THIS WEEK'S GAME: This week's game marks the 90th meeting between Gettysburg and Franklin & Marshall since the series began in 1890. F&M and Gettysburg are tied in the series at 41-41-7 lead as the Diplomats have won the last two meetings in the series. Gettysburg's last victory against F&M was a 24-16 decision in 2001
SEVEN-UP: Franklin & Marshall will seek to win the program's seventh game of the season against Gettysburg. Historically, F&M has not won six 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).
BEARS TO BULLETS: The last time F&M played Ursinus and Gettysburg back-to-back to end the season prior to last year was 1925 as the Bullets tallied a 3-0 win following a 30-0 F&M victory over the Bears. From 1914-1925 (with the exception of the three game 1918 season), the Diplomats met the Bears then Bullets on the final two weeks. During that stretch, F&M went 4-5 against the Bullets with scoreless ties in 1920 and 1921. When F&M beats Ursinus the week before, the Diplomats are 2-3-2 against the Bullets. In 1920 and 1921 F&M knocked off the Bears 9-7 and 41-0, but ended up in scoreless ties with Gettysburg.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD: Only twice in CC history has a team lost two Conference games and gained a share of the Centennial Conference title - 1983 (Gettysburg, Muhlenberg, Swarthmore) and 1993 (Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall). In those years, the Conference had eight teams and the champion shared the trophy with 5-2 records.
PASSING THE TORCH: F&M made history against Ursinus raising its passing yardage to 2,193 yards on the year, erasing the previous team season record of 2,189 yards held by the 1995 Diplomats.
LITTLE THREE RUNNER-UP: Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg will both battle for bragging rights, a win and second place in the Little Three Conference (Gettysburg, Dickinson, F&M). One of the oldest "challenges" in NCAA history, the only sports that the three schools recognize for a Little Three Chamionship are cross country and track. However, bac in the day the schools competed for the "Little Three Championship" in all sports. Last year, the Diplomats won the football "Little Three" title by downing Dickinson (20-14 W OT) and Gettysburg (14-13 W) in Lancaster. This year, Dickinson knocked off both F&M (17-14 L) and Gettysburg (27-6 L) as the Bullets and Diplomats will battle it out for second place. Overall, F&M defended the honor of the Little Three earlier this year knocking off McDaniel (20-7 W) as the Green blanked Gettysburg (31-0 L) and Dickinson (20-0 L) on October 9 and 16, respectively, at home in Westminster.
MAKING NCAA HISTORY: If the Centennial Conference ends in a five way tie this year with Franklin & Marshall, Johns Hopkins, Dickinson, Muhlenberg and McDaniel sharing the CC crown, it will mark just the third time in NCAA history that a Conference had five champions. In 1976, the Twin Rivers Conference (now known as the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference) had five champions - Concordia-St. Paul, Loras, Maranatha Baptist, Northwestern (Minn.) and Northwestern (Tenn.). In 1991, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference had a five-way tie for the championship with Alabama A&M, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, Fort Valley State and Tuskegee. Note that McDaniel College has control of its own destiny. The Green Terror is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the CC - a 1/2 game better than Muhlenberg (7-2, 4-2) and a full game up on Johns Hopkins (7-2, 3-2), Franklin & Marshall (6-3, 3-2) and Dickinson (5-4, 3-2). A McDaniel win at Johns Hopkins on Saturday in the 83rd meeting between the rivals gives the Terror their seventh Centennial title and makes the rest meaningless. However, should the Blue Jays dump the Terror for the third straight season, Hopkins, McDaniel and Muhlenberg (who plays non-CC rival Moravian) would be at 4-2. Enter Dickinson and Franklin & Marshall. If the Red Devils upend Ursinus (1-8, 0-5) and the Diplomats defeat Gettysburg (1-8, 1-4), the five-way tie for the title exists.
