THE GAME: Moravian travels Susquehanna University for a Centennial Conference game with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m. at Amos Alonzo Stagg Stadium in Selinsgrove. The Greyhounds and the entire Centennial Conference will have a bye next week before the final four games of the regular season.
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 251 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 122-128-1 record.
Susquehanna coach Tom Perkovich (Canisius '03) is in his fourth season at Susquehanna with a 22-14 record.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 46th in the series with overall series record at 22-22-1 after Susquehanna's 28-21 win at Rocco Calvo Field last fall. The Rivers Hawks earned a 35-34 final minute victory in Bethlehem in 2016 while the Greyhounds posted a 21-14 win in Selinsgrove in 2015. The Greyhounds last victory before 2015 was a 12-6 triumph in the 2010 season opener at Rocco Calvo Field in Susquehanna's first game as a Centennial Conference associate member.
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 2016 Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll while Susquehanna, which became part of the conference as an associate member as well in 2010, was selected fourth.
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 was named the Hounds starter for the second straight season with freshman Christopher Mills serving as the back-up. Erney has completed 41-of-73 passes for 522 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in five games this fall, and he also has run for 167 yards and a touchdown on 51 attempts while being sacked nine times. Mills made his first career start versus Gettysburg College and has completed 12-of-13 passes for 336 yards and five touchdowns while running for 19 yards on five attempts with one sack.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior Eli Redmond leads the Hounds on the ground with 285 yards and a touchdown on 76 carries while junior Roberto Diez has added 231 yards and a touchdown on 52 attempts. Freshman Gerald Grube has 134 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in his debut season while senior Devon Bucks has gained seven yards on four attempts.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS & TIGHT ENDS: The Greyhounds have had 10 different players catch a pass this season led by sophomore Nick Petros, who has 21 receptions for 498 yards and seven touchdowns. Freshman Eddie Olsen has caught 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns while junior Alex Pierce has six receptions for 64 yards. Freshman Cory Little has five catches for 75 yards while senior running back Eli Redmond has five receptions for 22 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. Sophomore fullback Andrew Stein, who switched from defense to offense in week five, has one catch for 12 yards while senior wide receiver James Pierce has one reception for eight 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. Junior Matt Shields saw action at McDaniel College. The Greyhounds' front five has an average size of 6-2, 275.
DEFENSIVE FRONT: Senior Nick Tone leads the defensive line with 34 tackles including five tackles for loss, two and a half sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while sophomore Shane Mastro has 25 tackles with five for loss, a sack, two pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and a blocked extra-point versus Johns Hopkins University. Freshman Tijir Bleam has 17 tackles with two and a half for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery in his debut season while junior Christian Coia has five tackles with one for loss and a sack. Senior Vincent Pianoforte has contributed three tackles with a half a sack and one tackle for loss while sophomore Andrew Stein, who switched to the offensive side of the ball after the Ursinus College game, has four tackles. Freshman Brandon Nemeth has recorded four tackles with a half a tackle for loss while junior Mike O'Hagan has three stops with a half a tackle for loss. Sophomore Sean Agar also has three tackles and a fumble recovery while senior Joseph Pellegrino has one stop and freshman Reggie Allen has one tackle with a half a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Freshman Noah Breidinger has 33 tackles with five for loss and a fumble recovery to lead the linebackers in his first collegiate season while sophomore Brady Hornbaker has made 29 tackles including seven and a half tackles for loss, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Sophomore Tanner Barr has recorded 23 tackles with two for loss and a pass break-up while senior Nick Zambelli has made 21 tackles with a pass break-up that led to an interception. Sophomore Austin Heisler has contributed 11 stops with one for loss and a half for loss and a sack while senior Tanner Stokes has added 10 stops and two pass break-ups. Senior Dallas Owen has six tackles and a pair of interceptions with 60 return yards including a 50-yard return for a touchdown versus Gettysburg College while freshman Blake Reed has six stops. Freshman Nicholas Azpeitia has contributed three tackles with two for loss while sophomore Kyle Kooker has two tackles. Freshmen Brian Harris and Dylan Purdy each have made one tackle with Purdy adding a half a tackle for loss.
THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Sophomore Jackson Buskirk leads the defensive backs and the entire Greyhounds' defense with 37 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 31 tackles, three pass break-ups and recovered a fumble while sophomore Jalen Richardson has 30 stops, one tackle for loss, two interceptions and six passes defended Senior Jacob Kober has added 28 tackles with an interception and three passes defended while sophomore Renard Nicholson has seven stops, an interception and a pair of passes defended. Junior Tim Valentine also has seven tackles and a pass break-up while junior Dayvon Reimert has added six tackles this season. Freshman Connor Lyon has contributed three tackles and a pass break-up while freshman Matt Tucker has one tackle.
KICKING GAME: Seniors Jon Miller and Kenny Kane are handling the place-kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is averaging 54.7 yards on 21 kickoffs this season including one touchback, and he is 15-for-15 on extra points and 3-for-5 on field goals with a career-long of 37 yards while missing a career-long attempt of 41 yards at the end of the first half versus King's College. Kane was kicked off once for 55 yards while sophomore Brendan Morgans has one kickoff that resulted in a touchback. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros tied the school record with 11 punt attempts at McDaniel College, and he is averaging 33.2 yards per punt on 25 attempts with eight inside the 20-yard line, two fair caught and a long of 54 yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney has punted once for 32 yards while junior Enzo Di Costanzo has had his only punt attempt of the year blocked.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sophomore Jackson Buskirk has returned five punts for 46 yards while freshman wide receiver Eddie Olsen was credited with a 17-yard return after blocking a punt versus Johns Hopkins University to go with three tackles. Freshman defensive back Connor Lyon has one punt return for 13 yards. Senior running back Eli Redmond has three kickoff returns for 52 yards while sophomore linebacker Tanner Barr has returned four kickoffs for 35 yards and sophomore linebacker Austin Heisler has recovered a pair of onside kicks for five yards. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros has returned three kickoffs for 50 yards and has made three tackles on special teams while junior running back Roberto Diez two tackles.
MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have six players closing in on milestones in their careers or that have set school records this season. Senior running back Eli Redmond sits in 11th place in school history with 1,973 rushing yards, and he needs 131 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also tenth all-time with 402 rushing attempts, sixth all-time with 39 kickoff returns and sixth with 904 kickoff return yards. Redmond is tenth with 17 career touchdowns and fifth with 3,211 career all-purpose yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is eighth with 19 career touchdown passes, and he has 3,080 yards of total offense and needs 279 yards to reach the top ten. Erney also needs 52 pass attempts, 15 pass completions and 133 passing yards to make the top ten in those categories. Senior kicker Jon Miller is tied for ninth with 37 career extra-points, and he has 55 points, needing four more to reach the top 10. Miller also has six field goals made, two shy of the top 10. Senior kicker Kenny Kane is tied for tenth in school history with 59 career kicking points, and he needs five 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. Freshman quarterback Christopher Mills set a school record with five touchdown passes versus Gettysburg College in his first career start. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros set school records with 241 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns and an average of 40.2 yards per reception after a six-catch, four-TD, 241-yard game versus Gettysburg College. Petros has 10 career touchdown catches and needs just two more scoring receptions to move into the top 10 in school history.
CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE WEEKLY HONORS: Moravian sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros and senior linebacker Dallas Owen were named the Centennial Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for their performances in the Greyhounds' 59-23 win over Gettysburg College last Saturday afternoon at Rocco Calvo Field. Petros set school records with 241 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in the first half on just six receptions in the contest. He scored on passes of 69, 78, 34 and 33 yards with the final score coming just two seconds before halftime as the Hounds headed to the locker room with a 45-0 lead. Petros also serves as Moravian's punter, holder and kick returner, and he punted four times on Saturday for an average of 31.5 yards with one inside the 20-yard line, held for all of senior Jon Miller's school-record eight extra points and a field goal, and returned three kickoffs for 50 yards. Owen made his first start of the season after moving from outside to inside linebacker and had an impact with two interceptions. His first interception included a 10-yard return to set up Moravian's fourth touchdown of the game, and Owen's second pickoff ended up as a pick-six as he returned the interception 50 yards to give the Greyhounds a 52-0 lead early in the third quarter. Owen also recorded three tackles in the victory.
D3FOOTBALL.COM TEAM OF THE WEEK: Moravian sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros was selected to the D3football.com Team of the Week presented by Scoutware for Week 5 of the 2018 NCAA Division III season for Petros' performance in the Greyhounds' 59-23 win over Gettysburg College this past Saturday. Petros, who was honored as the Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Sunday, had school records of 241 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in the first half while making just six catches in the contest. He reached the end zone on passes of 69, 78, 34 and 33 yards. Petros' 40.2 yards per reception was also a Moravian record while his 241 receiving yards were the 10th most in a game in Centennial Conference history. Petros also serves as Moravian's punter, holder and kick returner, and he punted four times versus Gettysburg for an average of 31.5 yards with one inside the 20-yard line, held for all of senior Jon Miller's school-record eight extra points and a field goal, and returned three kickoffs for 50 yards.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are sixth in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 333.6 yards per game, and the squad is fourth in rushing offense with an average of 162.0 yards per contest and seventh in passing offense at 171.6 yards per outing. The Hounds are sixth in the conference in scoring offense at 22.8 points per game, and Moravian is tied for fourth in points allowed at 20.0. Moravian's defense ranks eighth in the Centennial Conference at 382.4 yards allowed per game, and the squad is eighth in rushing defense at 171.6 yards per contest and eighth in passing defense at 201.8 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are second in turnover margin at +1.0 per game with seven turnovers committed and 12 turnovers gained through five games. Moravian also leads the Centennial Conference in pass efficiency with a 177.6 rating, opponent penalties at 73.6 yards per game, opponent fourth down percentage at 18.2 percent (2-for-11) and tied for first in PAT kicking at 100 percent (15-for-15). Individually, sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is fifth in passing efficiency with a rating of 131.6, seventh in total offense at 137.8 yards per game and tenth in the conference at 104.4 passing yards per contest while senior running back Eli Redmond is seventh in the conference at 6.0 rushing yards per outing. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is ninth in punting with an average of 33.2 yards per punt, and he is second in receiving yards per game at 99.6, seventh in receptions per game at 4.2, fifth in all-purpose yards at 108.8 per contest and tied for third in both scoring and touchdown scoring at 8.4 points per outing. Senior Jon Miller is third in kick scoring with 4.8 points per contest, and he is tied for first in PAT kicking at 100 percent (15-for-15) and fifth in both field goals per game at 0.60 and field goal percentage at 60 percent (3-for-5) while sophomore defensive back Jackson Buskirk is second in punt returns with an average of 9.2 yards per return, and he 13th in tackles per game with 7.4 per game. Senior defensive lineman Nick Tone is tied for 16th with 6.8 tackles per game while freshman linebacker Noah Breidinger is tied for 19th at 6.6 tackles per