CARLISLE, Pa. --- Junior running back Chris Negron tied the school record with six touchdowns, all on the ground, and he picked up his fourth career 200-yard game with 221 yards on 34 carries to lead the Moravian College football team to a 55-38 win at Dickinson College in Centennial Conference action Saturday afternoon.
The Greyhounds' 55 points are the most scored by the team since a 59-7 win at Upsala College on November 9, 1985. Moravian also had 509 yards of offense on 78 plays in the game including 293 yards on the ground.
"I'm proud of our guys, the way they battled the whole game today," commented Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn. "There were some things that we didn't make easy on ourselves but we played for a full 60 minutes. We'll enjoy this one and then get back to work tomorrow and learn from this success because there were a bunch of mistakes today but they are things that we can learn from and fix as we move forward onto Ursinus next week."
With his 221 yards, Negron moved from seventh to third in school history with 2,440 yards on 471 carries, which is sixth in the record books. Negron has also scored 25 rushing touchdowns, tied for third in school history, and he is fourth with 27 career touchdowns and fifth with 162 points. His 36 points on Saturday tied for second most in a single game with James McConologue, who had six touchdowns at Hartwick in 1939, the last player to score six times in a game, and Charles Mazza, who was the first to score six touchdowns in a single contest in 1936 at Juniata College. James Fritchman is the other player to score six times in a single game, and he added a two-point conversion for 38 points at CCNY in 1938.
"It's amazing and tremendous for Chris to get six touchdowns," explained Pukszyn. "We talk about it all the time that if you give 100 percent all of the time that big things are going to show up. I think we saw that with Chris today. He gave that 100 percent effort for 60 minutes, and at the end of the game you find out he had six touchdowns. That is playing your heart out. His vision was unbelievable today with the cuts he made and the holes that he saw."
"I'm overwhelmed and extremely thankful right now," stated Negron after the game. "I need to give a shout out to my offensive line because without them I wouldn't have been able to have this type of performance today. The o-line did a good job of stretching their defense and the linebackers were overflowing sometimes so I would just cut it up in between or if the o-line did a good job of sealing the blocks then I bumped it outside."
Sophomore running back Eli Redmond needed just 14 seconds to give the Hounds an early lead as he returned the opening kickoff 98 yards, finding a hole up the middle for his second career kickoff return for a touchdown. Senior kicker Jerome Wachter added the extra-point. It was Redmond's second career kickoff return for a touchdown.
"That type of start gives you a boost," noted Pukszyn. "Eli and all of our guys on the kickoff return team are very coachable and worked with coach Bob McClarin a lot this week. We thought there were some opportunities in other games where we could have broken one but we didn't. We were able to put it all together on that opening kickoff today, and that really got us going in the right direction to start."
The Greyhounds defense would force a punt on Dickinson's first possession. Moravian moved back down the field into the red zone where Negron was stripped of the ball. The Hounds' defense stepped up and forced a punt again by the Red Devils. The teams traded possession again with Moravian punting and Dickinson turning the ball over on downs.
Late in the first quarter, Moravian took over on its own 43-yard line and would go 57 yard on nine plays with Negron scoring his first touchdown of the afternoon on a 23-yard run. Wachter's extra-point was good for a 14-0 lead with 13:10 left in the second quarter.
Dickinson answered in just two plays with a pair of long runs but senior defensive lineman Ryan Pysher blocked the extra-point to keep the lead at 14-6 at the 12:30 mark.
Moravian punted after three plays but the defense would get the ball back for the offense. Senior defensive lineman Tim McCabe stripped the Red Devils ball carrier and senior defensive lineman Dan Bracken covered the ball at the Dickinson 34-yard line.
The Hounds, who scored 21 points off of three Red Devils' turnovers in the game, needed just three plays to punch the ball into the end zone. Junior quarterback Mike Hayes hit back-to-back passes to sophomore wide receiver Justice Anderson and junior wide receiver Jalen Snyder-Scipio to move the ball down to the eight yard line. Negron finished off the drive with the scoring run, and Wachter split the uprights for a 21-6 lead with 9:04 before the intermission.
"It's huge, and we talk about it all the time that when you get a turnover, you have to capitalize, and when we give one back to the opponent, we've got to stop the bleeding and not let them score which we did today," stated Pukszyn. "That was really big for us today, and the one on special teams at a crucial time really turned the tide back in our favor at that point."
Dickinson would punt on its next possession but the Red Devils would get the ball right back when they intercepted Hayes on the second play of the Greyhounds' next drive. However, the Hounds defense would hold and force a punt.
