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Moravian travels to Ursinus College for Centennial Conference Contest on September 22

Seniors Nick Zambelli and Jacob Kober make a tackle versus Johns Hopkins University.
Seniors Nick Zambelli and Jacob Kober make a tackle versus Johns Hopkins University.

THE GAME: Moravian travels to Ursinus College for a Centennial Conference contest Saturday, September 22. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. at Patterson Field in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

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 248 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 121-127-1 record.
   Ursinus coach Peter Gallagher (West Virginia Wesleyan '93) has a record of 86-87 (.497) in his 18th year at the school.

THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 21st in the series with Moravian leading 11-8-1. The Bears earned a 35-17 victory in Bethlehem in 2017 while the Greyhounds posted a 33-32 win in Collegeville in 2016. Moravian snapped a four-game winning streak by Ursinus with a 31-3 victory in Bethlehem in 2015. The Bears lead the series, 6-5, since Moravian joined the Centennial Conference in 2007.

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. Ursinus was picked fifth in the poll. 

BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 96 players on the Moravian roster, 47 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 28-of-52 passes for 328 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in three games this fall, and he also has run for 154 yards and a touchdown on 36 attempts while being sacked four times. Mills saw he first collegiate action versus Johns Hopkins University and ran for 15 yards on two attempts.

IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior Eli Redmond leads the Hounds on the ground with 199 yards on 56 carries while junior Roberto Diez has added 141 yards and a touchdown on 33 attempts. Freshman Gerald Grube has 30 yards on five carries in his debut season while senior Devon Bucks has gained six yards on two attempts.

THE WIDE RECEIVERS: The Greyhounds have had eight different players catch a pass this season led by sophomore Nick Petros, who has nine receptions for 199 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Eddie Olsen has caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown while freshman Cory Little has three catches for 54 yards. Junior Alex Pierce also has three receptions for 16 yards while senior running back Eli Redmond has three receptions for 12 yards. Junior wide receiver Andrew Lelie has two catches for 29 yards while freshman Christian Pinnock has one reception for 23 yards and 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 16 tackles including two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while sophomore Shane Mastro has 13 tackles with two and a half for loss, a sack, a pass break-up, a forced fumble and a blocked extra-point versus Johns Hopkins University. Freshman Tijir Bleam has 11 tackles with two and a half for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery in his debut season while senior Vincent Pianoforte has contributed three tackles with a half a sack and one tackle for loss. Junior Christian Coia also has three tackles with one for loss and a sack while sophomore Andrew Stein and junior Mike O'Hagan each have one stop.

THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Sophomore Brady Hornbaker leads the linebackers with 22 tackles including six and a half tackles for loss, two and a half sacks and a pair of forced fumbles while freshman Noah Breidinger has 19 tackles with three for loss and a fumble recovery in his first collegiate season. Sophomore Tanner Barr has made 15 tackles with one and a half for loss and a pass break-up while senior Nick Zambelli has made nine tackles. Sophomore Austin Heisler has contributed six stops with one for loss and a half a sack while senior Tanner Stokes has added four stops and a pass break-up. Senior Dallas Owen and freshman Nicholas Azpeitia have each contributed two tackles while freshman Blake Reed has one stop.

THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Sophomore Jackson Buskirk leads the defensive backs and the entire Greyhounds' defense with 24 tackles to go with two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery he returned five yards for a touchdown at McDaniel College. Sophomore Justin McRae has made 18 tackles and recovered a fumble while sophomore Jalen Richardson has 17 stops, one tackle for loss and four pass break-ups. Senior Jacob Kober has also added 17 tackles with an interception and two passes defended while sophomore Renard Nicholson has four stops. Junior Tim Valentine has three tackles and a pass break-up while junior Dayvon Reimert has added two tackles this season.

KICKING GAME: Seniors Jon Miller and Kenny Kane are handling the place-kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is averaging 55.3 yards on 10 kickoffs this season, and he is 5-for-5 on extra points and 2-for-4 on field goals with a long of 29 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 tied the school record with 11 punt attempts at McDaniel College, and he is averaging 32.8 yards per punt on 19 attempts with five inside the 20-yard line, two fair caught and a long of 54 yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney has punted once for 32 yards. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sophomore Jackson Buskirk has returned four punts for 39 yards while freshman wide receiver Eddie Olsen was credited with a 17-yard return after blocking a punt versus Johns Hopkins University. Senior running back Eli Redmond has two kickoff returns for 36 yards while sophomore linebacker Tanner Barr has returned two kickoffs for seven yards and sophomore linebacker Austin Heisler has recovered an onside kick. Junior running back Roberto Diez has made two tackles on special teams.

MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have four players closing in on milestones in their careers. Senior running back Eli Redmond sits in 11th place in school history with 1,892 rushing yards, and he needs 212 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also sixth all-time with 38 kickoff returns and seventh with 888 kickoff return yards. Redmond is tied for tenth with 16 career touchdowns and sixth with 3,035 career all-purpose yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is eighth with 17 career touchdown passes, and he has 2,873 yards of total offense and needs 486 yards to reach the top ten. Erney also needs 73 pass attempts, 28 pass completions and 327 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 eight extra-points away from the top ten. 

THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are seventh in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 283.0 yards per game, and the squad is fourth in rushing offense with an average of 173.7 yards per contest and tenth in passing offense at 109.3 yards per outing. The Hounds are seventh in the conference in scoring offense at 13.7 points per game, and Moravian is sixth in points allowed at 18.7. Moravian's defense ranks seventh in the Centennial Conference at 360.3 yards allowed per game, and the squad is seventh in rushing defense at 141.7 yards per contest and eighth in passing defense at 218.7 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are tied for second in turnover margin at +1.0 per game with three turnovers committed and six turnovers gained through three games. Individually, sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is sixth in passing efficiency with a rating of 115.7 and seventh in the conference at 109.3 passing yards per contest. Senior running back Eli Redmond is sixth in the conference at 66.3 rushing yards per outing and tenth in all-purpose yardage at 82.3 yards per game. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is eighth in punting with an average of 32.8 yards per punt. Senior Jon Miller is seventh in kick scoring with 11 points while sophomore defensive back Jackson Buskirk is first in punt returns with an average of 9.8 yards per return, and he is tied for tenth in tackles per game with 8.0 per game. Sophomore linebacker Brady Hornbaker is tied for 16th in tackles per game at 7.4, third in tackles for loss with 6.5 and tied for fifth with 2.5 sacks while freshman linebacker Noah Breidinger is tied for 23rd with 6.3 tackles per outing. Sophomore defensive back Justin McRae is tied for 25th with 6.0 tackles per game while sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson and senior defensive back Jacob Kober are tied for 30th in tackles at 5.7 per contest. Richardson is also second in the Centennial Conference with four pass break-ups. Senior defensive lineman Nick Tone is tied for 37th in tackles at 5.3 per outing while sophomore linebacker Tanner Barr is tied for 41st at 5.0 per game.