contest and sophomore defensive back Justin McRae is tied for 21st at 6-2 tackles a game. Sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson tied for 24th with 6.0 tackles per outing, and he is tied for sixth with 1.20 passes defended and 0.40 interceptions per game. Sophomore linebacker Brady Hornbaker is tied for 26th in tackles at 5.8 per contest, and he fourth in tackles for loss with 1.5 per game. Senior defensive back Jacob Kober is tied for 30th at 5.6 tackles per outing while senior linebacker Nick Zambelli is 33rd with 5.2 stops per contest. Sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro is tied for 40th with 4.8 tackles per outing while sophomore linebacker Tanner Barr is tied for 49th at 4.6 tackles per game. Hornbaker, Tone and Mastro are tied for second in the conference in forced fumbles at 0.4 per contest
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 SUSQUEHANNA UNIVERSITY: The River Hawks enter the game at 3-2 overall and 2-2 in Centennial Conference action after a 30-24 overtime win over Dickinson College last Saturday, Susquehanna's third straight overtime contest. Freshman quarterback Michael Ruisch leads the River Hawks on the field having completed 88-of-174 passes for 1,184 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions while junior Nicholas Brotzman is 7-for-21 for 89 yards a score. Junior wide receiver Mitch Carsley has caught a team high 28 passes for 542 yards and four touchdowns while sophomore wide receiver Kyle Good has 16 catches for 196 yards. Junior tight end Anthony McCoy has added 16 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns while junior wide receiver Mikah Christian has 11 catches for 180 and three scores. Freshman wide receiver Samuel Darrell has caught eight passes for 113 yards. Junior running back Aaron Speight leads the Susquehanna rushing attack with 252 yards and four touchdowns on 73 attempts while Ruisch has 166 yards and three scored on 46 carries. Junior running back Torey Brown has contributed 120 yards and three touchdowns on 29 attempts. Good has returned 12 punts for 85 yards while Darrell has seven kickoff returns for 134 yards and freshman wide receiver Kibwe Galloway has returned three kickoffs for 71 yards. Sophomore kicker Rory D'Alesandro is 15-for-16 on extra-points and has made a 30-yard field goal while freshman Elijah Hoffman is 3-for-3 on extra-points and averaging 55.9 yards on 25 kickoffs. Senior Jake Wiles is averaging 38.2 yards per punt on 31 attempts with eight fair caught, seven inside the 20-yard line and two touchbacks to go with a long punt of 69 yards while Ruisch has punted twice for an average of 30.5 yards and one inside the 20-yard line and a touchback. Junior linebacker Cole Dixon leads the River Hawks' defense with 50 tackles, five and a half tackles for loss, three and a half sacks, an interception, seven passed defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Senior linebacker Connor Thompson has 42 tackles with a half a tackle for loss, an interception, two passes defended and a fumble recovery while junior defensive back Danial Shelton has 34 stops with one interception and five passes defended. Junior linebacker David Simpson has contributed 30 tackles with five and a half for loss, one and a half sack, a pass break-up and a fumble recovery while senior defensive back Wyatt Kirkendall has 23 tackles and a pass break-up. Junior defensive lineman Kashief Hyatt has 22 stops with five and a half tackles for loss, three and a half sacks, a pass break-up, a forced fumble and a blocked kick while senior linebacker Noah Schairer also has 22 tackles with four for loos and one sack.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Bethlehem last fall, quarterback Doug Erney tossed a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Aaron Brown and ran for another score but it wasn't enough as the Greyhounds' fourth quarter rally came up short in a 28-21 loss to Susquehanna University in Centennial Conference action at Rocco Calvo Field. Erney completed 12-of-20 passes for 190 yards with Brown pulling in a career-high six receptions for a career-best 137 yards and the two scores. Wide receiver Aaron Hudson added three catches for 34 yards as he moved into a tie for eighth with 107 career receptions and sole possession of 14th in career receiving yards with 1,334. Hudson also returned a pair of kickoffs for 33 yards. Running back Tavion George led the Moravian rushing attack with 28 yards on seven carries before leaving the game in the first half with an injury. Running back Frank Dangello also had 28 yards on 13 carries while Erney finished with 22 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts. Wide receiver Nick Petros had a busy