clock for the six-point victory. Overall, Harner finished the game 16-for-37 for 267 yards with two touchdowns and interceptions, while Boyce led the Diplomats' receivers with six catches for 137 yards. On defense, F&M's Stepien led all players with 14 tackles, including two tackles-for-loss of seven yards, while linebacker Joe LoCastro (Jr., Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic) added 12 hits with one tackle-for-loss of five yards. For Hopkins, DiIonno completed 17-of-29 attempts for 201 yards with one passing touchdown and an interception, while Hagel recorded eight tackles to lead the Blue Jays defense. The loss marked F&M's first in a game decided by seven or fewer points since the Diplomats fell 10-6 at home to McDaniel College on October 25, 2002 and marked the closest game against Johns Hopkins since a 21-20 loss at home in the second to last game of the 2000 season.
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: F&M's 31-14 loss at Carnegie Mellon wrapped up the team's out of conference games as the Diplomats recorded the first winning season against out of conference squads (3-1) since the 1996 team downed CMU (28-7), Randolph Macon (20-13) and Hobart (38-24) back when there were eight CC schools. This year, the Diplomats handled Bethany (35-7 W), Oberlin (41-21 W) and Hobart (35-14 W) to achieve the winning record.
F&M PICKED FOURTH BY CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE SIDS & COACHES: The Franklin & Marshall College football team was selected to finish fourth in the race for the 2004 Centennial Conference title in a pre-season poll of the Conference's head football coaches and Sports Information Directors. The ranking marked a two-place improvement for F&M over the team's sixth place selection in 2003 and a three spot improvement over the team's projected finish of seventh in 2001 and 2002. Johns Hopkins, who shared the CC title the past two years, was the preseason favorite to win the honor outright in 2004. The Blue Jays were a unanimous choice, receiving all 12 (teams not permitted to vote for themselves) for 72 points in the annual preseason poll of coaches. Muhlenberg was the second pick with two first-place votes and 62 points. McDaniel was third with 49 points. Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg followed in fourth and fifth place with 33 and 32 points, respectively. Ursinus (25) and Dickinson (21) rounded out the poll.
F&M PICKED FIFTH IN CENTENNIAL CONFERERENCE BY D3FOOTBALL.COM: The Franklin & Marshall College football team was selected to finish fifth in the race for the 2004 Centennial Conference title in a pre-season ranking by D3football.com. Johns Hopkins was the preseason favorite to win the honor the title in 2004 according to D3football.com as Muhlenberg, McDaniel, Ursinus, F&M, Gettysburg and Dickinson rounded out the rankings.