Moravian moved the ball near midfield but had senior defensive back/punter Jimmy McCarthy come on to punt, and he got off a 53-yard punt, his second 50-yard punt of the quarter after a 55-yard punt earlier.
On the third play of the Red Devils drive, senior defensive back Anthony Orlando intercepted a pass at the Moravian 44-yard line to set the offense up late in the quarter.
"Anthony is a leader in the back for the defense and does a phenomenal job," Pukszyn said. "He probably could have come away with a few more tackles if we used our arms a little bit more out there. He did a great job and is keep to getting our guys lined up in the right spots. He's another guy that gives 100 percent all the time and it shows in his stats today."
The Greyhounds once again put points on the board after a turnover in just four plays. Hayes hit Negron with a 23-yard pass and then back-to-back first down passes to Anderson to move the ball to the 10-yard line. Negron found the end zone for the third time in the quarter on the next play with a 10-yard run. Wachter added the extra-point for a 28-6 lead with 29 seconds before the intermission.
Dickinson would use a good kickoff return to get into scoring position, and the Red Devils kicked a 35-yard field goal as the first half expired to send the teams to the locker room with Moravian leading 28-9.
The Red Devils opened the second half with a touchdown scoring drive, and after three-and-out by the Greyhounds, Dickinson scored again to cut Moravian's lead to 28-23 with 9:47 left in the third quarter.
The Hounds drove into the red zone before Negron was stopped short on a fourth-and-one, but the Moravian defense forced a three-and-out. Taking over near midfield, the Greyhounds put together a six-play, 53-yard drive with Negron scoring on a 20-yard run. Wachter pushed the lead to 35-23 with 3:08 left in the third.
Moravian would get the ball right back when freshman defensive back E.J. Roeder stripped the ball on the Dickinson kickoff return and sophomore running back A.J. Adamczyk covered the fumble at the Red Devils 35-yard line. Hayes would find Redmond with a 21-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown on the third play of the drive. Wachter's point after gave the Hounds a 42-23 lead with 2:09 to play in the third quarter.
Dickinson opened the fourth quarter with a long touchdown run to cut the lead to 42-30.
The Greyhounds answered right back with another scoring drive. Negron carried on the first three plays before Hayes pulled the ball out on the read-option and kept it for a 41-yard carry to get into the red zone. Two plays later, Negron found the end zone for the fifth time for a 48-30 lead after Wachter's extra-point was blocked with 11:16 to play.
The Red Devils looked to cut into the lead by moving the ball into the red zone but freshman linebacker Tre' Smith delivered a hit that knocked the ball loose with Orlando recovering at the Moravian six-yard line.
The Hounds would end up punting and Dickinson would turn the punt into a touchdown after a nine-play drive to cut the lead to 48-38 with 4:09 remaining on the clock.
The Red Devils attempted an onside kick but Orlando went high for the ball. Moravian would punt but McCarthy's kick pinned Dickinson inside the 20-yard line, and the Red Devils would turn the ball over on downs at the Dickinson nine-yard line after a sack by Bracken on fourth down.
Negron needed two carries, the second one of six yards to hit pay dirt for the sixth time to tie the school record. Wachter's school-record tying seventh extra-point of the game set the final score at 55-38 with 1:09 left to play.
Hayes completed 18-fo-30 passes for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and he also ran for 35 yards on four carries. Anderson caught a team-high five passes for 70 yards while Snyder-Scipio had four catches for 36 yards. Junior wide receiver Liam Nolan and Redmond each had three receptions for 34 yards with Redmond adding a touchdown, and Redmond ran for 37 yards on 10 carries. Sophomore wide receiver Aaron Hudson had two catches for 19 yards.
"Justice, Liam and Aaron had some big catches today to help us move the sticks for first downs," note Pukszyn.
Dickinson picked up 495 yards of offense on 89 plays while controlling the clock for 34:13 of the game. The Red Devils had 391 yards on the ground on 68 rushing attempts.
Orlando led the Moravian defense with 15 tackles including one for loss to go with his interception and fumble recovery. Senior linebacker Brendan Downey added 10 tackles while Bracken finished with nine stops including two sacks and a fumble recovery. Junior defensive lineman John Snyder and McCabe both had seven tackles with one tackle for loss with Snyder adding one sack and McCabe forcing a fumble.
The Greyhounds will close out the first half of their 2015 season on Saturday, October 3 when Moravian welcomes Ursinus College to Rocco Calvo Field for a 1:00 p.m. Centennial Conference game.