THE GAME: Moravian starts a two-game road trip on Saturday with a Centennial Conference game at Franklin & Marshall College. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. at Shadek Stadium in Lancaster, 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 253 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 124-128-1 record.
Franklin & Marshall coach John Troxell (Lafayette '94) has a record of 76-57 in his 13th year at the school.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 31st in the series with Franklin & Marshall owning a 22-8 advantage. The Diplomats posted a 36-14 victory in Bethlehem last fall and F&M earned a 24-17 win in Lancaster in 2016. The Greyhounds last win was a 34-19 victory in Bethlehem in 2015. Franklin & Marshall earned a win in the only postseason game between the two schools with a 37-20 victory in the 2004 ECAC Southwest Bowl in Lancaster. The Diplomats won the first eight games between the schools and 15 of the first 16 contests. Moravian holds a 7-6 lead in the last 13 games between the schools.
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 2018 Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll while Franklin & Marshall was selected second with five first-place votes.
BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 94 players on the Moravian roster, 45 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.
CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE HONORS: Moravian senior defensive lineman Nick Tone was named as the Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Greyhounds' 31-14 win versus Juniata College last Saturday. Tone helped the Moravian defense pitch a shutout over the final 40 minutes of action after falling behind 14-6 to the Eagles on Homecoming. Tone recorded eight tackles in the game (four solo and four assist) while making three of the Greyhounds' five sacks in the game, the most sacks by a Hound in a game since Chad DeFelice had three against Susquehanna on September 10, 2005. He had a total of three and a half tackles for loss of a total of 18 yards, and he also forced a fumble. Moravian limited Juniata to 213 yards including just 49 on the ground.
D3FOOTBALL.COM TEAM OF THE WEEK: Senior Nick Tone was also named to the D3football.com Team of the Week for his performance against Juniata College last Saturday. He the second Greyhound to be selected to the team, joining sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros, who earned the honor on October 2.
THE QUARTERBACKS: Sophomore Doug Erney was named the Hounds starter for the second straight season and started the first four games of the year while freshman Christopher Mills moved into the starting line-up against Gettysburg College. Mills has completed 55-of-75 passes for 843 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception while running for 63 yards on 22 attempts with three sacks. 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 169 yards and a touchdown on 52 attempts while being sacked nine times.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Junior Roberto Diez leads the Hounds on the ground with 376 yards and three touchdowns on 90 attempts while senior Eli Redmond has picked up 343 yards and two touchdowns on 90 carries, and Redmond became the 11th running back in school history to reach 2,000 career yards, a milestone he hit during the Juniata College game. Freshman Gerald Grube has 169 yards and a touchdown on 28 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 12 different players catch a pass this season led by sophomore Nick Petros, who has 41 receptions for 806 yards and nine touchdowns. Freshman Cory Little has 15 catches for 165 yards while junior Alex Pierce has 12 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Eddie Olsen has caught 11 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns while senior running back Eli Redmond has five receptions for 22 yards. Junior wide receiver Andrew Lelie has five catches for 54 yards while junior tight end Nick Cregar has two receptions for 22 yards. 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. Junior running back Roberto Diez has one catch for one yard.