afternoon, catching one pass for five yards, returning one kickoff for 24 yards and punting eight times for an average of 36.5 yards with a long of 52 yards. Defensive back Justice Anderson added two kickoff returns for 40 yards while wide receiver Ricky Tate had one catch for eight yards and wide receiver Alex Pierce added one reception for six yards. Defensive back Jackson Buskirk returned after missing a game with an injury to lead the Moravian defense with 12 tackles, and he also had one punt return for three yards. Linebacker Tanner Barr made a start due to an injury to Joseph Milano, and Barr contributed 11 tackles with a half a tackle for loss and a pass break-up that he nearly intercepted in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Steve Ewald made eight tackles and recovered a fumble while linebacker Dallas Owen had seven stops and a forced fumble. Defensive back Nick Zambelli also contributed seven tackles, and he added a sack and a tackle for loss while defensive lineman Shane Mastro added six stops with a pair of tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Vincent Pianoforte, linebacker Brady Hornbaker, defensive back Justin McRae and defensive back Jalen Richardson all had four tackles with Pianoforte adding a sack and one and a half tackles for loss, Hornbaker breaking up two passes and Richardson making his first career interception. Defensive linemen Fouad Haddad and Connor Rooney both had three tackles while defensive lineman Nick Tone, defensive lineman Vinny Caporrino and Anderson each had two tackles with Anderson breaking up a pass. Moravian had 266 yards on 49 plays while Susquehanna controlled the clock for 36:48 and picked up 425 yards on 79 plays. The River Hawks were also 8-for-15 on third down while the Hounds' offense was just 1-for-10 on third downs. Susquehanna received the opening kickoff and was driving before Richardson ended the drive with an interception at the Moravian nine-yard line. However, the Greyhounds had to punt after three plays and a long punt return by the River Hawks set up Susquehanna for a 20-yard running back option pass from Cameron Ott to Mitch Carsley for a 7-0 lead for the River Hawks with 9:56 left in the first quarter. Once again, the Moravian offense was unable to pick up a first down before punting. However, on the second play of the River Hawks drive, Owen stripped Ott of the ball and Ewald recovered the fumble at the Moravian 47-yard line. George had a pair of rushes for a Moravian first down before the Greyhounds faced a third-and-five. Erney tossed a short pass to Brown, who broke a tackle that would have kept him shy of the first down and raced 34 yards into the end zone. Jon Miller tacked on the extra-point to knot the score at 7-7 with 5:14 to go in the first quarter. The River Hawks took the ensuing kickoff 75 yards in 13 plays with Ott scoring on a one-yard touchdown run on the third play of the second quarter as Susquehanna took a 14-7 lead. Moravian's next two possessions would end in punts while the Greyhounds' defense came up with a pair of fourth down stops, one by Zambelli and Barr and the other from Caporrino and Owen as Moravian made the River Hawks turn the ball over on downs. After the second defensive stop just on the Moravian side of midfield, the Hounds offense moved the ball down the field with Erney starting the drive with a 10-yard run. Erney found Brown with an 18-yard pass to move into the red zone and the duo would end the drive with a 16-yard scoring strike for Brown's third touchdown of the season and fourth of his career. Miller's PAT split the uprights and tied the contest at 14-14 with 1:23 before the intermission. The third quarter would start with a pair of punts by the Greyhounds and one from the River Hawks before Susquehanna eventually found the end zone on a 32-yard catch and run by Diamente Holloway after a short pass by Nick Crusco as the River Hawks moved ahead 21-14 with 4:17 left in the third quarter. Crusco and Holloway connected again on a 12-yard touchdown pass just ten seconds into the fourth quarter as Susquehanna extended its lead to 28-14. Moravian eventually took over at its own 26-yard line with 5:21 to play. Erney found Hudson with a 19-yard pass on the first play, and Erney hooked up with Brown on a 17-yard pass to move on the other side of midfield. Erney found Brown once again, and Brown was eventually pulled down at the one-yard line after a 31-yard play. Erney finished the drive on the next play with his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Miller would cut the deficit to 28-21 with 3:56 to play. The Blue and Grey tried a short kickoff but the River Hawks were ready for it and would run out the clock on offense to end the afternoon.