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 URSINUS COLLEGE: The Bears enter the game at 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Centennial Conference action after a 35-14 victory over Juniata College last Saturday. Junior quarterback Thomas Garlick has completed 58-of-92 passes for 843 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions to lead the Ursinus offense, and he has added 75 yards and a touchdown in 34 rushing attempts. Sophomore Samuel Ragland leads the Bears' rushing attack with 303 yards and seven touchdowns on 49 carries while junior running back Stacey Gardner has added 130 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts. Freshman wide receiver Ryan Loughlin has caught a team-high 17 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns while senior tight end Thomas Cardozo has nine receptions for 123 yards and a score. Junior wide receiver Zach Gravelle also has nine catches for 119 yards while Ragland has pulled in eight aerials for 72 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Jacob Clifford has caught seven passes for 147 yards and a touchdown while Gardner has six receptions for 60 yards. Senior kicker Kirk Cherneskie is 15-for-16 on extra-points and missed his only field goal attempt this season while junior Jack Spingler has punted 11 times for an average of 34.8 yards with two inside the 20-yard line, three fair caught and one touchback. Loughlin has added four kickoff returns for 71 yards and five punt returns for 30 yards. Junior linebacker Jacob McCain leads the Bears' defense with 27 tackles to go with one sack, one tackle for loss, two fumble recoveries and one pass break-up while junior defensive back Marcus Weathers has 17 tackles with three for loss, three sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and a pass break-up. Sophomore defensive back Danny Freeman has contributed 14 tackles with one interception, two passes defended and a blocked kick while senior defensive lineman Matt Hartigan and Spingler each have 13 tackles with Hartigan adding three and a half tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery and Spingler contributed two tackles for loss and a pair of pass break-ups. Senior defensive lineman Charles Anderson has made 12 tackles with three for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble while junior linebacker Brett Capobianco has 11 stops with two and a half for loss. 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Bethlehem last fall, Moravian dropped a 35-17 decision to visiting Ursinus in Centennial Conference action Saturday at Rocco Calvo Field. Running back Eli Redmond picked up his fourth career 100-yard game and first since 2015 with 135 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries to go along with two receptions for 13 yards. Quarterback Doug Erney was 21-for-33 throwing the ball for 177 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and he also picked up seven yards on eight rushing attempts. Wide receiver Aaron Hudson became the tenth player in school to reach 100 career receptions with his fourth catch of the game, and Hudson finished with five receptions for 48 yards. Hudson also had one carry for two yards and returned one kickoff for 31 yards. Wide receiver Ricky Tate led the Greyhounds with six catches for 57 yards while wideout Nick Petros had two receptions for 27 yards and a score. Fullback Jorden Stout caught two passes for 14 yards and added one rushing attempt for two yards while wide receiver Alex Pierce added two receptions for seven yards. Running back Tavion George rushed the ball once for 12 yards, and he caught one pass for three yards while tight end Aaron Brown had one catch for eight yards and punted five times for an average of 40.6 yards. Defensive back Justice Anderson returned four kickoffs for 73 yards. Safety Nick Zambelli led the Moravian defense with 12 tackles to go with a pair of pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Dallas Owen made ten tackles with one and a half for loss. Linebacker Brady Hornbaker contributed nine tackles with a half a tackle for loss while linebacker Joseph Milano and defensive lineman Vincent Pianoforte both had six tackles with a half a tackle for loss. Defensive back Jackson Buskirk recorded five tackles while defensive lineman Shane Mastro added three stops and a pass break-up. Linebacker Steve Ewald had three tackles with one for loss while Stanton Santos recovered a fumbled punt for the Greyhounds. Ursinus received the opening kickoff and needed eight plays to cover 70 yards to the end zone with quarterback Thomas Garlick completing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Clifford for a 7-0 lead with 11:28 after the first quarter. The Bears would get the ball back after the Greyhounds picked up one first down when quarterback Kordell Theadford fumbled. Ursinus turned the miscue into another score as Garlick rushed in from seven yards out for a 14-0 lead with 4:41 remaining in the opening quarter. Moravian was forced to punt after picking up a first down, but the Greyhounds would get the ball right back as Zambelli stripped and recovered the ball at the Ursinus 36-yard line. The Blue and Grey's offense would capitalize four plays later when Redmond scampered in from 23 yards out. Jon Miller added the extra-point to cut the Ursinus lead to 14-7 with twelve seconds left in the opening period. The next four possessions all ended in punts with the second punt by the Greyhounds being fumbled by the Ursinus returner. Santos fell on the ball at the Ursinus 41-yard line. Moravian picked up a first down on an Erney pass to Hudson and another on a run by Erney to get into the red zone. The Greyhounds would settle for a 22-yard field goal by Miller with two seconds left in the half to send the teams to the locker room with Ursinus leading 14-10. Moravian received the opening second half kickoff and picked up four first downs to move into the red zone; however, on a third-and-11 play, Erney overthrew Brown and was intercepted in the end zone. The Bears again turned the miscue into points, driving 80 yards in 11 plays with running back Asa Manley running in a 15-yard touchdown to give the Bears a 21-10 lead with 4:05 left in the third. Ursinus added another touchdown on a 15-yard rush by Stacey Gardener with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter for a 28-10 advantage. Moravian answered back as Erney found Petros with a 19-yard scoring strike over the middle that Petros bobbled but caught with his back on the turf. Miller's PAT made it 28-17 with 2:48 remaining. Miller attempted an onside kick that Buskirk recovered at the Moravian 46-yard line after the ball bounced around. Erney found Hudson with a 17-yard reception on a third down play, and a penalty would put the Greyhounds back in the red zone. However, on a third-and-2, Erney had a pass tipped and eventually intercepted by Ursinus' Jacob McCain, who returned the ball 85 yards for a touchdown to set the final score at 35-17 with 1:20 left on the clock.