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 as well as the entire defense with 46 tackles including 10 tackles for loss, six and a half sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while sophomore Shane Mastro has 35 tackles with six for loss, two sacks, three pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and a blocked extra-point versus Johns Hopkins University. Freshman Tijir Bleam has 19 tackles with three and a half for loss, one and a half sacks and a fumble recovery in his debut season while junior Mike O'Hagan has eight stops with one and a half tackles for loss. Senior Vincent Pianoforte has contributed six tackles with a half a sack and one tackle for loss while junior Christian Coia has five tackles with one for loss and a sack. Sophomore Andrew Stein, who switched to the offensive side of the ball after the Ursinus College game, has four tackles, and freshman Brandon Nemeth has also recorded four tackles with a half a tackle for loss while. Sophomore Sean Agar 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: Sophomore Brady Hornbaker leads the linebackers with 39 tackles including nine and a half tackles for loss, four sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a fumble recovery he returned for a touchdown at Susquehanna University while freshman Noah Breidinger has 38 tackles with five and a half for loss and a fumble recovery despite missing the game versus Juniata College. Senior Nick Zambelli has made 33 tackles with one and a half for loss, a forced fumble and a pass break-up that led to an interception while sophomore Tanner Barr has recorded 23 tackles with two for loss and a pass break-up. Senior Dallas Owen has 21 tackles, one tackle for loss and a pair of interceptions with 60 return yards including a 50-yard return for a touchdown versus Gettysburg College while senior Tanner Stokes has added 16 stops with one for loss and two pass break-ups. Sophomore Austin Heisler has contributed 15 stops with one and a half for loss and a half a sack while freshman Blake Reed has six stops. Freshman Nicholas Azpeitia has contributed four 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 with 45 tackles to go with six pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries including one he returned five yards for a touchdown at McDaniel College. Sophomore Jalen Richardson has 42 stops, one tackle for loss, two interceptions with 22 return yards and nine total passes defended while sophomore Justin McRae has made 37 tackles, one tackle for loss, three pass break-ups, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles. Senior Jacob Kober has added 36 tackles with an interception returned eight yards and three passes defended while sophomore Renard Nicholson has nine stops, two interceptions and four passes defended. Junior Tim Valentine also has eight 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 two tackles and a pass break-up.
KICKING GAME: Seniors Jon Miller and Kenny Kane are handling the place-kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is averaging 55.5 yards on 30 kickoffs this season including two touchbacks, and he is 20-for-20 on extra points and 4-for-8 on field goals with a career-long of 37 yards while missing a career-long attempt of 42 yards at Susquehanna University as the ball hit the crossbar. 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 33.5 yards per punt on 37 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 six punts for 49 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 six 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 four kickoffs for 61 yards and has made three tackles on special teams while junior running back Roberto Diez two tackles. Senior linebacker Dallas Owen has a pair of kickoff returns for 16 yards while freshman wide receiver Cory Little has three kickoff returns for 39 yards.
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 2,031 rushing yards, and he needs 73 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also tenth all-time with 406 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 3,217 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 seventh with 42 career extra-points, and he ninth all-time among kickers with 63 points. Miller also has seven field goals made, one shy of the top 10. Senior kicker Kenny Kane is one spot outside of the top ten 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 12 career touchdown catches to tie for eighth all-time. He needs eight receiving yards to become the 20th player in school history with 1,000 receiving yards, and Petros needs 194 yards this season for just the third 1,000-yard season in school history.