THE GAME: Moravian begins its 2018 Centennial Conference season as the Greyhounds travel to McDaniel College Saturday afternoon for the first road contest of the year. Kickoff for the game is slated for 1:00 p.m. at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium in Westminster, Maryland.
THE COACHES: Jeff Pukszyn (Moravian '97) is in his eighth season as Moravian's head coach after ten years as an assistant coach with the program. Pukszyn joined the Moravian staff as a part-time coach in 1997 after a three-year playing career that saw him named to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference First Team in 1994 and 1996. He was also a two-time captain. Pukszyn became part of the coaching staff full-time in 1999 as defensive coordinator and added the titles of assistant head coach in 2001 and special teams coordinator in 2007. In 2015, Pukszyn led the Greyhounds to an 8-3 record and a berth in the inaugural Centennial-MAC Bowl Series while being named both the Centennial Conference and American Football Coaches Association Division III Region 2 Coach of the Year. He has been a part of 247 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 120-126-1 record.
McDaniel coach Mike Dailey is in his third season at the school and has a 7-14 overall record.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 23rd in the series with Moravian holding a 14-8 advantage. The Green Terror posted a 35-14 win in in Bethlehem last fall while the Greyhounds recorded a 55-27 in 2016 also in Bethlehem. The Hounds posted a 40-8 win the last time the teams met in Westminster, Maryland in 2015 to begin the Centennial Conference campaign. McDaniel was formerly known as Western Maryland College but the name changed in 2002.
GREYHOUNDS IN THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE: Moravian joined the Centennial Conference as an associate member in the sport of football in 2007. The Greyhounds were selected ninth in the Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll. McDaniel was picked tenth in the poll.
BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 97 players on the Moravian roster, 48 are freshmen, 19 are sophomores and 17 are juniors. There are 13 seniors on this season's squad, and the Greyhounds return 45 letterwinners and 15 starters.
THE QUARTERBACKS: Sophomore Doug Erney is the Hounds starter for the second straight season with freshman Christopher Mills serving as the back-up. Erney completed 15-of-23 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns in last week's season opener versus King's College, and he also ran for 79 yards on 11 attempts while not being sacked.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior Eli Redmond leads the Hounds on the ground with 96 yards on 13 carries while junior Roberto Diez has added 91 yards and a touchdown on 14 attempts. Freshman Gerald Grube has 19 yards on three carries in his debut season.
WIDE RECEIVERS: The Greyhounds had seven different players catch a pass this season led by sophomore Nick Petros, who has five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Cory Little has three catches for 54 yards while junior Alex Pierce and freshman Eddie Olsen each have two catches with Olsen gaining 37 yards and a touchdown and Pierce picking up 14 yards. Junior wide receiver Andrew Lelie has one catch for seven yards while senior running back Eli Redmond has one reception for six yards. Junior fullback Sal Pagano has one catch for four yards.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Moravian has five returners on the offensive line with juniors right tackle Jason Barish, center Brett Poling, left tackle Tyler Maxsim and left guard Zack Cregar and sophomore right guard PJ Weierbach all returning to the front line. The Greyhounds' front five has an average size of 6-2, 275.
DEFENSIVE FRONT: Senior Nick Tone leads the defensive line with seven tackles including a half a tackle for loss while freshman Tijir Bleam has five tackles with one for loss and a half a sack in his debut season. Senior Vincent Pianoforte has contributed three tackles with a half a sack and one tackle for loss while sophomore Shane Mastro has two tackles with a half a tackle for loss and sophomore Andrew Stein has one stop.
THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Sophomore Brady Hornbaker leads the linebackers and the entire defense with nine tackles including two tackles for loss and a half a sack while freshman Noah Breidinger has eight tackles with one for loss in his first collegiate season. Sophomore Tanner Barr has made six tackles with one for loss while sophomore Austin Heisler has contributed four stops with one for loss and a half a sack. Senior Nick Zambelli has made three tackles while senior Tanner Stokes has added two stops and a pass break-up and freshman Blake Reed has one tackle.
THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Sophomores Jackson Buskirk and Justin McRae each have seven tackles to lead the defensive backs with Buskirk adding a pass break-up. Senior Jacob Kober has added six tackles with an interception while sophomore Jalen Richardson has five stops and a pass break-up. Juniors Tim Valentine and Dayvon Reimert each have one tackle this season.
KICKING GAME: Seniors Jon Miller and Kenny Kane are handling the place-kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is averaging 58.6 yards on five kickoffs this season, and he is 3-for-3 on extra points and 1-for-2 on field goals with a long of 25 yards while missing a career-long attempt of 41 yards at the end of the first half versus King's College. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros will be the squad's punter again this season but the only punt so far in 2018 was a quick kick by sophomore quarterback Doug Erney that traveled 32 yards.
MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have four players closing in on milestones in their careers. Senior running back Eli Redmond sits in 12th place in school history with 1,789 rushing yards, and he needs 315 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also tied for seventh all-time with 37 kickoff returns and seventh with 852 kickoff return yards. Redmond is tied for tenth with 16 career touchdowns and sixth with 2,959 career all-purpose yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is eighth with 17 career touchdown passes, and he has 2,660 yards of total offense and needs 699 yards to reach the top ten. Erney also needs 102 pass attempts, 41 pass completions and 465 passing yards to make the top ten in those categories. Senior kicker Kenny Kane is tied for tenth in school history with 59 career kicking points, and he needs three extra-points to move into the top 10 all-time, currently with 32 PATs. Kane is also tied for eighth in school history with nine career field goals made. Senior Jon Miller is 10 extra-points away from the top ten.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: Starting next week, the Centennial Conference will release weekly statistical rankings of the ten football playing schools.