IN THEIR LAST MEETING IN GETTYSBURG (2002) - FRANKLIN & MARSHALL 20, GETTYSBURG 14: Tailback Scott Stephen (Sr., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) carried 32 times for a career-high 213 yards and quarterback Dave Makson '03 accounted for three touchdowns to lead Franklin & Marshall past Gettysburg 20-14 in former Diplomats' head coach Tom Gilburg's final. Makson rushed for a pair of one-yard touchdowns and fired a six-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Justin Salton '03 to key the 160th win of Gilburg's 28-year career at F&M, the sixth-highest all-time victory total among Division III coaches. Stephen became the fourth Diplomat to rush for more than 200 yards since 1977, a career day that allowed Franklin & Marshall (4-6, 2-4 Centennial Conference) to snap a six-game losing streak and finish with the program's highest victory total since a 4-6 season in 1998. Salton caught four passes on the day, including his 11th touchdown of the year, to set the CC record for receptions in a single season (77). Gettysburg quarterback Joe Gossweiler completed 13 of 26 passes for 191 yards and also picked up 44 rushing yards for the Bullets, who were slowed by four second-half turnovers. Gossweiler connected on fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Gentris Bryant and Jesse Jeffers to pull Gettysburg (4-6, 1-5 CC) within six points in the final 1:28. The Bullets' comeback attempt came to an end when the ensuing onsides kick attempt failed to go ten yards, allowing F&M to run out the clock. The loss prevented Gettysburg from recording the program's 500th all-time victory, a mark reached by only 12 other Division III programs up to that point. Entering the day ranked first in the conference in passing and last in rushing, the Diplomats flipped the script to produce the landmark win. Makson was held to 96 yards on 10-of-21 passing, but F&M made up for it by nearly tripling its rushing average (69.8) with 193 yards on the ground. Playing in the rain and mud all day, the teams battled through a scoreless first quarter before the Diplomats put together a pair of long drives to take a 13-0 halftime lead. Keyed by Makson completions of 17, 16 and 14 yards, F&M marched 80 yards on 10 plays capped by Salton's six-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 with 7:30 left in the second quarter. Stephen opened the Diplomats' next possession with a season-long 47-yard run to the Gettysburg 32. A pass interference call and a 10-yard reception by Chad Strothers '03 set F&M up at the Bullet 1, and Makson's second of two consecutive rushing attempts cracked the end zone to make it 13-0 with 54 seconds remaining in the half. While trying to erase the deficit, Gettysburg struggled through three lost fumbles, two punts and one interception on its first six possessions of the second half. During that span, the Diplomats cashed in a Matt Lintal '03 interception with a five-play, 26-yard scoring drive to increase their lead to 20-0. Stephen carried for the first 16 yards of the march. Makson found Strothers on a nine-yard pass, then sneaked in for his second one-yard touchdown. A 64-yard touchdown pass from Gossweiler to Bryant gave the home squad life by pulling the Bullets within 20-7 with 8:54 left. A bad snap on a punt attempt set Gettysburg up at the F&M 30 on its next possession, but the Diplomats defense held on fourth-and-11 from its own 20. After getting the ball back, the Bullets needed only four plays and 26 seconds to score again. Gossweiler opened the drive with a 10-yard pass to Tom McEvoy and tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jeffers to make it 20-14 with 1:28 left. The ensuing onsides kick, however, skipped out of bounds at the Franklin & Marshall 42 to give the Diplomats the victory. On defense, linebacker Andy Rehring '04 led F&M with nine tackles to finish with an even 100 for the season. In addition, linebacker Dan Nadler '04 tallied three tackles for loss of seven yards and defensive end Chris Gallino '03 added a tackle for loss.
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.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Diplomats finished 4-2 at home this year with wins over Bethany (35-7 W), Hobart (35-14 W), McDaniel (20-7 W) and Ursinus (28-21 W) and losses to Johns Hopkins (20-14 L) and Dickinson (17-14 L).
LAST GAME - DICKINSON 27, GETTYSBURG 6: Keven Williams threw four touchdown passes to lead Dickinson over Gettysburg 27-6 in Centennial Conference action in Carlisle.. Williams connected with Clay Merris on scoring tosses of 1 and 6 yards, and also fired 11- and 8-yard touchdown passes to Gerald O'Hara, helping the Red Devils (5-4, 3-2 CC) post their ninth straight victory over the Bullets (1-8, 1-4 CC). Dwight Phyall carried 21 times for a game-high 101 yards, helping the Red Devils roll up 270 yards on the ground. O'Hara led the Dickinson receiving corps with six catches for 79 yards and the two touchdowns, giving him a team-leading seven scores for the year. Gettysburg quarterback Joe Gossweiler completed 15 of 26 passes for a season-high 164 yards and one touchdown, a 47-yard toss to Derek Landi to avoid the shutout in the game's final minutes. Mike Schwalb carried 15 times for a team-high 50 yards while Landi finished with three catches for 64 yards. The Red Devils opened the scoring with a six play, 57-yard march on their second possession of the game. Williams fired a 31-yard pass to O'Hara down to the Bullet 21, then found Arwin Gbolie for 14 more yards to the 7. After Phyall carried to the one, Merris made his first reception of the season a one-yard touchdown catch to give Dickinson a 7-0 lead. The Red Devils doubled their advantage with an eight play, 44-yard scoring drive midway through the second quarter. Dickinson moved the ball to the Gettysburg 11 with six straight rushes, before Williams threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to O'Hara to make it 14-0 with 4:25 left in the first half. The two teams traded interceptions to open the third quarter before Williams struck again. He hit O'Hara with a 12-yard pass to the Bullet 29 on the second play of the Red Devils' second drive of the half, then capped the march with a six-yard touchdown pass to Merris six plays later. Dickinson posted its final touchdown after a 14-play, 84-yard drive that consumed 6 minutes, 40 seconds. Williams' 12-yard pass to O'Hara on third-and-9 from the Red Devil 17 kept the march alive, and his 19-yard completion to Chris McInerney moved Dickinson to the Gettysburg 27. Cody Peer carried twice for 16 yards to the 8 before Williams lofted an eight-yard pass to O'Hara for his fourth touchdown toss of the day and a 27-0 lead. The Bullets avoided their third shutout of the season with a 6-play, 88-yard drive in the game's final minutes. Gossweiler fired a 21-yard pass to Spencer Davidson, a 13-yarder to Schwalb and a nine-yard toss to Bryan Wheatly, moving his squad to the Red Devils 47. On the following play, Gossweiler connected with Landi for a 47-yard touchdown pass to pull Gettysburg within 27-6. Eric Dube led Dickinson with nine tackles while Andrew Ackley and Bob Ziegler added five stops apiece. Matt Williams recorded the Red Devils' lone interception. Dan Hogdahl and Ryan McGarry each recorded a game-high 11 tackles for the Bullets, who were without CC tackles leader Grant Acke. Danny Tyrrell recorded his first collegiate interception in the loss.