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are fifth in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 349.3 yards per game, and the squad is fourth in rushing offense with an average of 154.3 yards per contest and seventh in passing offense at 195.0 yards per outing. The Hounds are sixth in the conference in scoring offense at 23.7 points per game, and Moravian is third in points allowed at 18.9. Moravian's defense ranks sixth in the Centennial Conference at 342.4 yards allowed per game, and the squad is sixth in rushing defense at 143.4 yards per contest and fifth in passing defense at 199.0 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are tied for second in turnover margin at +0.86 per game with 10 turnovers committed and 16 turnovers gained through seven games. Moravian also leads the Centennial Conference in opponent fourth down percentage at 27.8 percent (5-for-18) and tied for first in PAT kicking at 100 percent (20-for-20). Individually, freshman quarterback Christopher Mills leads conference with a 200.3 pass efficiency rating, and he is fifth in passing yards per game at 210.8 and fifth in total offense at 226.5 yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is seventh in passing efficiency with a rating of 131.6 while junior running back Roberto Diez is ninth in the conference at 53.7 rushing yards per outing. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is eighth in punting with an average of 33.5 yards per punt, and he is first in receiving yards per game at 115.1, second in receptions per game at 5.86, third in all-purpose yards at 123.1 per contest and third in scoring and tied for third touchdown scoring at 7.7 points per outing. Senior Jon Miller is fifth in kick scoring with 4.6 points per contest, and he is tied for first in PAT kicking at 100 percent (20-for-20), fifth in field goals per game at 0.57 and tied for seventh in field goal percentage at 50.0 percent (4-for-8). Senior defensive lineman Nick Tone is tied for 13th with 6.5 tackles per game, and he is third in tackles for loss per game with 1.43, tied for third in sacks per game at 0.93 and tied for first in fumbles forced at 0.43 per contest. Sophomore defensive back Jackson Buskirk is tied for 15th in tackles per game with 6.4 per game while freshman linebacker Noah Breidinger is 18th at 6.3 tackles per contest. Sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson tied for 23rd with 6.0 tackles per outing, and he is second with 1.29 passes defended and tied for eighth with 0.29 interceptions per game while sophomore linebacker Brady Hornbaker is tied for 29th in tackles at 5.6 per contest, and he tied for fourth in tackles for loss with 1.36 per game. Senior linebacker Nick Zambelli is tied for 31st with 5.5 stops per contest while sophomore defensive back Justin McRae is tied for 35th at 5.3 tackles a game. Senior defensive back Jacob Kober is ranked in a tie for 42nd at 5.1 tackles per outing while sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro is 47th with 4.9 tackles per game. Mastro is tied with Tone for the conference lead in forced fumbles with 0.43 per game while Hornbaker is tied for fourth at 0.29 forced fumbles per contest. McRae and Buskirk are tied for third in fumbles recovered with 0.29 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.
THE NCAA STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are ranked in the top 50 in the nation in 11 different stat categories. The squad is tied for eighth in passes had intercepted with two, 11th in defensive touchdowns with three, 20th in fumbles recovered with nine, 20th in team passing efficiency with a 166.39 rating, 27th in completion percentage at 64.9 percent, 35th in turnover margin at +0.86, 38th in punt return defense at 4.48 yards per return, 39th in passing yards per completion at 14.2, 39th in turnovers gained with 16, 48th in time of possession at 31:55 per game and 49th in team passing defense efficiency with a 106.78 rating. Moravian also has eight players ranked in the top 100 individually. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is 15th in receiving yards with 806, 16th in receiving touchdowns with nine, 18th in receiving yards per game at 115.1, 34th in yards per reception at 19.66, tied for 56th in total touchdowns with nine, tied for 65th in total points with 54, tied for 80th in scoring with 7.7 points per game and 82nd in all-purpose yards at 123.14 per game. Senior defensive lineman Nick Tone is tied for 31st in sacks per game with 0.93, tied for 77th with 1.4 tackles for loss per contest and tied for 13th in forced fumbles at 0.43 per outing. Sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro is also tied for 13th in forced fumbles while sophomore linebacker Brady Hornbacker is tied for 62nd at 0.29 forced fumbles per game. Sophomore defensive backs Jackson Buskirk and Justin McRae are both tied for 25th in fumbles recovered with two while sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson is 60th in passes defended with 1.3 per contest. Senior kicker Jon Miller is 75th in field goal percentage at 50.0 percent and 86th in field goals per game at 0.57.
