CARLISLE, Pa. --- Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros caught a pair of touchdown passes to break the Moravian College single season record with 11 touchdown receptions this fall but the Greyhounds fell to host Dickinson College, 36-29, on a score with 12.5 seconds left in Centennial Conference action Saturday afternoon.
"When we watch the film, I'm sure we're going to see a lot of different things but with this group, we've got a lot of young guys out there and I have to do a better job preparing them," stated Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn, whose team is now 5-4 overall and 4-4 in Centennial Conference action after a second game to be decided in the final 20 seconds. "The effort was there, we just have to make sure we're doing a much better job putting the players in positions for success, and that starts again tomorrow for next Saturday's game."
Petros finished the game with seven catches for 144 yards and two scores, his fourth multi-touchdown and fifth 100-yard receiving contest in the last six weeks. Petros also punted eight times for an average of 40.4 yards with three inside the 20-yard line and a long of 67 yards.
Freshman quarterback Christopher Mills completed 15-of-32 passes for 221 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions, and Mills also had 18 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Junior wide receiver Alex Pierce caught four passes for 25 yards while freshman wideout Eddie Olsen had three receptions for 49 yards and junior fullback Sal Pagano ad one catch for three yards. Freshman running back Gerald Grube led the Moravian rushing attack with 51 yards on 13 attempts while junior Roberto Diez had 22 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Freshman linebacker Noah Breidinger returned after missing two games with injury and led the Greyhounds' defense with 15 tackles and a pass break-up. Senior linebacker Dallas Owen made 11 stops with a half a tackle for loss and a pass break-up while sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro had ten tackles with one and a half for loss. Senior defensive lineman Nick Tone recorded seven tackles with one of Moravian's three sacks and a forced fumble while sophomore defensive back Jackson Buskirk also made seven tackles with a blocked extra-point. Seniors defensive back Jacob Kober and defensive lineman Vincent Pianoforte each had five tackles.
Senior linebacker Nick Zambelli had four tackles to go with an interception while junior linebacker Tim Valentine and sophomore defensive back Justin McRae each had four tackles and a pass break-up. Sophomores linebacker Austin Heisler and defensive lineman Sean Agar each had a sack in the contest while sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson recorded three pass break-ups and returned five kickoffs for 91 yards.
The Greyhounds struck quickly as Mills found Petros down the right seam for an 80-yard touchdown, the duo's fourth 60-yard plus score of the season. Senior Jon Miller split the uprights for a 7-0 lead just 1:57 into the game.
Moravian scored again just over four minutes later as Mills ran in from 15 yards for his first collegiate rushing touchdown. Miller hit the PAT for a 14-0 advantage with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter.
"I think we started fast on offense, and that was good to see," noted Pukszyn. "Defensively, we were just a little inconsistent, especially in the second quarter and that hurt us. As well as we started offensively, we need to get the ball back to the offense when they're rolling, and that is something we were unable to do. A couple of drives were extended by penalties and that is something we need to clean up."
Dickinson would get on the scoreboard with 3:19 left in the first quarter on a 34-yard field goal, and the Red Devils scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass with 12:21 before halftime to cut the Moravian advantage to 14-10.
The Red Devils would intercept Mills on a tipped pass and returned it for a score to move in front with 1:19 left in the second quarter. Buskirk blocked the extra-points to keep the score at 16-14 Dickinson heading into halftime.
Moravian took the opening kickoff of the second half an put together a 13-play, 65-yard drive that took 6:28 off the clock and ended with Mills connecting on a one-yard touchdown pass to Petros as Petros broke Jeff Roy's school record of 10 receiving touchdowns in a season set in 1994. Miller drilled the extra-point to put the Blue and Grey back in front 21-16 with 8:32 left in the third quarter.
Dickinson answered back with its own 13-play drive that covered 71 yards and used 5:24 off the clock to retake the lead 22-21 after the two-point conversion failed. The Red Devils needed just 1:02 to extend their lead as Petros was stripped of the ball on a fake punt attempt and Dickinson scored on its first play for a 29-21 advantage with 2:06 to play in the third quarter.
With 9:23 to play in the contest, Moravian took over on its own 43-yard line after a punt and would need eight plays to get into the end zone on a two-yard run by Diez for his fourth rushing touchdown. Mills then found Petros on a quick slant for the two-point conversion as the Greyhounds knotted the score at 29-29 with 6:26 to play.
Each team would punt once before Dickinson started a drive at its own 31-yard line with 4:07 to play. The Red Devils finished off the drive with the winning touchdown pass of seven yards with just 12.5 seconds left.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to close out the 2018 season on Saturday, November 10 when the Blue and Grey host rival Muhlenberg College in a Centennial Conference game at Rocco Calvo Field. Kickoff for the Senior Day and Hall of Fame contest is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. with the game being televised live by TV-2 Sports.