OVERTIME 'HOUNDS: Moravian has played a total of 10 overtime games since the NCAA instituted the rule for the 1996 season and is 7-3 all-time in the extra-session. Five of those ten overtime games have been against Juniata College with the Greyhounds going 4-1 in those games. Moravian's contest in Huntingdon in 2008 marked the first time in the Greyhounds' have needed more than one overtime session in a game. The 2008 season also marked the third year that Moravian has played at least two overtimes games in one season, the other years were 1999 when the Greyhounds played three overtime games and 1997 when Moravian played two overtime contests.
SCOUTING MCDANIEL COLLEGE: The Green Terror enter Saturday's game at 1-0 after defeating The Catholic University of America, 27-12, last Saturday. McDaniel is being led on the field by sophomore quarterback Ben Igo, who has completed 15-of-22 passes for 212 yards and run for two yards and a touchdown on five carries while being sacked once. Senior running back John Chamberlin leads the Green Terror rushing attack with 111 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts while senior running back Matt Cathey has 20 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and senior running back Isaac Murray has 35 yards on 11 attempts. Senior wide receiver Davon Ingram has five receptions for 88 yards while sophomore wide receiver Aaron Grant has five catches for 70 yards. Senior running back Patrick Bartlett has added two catches for 24 yards while Chamberlin has two receptions for 20 yards and senior wide receiver Breon Herbert has one catch for 10 yards. Freshman Peyton Denlinger is 2-for-2 on extra-points and made his only field goal attempt of 31 yards while freshman John Compere is 1-for-1 on PATs and 1-for-2 on field goals with a long of 37 yards. Senior Joey Cornwell is averaging 34.8 yards per punt with two fair caught, one inside the 20-yard line and one touchback. Murray has one kickoff return for 24 yards while senior tight end Rodney Fisher has one punt return for 16 yards. Ingram has added two punt returns for 13 yards. Senior defensive back Angelo Payne leads the Green Terror defense with nine tackles to go with one and a half tackles for loss while junior defensive back Nah'shon Godfrey, senior linebacker Qadry Harris and junior defensive lineman Kofi Siga all have seven tackles. Godfrey has added a tackle for loss while Harris has a pass break-up. Senior defensive lineman Ray Doh has two tackles for loss and a sack among his four tackles while forcing a fumble. Junior defensive back Aris Mayfield has two forced fumbles and an interception while sophomore defensive back Jarius Ransom has five tackles, two pass break-ups and a tackle for loss. Sophomore defensive back Jalen Jones also has five tackles with an interception while junior defensive back Kiree Moore has three tackles with one for loss and a pass break-up.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Bethlehem last September, the Greyhounds dropped its 2017 Centennial Conference opener falling to McDaniel College, 35-14, on Rocco Calvo Field. Moravian picked up 263 yards on 52 plays while the Green Terror ran 82 plays for 505 yards and controlled the clock for over 38 minutes. Greyhound quarterback Doug Erney completed 10-of-19 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, and he added 55 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Running back Eli Redmond rushed for a team-high 65 yards on 13 carries, and he also caught four passes for 50 yards and a scored. Running back Frank Dangello added 16 yards on three rushing attempts while fullback Jorden Stout ran for nine yards on three carries and running back Tavion George added five yards on a pair of attempts. Wide receiver Aaron Hudson caught three passes for 49 yards while defensive back/wide receiver Justice Anderson added one reception for 10 yards while returning five kickoffs for 121 yards. Defensive back Jackson Buskirk led the Greyhounds' defense for the second straight week with 11 tackles to go with one tackle for loss, one pass break-up and two punt returns for 13 yards. Defensive lineman Nick Tone added nine tackles while defensive back Jacob Kober, linebacker Dallas Owen, linebacker Steve Ewald and linebacker Joseph Milano all had eight tackles with Owen and Ewald each adding a half a tackle for loss. Defensive back Tim Valentine and junior defensive back Nick Zambelli each contributed seven tackles while defensive lineman Fouad Haddad and linebacker Brady Hornbaker both had five stops. Defensive lineman Christian Coia made four stops with two tackles for loss while defensive lineman Connor Rooney contributed three tackles. The Greyhounds received the opening kickoff and picked up a first down on back-to-back rushes by Redmond to start the game, but the drive stalled, and Moravian would punt. The Green Terror ran 14 plays and went 75 yards in 5:42 on their opening drive to take a 7-0 lead on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Will Koester to Basama Bailor with 6:51 left in the first quarter. Moravian needed just three plays and 1:22 to answer. Redmond picked up nine yards on the first two plays before Erney burst through the right side and raced 54 yards to the end zone for his third rushing touchdown of the season. Jon Miller added the extra-point to knot the score at 707 with 5:31 left in the opening quarter. McDaniel covered 65 yards in just five plays to take a 14-7 lead on a nine-yard touchdown run by Perry Stefanelli while Moravian knotted the score again with 19 seconds left in the first quarter. Erney found Redmond with a 14-yard touchdown pass to finish off the six-play, 65-yard drive. Miller hit his second extra-point of the game. The next four possessions, two each for both squads, ended in punts. The Green Terror would take over at their own 27-yard line with 8:54 left in the second quarter. McDaniel would drive down into the red zone and faced a fourth-and-one with 11 seconds to play in the half when Buskirk stopped Stefanelli for a two-yard loss to end the half with the score knotted at 14-14. However, the Green Terror needed just three plays to start the second half and take a 21-14 lead on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Koester to Pat Barlett. McDaniel added a one-yard run by Koester with 35 seconds left in the third quarter and a 16-yard touchdown from Matt Cathey in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring. Moravian would be closest to getting on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter when Moravian would get inside the five-yard line on a 35-yard pass from Erney to Redmond before the drive ended on downs with Erney being sacked.