SCOUTING FRANKLIN & MARSHALL COLLEGE: The Diplomats enter the game at 5-2 after a 35-14 win at Dickinson College last week. Senior quarterback Tanner Erisman leads F&M on the field and has completed 104-of-175 passes for 1,241 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions, and he has added 51 yards and three scores on the ground in 54 attempts. Sophomore wide receiver Timothy Walter has caught 36 passes for 438 yards and a touchdown while senior wide receiver K.J. Pretty has 31 receptions for 491 yards and six touchdowns and junior wideout Kevin Lammers has 16 catches for 154 yards and four scores. Freshman running back Keshon Farmer leads the F&M rushing attack with 430 yards and four touchdowns on 95 attempts while sophomore running back Joe Hartley-Vittoria has added 419 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries. Junior kicker Drew Tomlinson is 22-for-27 on extra points and 1-for-4 on field goals this season while sophomore punter Garrett Perschy is averaging 34.5 yards on 40 punts with nine inside the 20-yard line, two fair caught, one touchback and a long of 68 yards. Freshman wide receiver Mack Focht has returned 12 kickoffs for 254 yards while sophomore wide receiver Brendan Dearing has six kickoff returns for 127 yards. Lammers has returned 11 punts for 153 yards. Junior linebacker Sebastian Silva-Muniz leads the F&M defense with 39 tackles including two for loss and a pair of forced fumbles while senior linebacker Bobby McDevitt has 37 tackles with three for loss, two interceptions returned for 35 yards, six passes defended and a forced fumble. Senior defensive lineman Joe Granahan leads the Diplomats with eight tackles for loss and six and a half sacks to go with 35 tackles, a pass break-up and three forced fumbles while junior defensive back Marlen Fenstermacher has 30 tackles to go with half a sack, an interception and three passes defended.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Bethlehem last fall, Moravian dropped a 36-14 decision to visiting Franklin & Marshall College at Rocco Calvo Field. Quarterback Doug Erney completed 13-of-19 passes for 106 yards, and he ran 15 times for 54 yards and a touchdown while helping the Greyhounds to a total of 191 yards on 48 plays. Quarterback Kordell Theadford was 2-for-2 for 11 yards and a touchdown, and he added 15 yards on two rushing attempts. Running back Eli Redmond contributed 19 yards on seven attempts and one catch for 12 yards while wide receiver Aaron Hudson caught a team-high seven passes for 31 yards as Hudson moved into seventh in Moravian's record books with 117 career receptions, and he is 14th with 1,381 yards. Wide receiver Ricky Tate caught two passes for 37 yards while tight end Aaron Brown added two receptions for 14 yards. Wide receiver Kyle Ferryman and wideout Nick Petros each had one reception for eight yards while running back Frank Dangello had one catch for seven yards and a score to go with one rushing attempt for a yard. Linebacker Steve Ewald led the Moravian defense with ten tackles while linebacker Owen Perih added nine tackles and a pass break-up. Defensive back Jackson Buskirk, defensive back Andrew Nieves and defensive lineman Shane Mastro (each had seven tackles with Mastro adding a half a tackle for loss and Nieves picking up a rushing attempt for 10 yards after scooping up a blocked punt. Defensive back Nick Zambelli made six tackles while defensive back Justice Anderson added four stops with a pair of pass break-up and a half a tackle for loss. Linebacker La-Ron Smith, defensive lineman Vinny Caporrino and defensive lineman Vincent Pianoforte all had four tackles with Caporrino adding a half a tackle for loss. Defensive back Jacob Kober had a pair of tackles with one for loss and partially blocked a punt in the game. Moravian received the opening kickoff and would punt on its opening possession. The Diplomats would drive into the red zone and have a pair of chances from the two-yard line but an incomplete pass and a pass breakup by defensive back Jalen Richardson in the end zone on fourth down gave Moravian possession of the ball. The Greyhounds would punt again but a muffed fair catch by F&M was received by Richardson as Moravian retained possession. Brown had his punt blocked after the Blue and Grey were unable to get a first down with Nieves grabbing the ball but coming up short of the line to make. The Diplomats would get onto the scoreboard three plays into the second quarter, and F&M scored on their next possession as well to take a 14-0 lead with 7:17 lead left in the second quarter. The Blue and Grey needed just three plays to cut the deficit in half with Erney running up the middle and then cutting to the far sideline for a 61-yard touchdown run, his longest rush of the season and third touchdown scamper of longer than 50 yards this fall. Junior Jon Miller kicked the extra-point to make the score 14-7 with 6:07 before the intermission. F&M added a field goal with 1:03 before halftime to send the teams to the locker room with the Diplomats holding a 17-7 advantage. Franklin & Marshall opened the second half with the ball and scored a touchdown to extend the lead to 24-7. Moravian's next drive ended with a snap on fourth down sailing over the head of Petros and eventually rolling out the end zone for a safety, and F&M took the free kick down the field for another touchdown drive to extend its lead to 33-7 with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter. The Diplomats added a field goal in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 36-7 with 11:07 remaining. The Greyhounds final possession of the afternoon began at the F&M 41-yard line with just over two minutes remaining and ended with Theadford finding Dangello with a seven-yard touchdown pass with just eight seconds remaining. Miller drilled the PAT to set the final score at 36-14.