LAST WEEK'S GAME - F&M 28, URSINUS 21: Defensive lineman Matt Capone (Sr., Scarsdale, NY/Scarsdale) recovered a fumble in the end zone after linebacker Joe LoCastro (Jr., Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic) sacked Ursinus College quarterback Vince Gallagher at the two yard line with 7:54 remaining in the fourth quarter as Franklin & Marshall (6-3, 3-2 Centennial Conference) rallied from a 21-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Ursinsus (1-8, 0-5 Centennial Conference) 28-21 in Centennial Conference action. LoCastro dominated the Bears offense recording a team high eight tackles, including two for loss of 17 yards and 1.5 sacks for 17 yards, broke up two passes and forced a fumble to lead to a touchdown as the Diplomats won their sixth game of the season for the first time since a 9-2 record in 1996. The Diplomats game-winning defensive play came as punter Dan Eggertsson (Sr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast) launched a 43-yard punt to the Ursinus 10 where kick returner Adam Schmidt fumbled the ball following a hit by Ryan Sychterz (Jr., Sinking Spring, PA/Holy Name). However, Ursinus' Matt Duppel recovered the fumble at the Ursinus 10 to set the Bears up deep in their own territory with eight minutes left on the clock. On first-and-10, Gallagher rolled right before LoCastro wrapped him up causing a fumble at the two yard line as the ball rolled into the end zone where Capone fell on the loose ball for a touchdown with 7:54 left on the game clock. Eggertsson tacked on the extra point for a 28-21 lead. The Bears attempted to rally on the ensuing kickoff as Ursinus started their drive a their own 30 yard line. Facing first-and-10 from the F&M 48 yard line, Gallagher dropped back and tossed a spiraling pass to the F&M 20 where Chris Santaniello (So., Somers Point, NJ/Mainland) picked off the ball to close out the Bears eight play, 22 yard drive which drained 3:39 off the game clock. Franklin & Marshall moved the ball out to their own 39 yard line before Eggertsson punted to the Ursinus 21 where Schmidt returned the kick to set the Bears up a the Ursinus 41 with 55 seconds remaining on the game clock. Gallagher attempted to rally the team hitting Kieran Gorman for a 10 yard gain to the F&M 49, Ernest Pearson for a two yard gain to the F&M 47 and Brandon Evans for a four yard pick-up to the F&M 43. Facing third-and-four, Gallagher's next pass was intercepted by Tim Barry (Jr., Madison, NJ/Madison) at the F&M 26 as he returned the kick out to the F&M 34 with 25 seconds remaining on the clock. Quarterback Jeff Harner (So., Mohrsville, PA/Schuylkill Valley) took a knee on first down to seal the win for Franklin & Marshall College. The Diplomats jumped out to an early lead in the game as Curtis Varner (So., State College, PA/State College) returned Ursinus' placekicker James Texeira's kickoff 37 yards to the Ursinus 44 yard line on the opening play of the game. Starting quarterback Doug Hiltner (Sr., Margate, NJ/Atlantic City) hit wide receiver Derek Boyce (Jr., Lancaster, PA/Lampeter-Strasburg) for a 19 yard gain on first down before tailback Scott Stephen (Sr., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) picked up two yards down to the Ursinus 23 yard line. Following back-to-back incomplete passes, Hiltner connected with wide receiver Bobby Freiler (So., Orwigsburg, PA/Blue Mountain) for a 12 yard gain down to the Ursinus 11. Following a four yard rush by fullback Rick Dunlap (So., Boothwyn, PA/Garnet Valley) down to the Ursinus 7, Stephen broke through the line for a touchdown with 12:48 left in the first quarter. Eggertsson tacked on the extra point as the Diplomats jumped out to a 7-0 lead. For the year, the game marked the first time F&M scored on their first possession and went on to the win game as Franklin & Marshall scored on the team's first drive against Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins, but lost both games. The Bears fired back as Gallagher led a five play, 55 yard drive before connecting with Steve Phillips in the end zone for a 31 yard TD to knot the score at 7-7 with 11:08 left in the quarter. Franklin & Marshall countered as Stephen rushed three times for 20 yards and Dunlap added two rushes for seven yards before Hiltner found wide receiver Chris Wagner (Fr., Media, PA/Penncrest) for a 20 yard touchdown to close out a five play, 47 yard drive with 8:33 left in the first quarter. The Diplomats looked to add to the lead on their next possession as F&M moved 26 yards on four plays for a first down at the Ursinus 40 yard line before Mike Kimpel sacked Hiltner and forced a fumble at the Ursinus 45. Nate Wagner recovered the ball at the Ursinus 36, however the Bears could not capitalize on the turnover as the F&M defense stiffened. On first-and-10 from the Ursinus 49 yard line, Gallagher was sacked for a loss of nine yards by Justin Koch (Sr., Schuylkill Haven, PA/Schuylkill Haven) and LoCastro. Following a five yard offsides penalty on F&M, Chris Stepien (Jr., Fairfield, NJ/West Essex) dropped Phillips in the backfield for a loss of one yard to bring up third-and-15. Gallagher's pass attempt fell incomplete inducing a 53 yard punt by James Sproule to the F&M endzone. Starting at their own 20 yard line, the Diplomats moved the ball out to the 25 before Eggertsson booted a 37 yard punt to the F&M 45, which Schmidt returned 17 yards to the F&M 28. Facing a short field, Gallagher connected with Mike Weyrauch for a three yard gain on first down and hit the receiver again for a 25 yard touchdown on third down with 57 seconds remaining in the quarter to knot the score at 14-14. The Bears would take the lead early in the second quarter as Hiltner's third-and-two pass attempt from the F&M 40 was intercepted by Ryan VanWright at the F&M 41 and returned down to the F&M 13 on the first play of the new quarter. Gallagher did not need long to convert on the field position as he hit Gorman for a four yard gain and Brendon Evans rushed for a six yard pickup before breaking through the line for a three-yard TD run with 14:34 to go in the first half for a 21-14 Ursinus lead. Franklin & Marshall had a shot to tie the score before halftime as the Diplomats stopped Gallagher short on fourth-and-one from the F&M 17 with 1:14 remaining in the second quarter. Hiltner then moved the Diplomats down to the Ursinus 17 with five seconds to go in the half, but the Bears sniffed a faked field goal out as Ursinus tackled holder Kyle Turner (Fr., Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield) for a 13 yard loss to close the half. Neither team cracked the scoring column in the third quarter as Harner entered the game for Hiltner with 5:44 left in the quarter. F&M regained possession of the ball to begin the fourth quarter as James Sproule punted 29 yards to the Ursinus 45 on the first play of the period to set the Diplomats up in solid field position. The Diplomats did not need long to convert on the opportunity as wide receiver Robert Donofrio (So., Sea Girt, NJ/Wall Township) took a reverse 22 yards down to the Bears 23. Harner then connected with Dunlap for an 11 yard gain and Stephen scampered 12 yards into the end zone on first-and-12 to knot the game at 21-21 with 14:15 remaining in the game. Both teams exchanged a pair of possessions over the next 6:15 before LoCastro sacked Gallagher for the game-winning TD. Overall, Hiltner (8-for-17, 129 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD) and Harner (6-for-12, 81 yards) combined to complete 14-of-29 attempts for 210 yards, while Boyce led the way with five catches for 84 yards. On the ground, Stephen rushed 26 times for 114 net yards with two touchdowns as the Diplomats racked up 159 yards on 43 carries to finish the game with 369 yards of total offense on 72 plays. Historically, with his performance against Ursinus, Stephen boosted his career total to 591 carries for 2,069 yards as he joins Andy Surtz '97 (705 carries for 2,913 yards) as the only F&M players with 2,000+ rushing yards. In addition, Stephen has also caught 37 passes for 365 yards and completed 25-of-76 passing attempts for 299 yards with four touchdowns as he was the Diplomats' starting quarterback as a freshman. Defensively, the Diplomats broke up 10 passes, intercepted two more and recorded five sacks as F&M limited Ursinus to 47 rushing yards on 31 attempts and permitted Gallagher to connect on 22-of-45 attempts for 212 yards. For the Bears, Gorman led the way withy six receptions for 69 yards, while Wagner added 13 tackles, including one for loss of 10 yards, and a fumble recovery.