THE GAME: Moravian finishes off the 2018 season with a Centennial Conference game versus rival Muhlenberg College. Kickoff is slated for 12:05 p.m. at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem as the Greyhounds celebrate Senior Day and Hall of Fame. The winner of Saturday's contest will take home the Sodexo Trophy and the Most Valuable Players of the Game for each squad will be announced after the contest is completed.
TV-2 SPORTS BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast live by Service Electric TV-2 Sports with kickoff being moved back five minutes to accommodate the broadcast. Mike Zambelli will call the play-by-play with color commentary from Jim Wills.
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 255 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 124-130-1 record.
Muhlenberg coach Nate Milne (Hobart '03) has a record of 8-1 in his first year.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 67th in the series with Moravian holding a 33-31-2 advantage. Muhlenberg recorded a 29-14 win in last November in Allentown for its seventh straight win in the series, and the Mules posted a 31-12 victory in 2016 in Bethlehem. The Mules longest winning streak between the schools. The Greyhounds' last win in the series a 14-13 triumph in 2010 in Bethlehem.
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 Muhlenberg was selected third with one first-place vote.
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.
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 83-of-133 passes for 1,180 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions while running for 83 yards and a touchdown on 36 attempts and has been sacked seven times. Erney has completed 44-of-79 passes for 538 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in six games this fall, and he also has run for 166 yards and a touchdown on 54 attempts while being sacked 10 times.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Junior Roberto Diez leads the Hounds on the ground with 439 yards and four touchdowns on 109 attempts while senior Eli Redmond has picked up 343 yards and two touchdowns on 90 carries, and Redmond became the 11th running back at Moravian to reach 2,000 career yards, a milestone he hit versus Juniata College. Freshman Gerald Grube has 229 yards and a touchdown on 45 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 53 receptions for 974 yards and 11 touchdowns. Junior Alex Pierce has 18 receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown while freshman Eddie Olsen has caught 17 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Cory Little has 16 catches for 178 yards 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 running back Roberto Diez has five catches for nine yards. Junior tight end Nick Cregar has two receptions for 10 yards while senior wide receiver James Pierce has two receptions for 13 yards. Junior fullback Sal Pagano has two receptions for seven yards. Sophomore fullback Andrew Stein, who switched from defense to offense in week five, has one catch for 12 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 as well as the entire defense with 56 tackles including 13 tackles for loss, seven and a half sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while sophomore Shane Mastro has 49 tackles with eight and a half 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 senior Vincent Pianoforte has contributed 11 tackles with a half a sack and one tackle for loss. Junior Mike O'Hagan has 10 stops with one and a half tackles 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 four tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss 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, who missed two games with an injury, leads the linebackers with 53 tackles to go with five and a half for loss, a pass break-up and a fumble recovery. Senior Nick Zambelli has contributed 47 tackles with one and a half for loss, a forced fumble and a pass break-up that led to an interception while sophomore Brady Hornbaker has made 44 tackles including 11 tackles for loss, four sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a fumble recovery he returned 28 yards for a touchdown at Susquehanna University. Senior Dallas Owen has 38 tackles, one and a half tackles for loss, a pair of interceptions with 60 return yards including a 50-yard return for a touchdown versus Gettysburg College and a total of three passes defended. Sophomore Tanner Barr has recorded 24 tackles with two for loss and a pass break-up. while senior Tanner Stokes has added 22 stops with one for loss and two pass break-ups. Sophomore Austin Heisler has contributed 20 stops with two and a half for loss and one and a half sacks 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 55 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 Justin McRae has made 49 tackles, one tackle for loss, four pass break-ups, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles while senior Jacob Kober has added 47 tackles with one and a half tackles for loss, a sack, an interception returned eight yards and four passes defended. Sophomore Jalen Richardson has 44 stops, one tackle for loss, two interceptions with 22 return yards, 12 total passes defended and a blocked extra-point at Franklin & Marshall College. while sophomore Renard Nicholson has 13 stops, two interceptions and four passes defended. Junior Tim Valentine has 13 tackles and two pass break-ups 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 54.9 yards on 37 kickoffs this season including two touchbacks, and he is 23-for-24 on extra points and 4-for-8 on field goals with a career-long of 37 yards versus Gettysburg College 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 set a school record with a 74-yard punt at Franklin & Marshall College, and he is averaging 35.5 yards per punt on 54 attempts with 12 inside the 20-yard line, three fair caught and a long of 74 yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney has punted once for 32 yards while junior Enzo Di Costanzo has had his only punt attempt 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 four punt returns for 19 yards. Freshman wide receiver Cory Little has eight kickoff returns for 136 yards while sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson has six kickoff returns for 105 yards. Sophomore linebacker Tanner Barr has returned four kickoffs for 35 yards while senior running back Eli Redmond has three kickoff returns for 52 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.
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 3,093 yards of total offense and needs 266 yards to reach the top ten. Erney also needs 46 pass attempts, 12 pass completions and 117 passing yards to make the top ten in those categories. Senior kicker Jon Miller is seventh with 45 career extra-points, and he eighth all-time among kickers with 66 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 14 career touchdown catches to tie for fourth all-time, and he has a school-record 11 touchdown receptions in 2018. He became the 20th player in school history with 1,000 receiving yards at Franklin & Marshall College and has 1,160 career yards, and Petros needs 26 yards this season for just the third 1,000-yard season in school history. Petros set a school record with a 74-yard punt at Franklin & Marshall, and he tied the school record with 11 punt attempts at McDaniel College.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are sixth in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 327.1 yards per game, and the squad is seventh in rushing offense with an average of 136.2 yards per contest and seventh in passing offense at 190.9 yards per outing. The Hounds are seventh in the conference in scoring offense at 22.3 points per game, and Moravian is seventh in points allowed at 23.1. Moravian's defense ranks seventh in the Centennial Conference at 352.7 yards allowed per game, and the squad is sixth in rushing defense at 140.4 yards per contest and seventh in passing defense at 212.2 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are tied for fifth in turnover margin at +0.44 per game with 13 turnovers committed and 17 turnovers gained through nine games. Individually, freshman quarterback Christopher Mills is second conference with a 159.7 pass efficiency rating, and he is fifth in passing yards per game at 196.7 and fifth in total offense at 210.5 yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is sixth in passing efficiency with a rating of 127.1 and tenth in total offense at 100.6 yards per game while junior running back Roberto Diez is 12th in the conference at 48.8 rushing yards per outing. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is eighth in punting with an average of 35.5 yards per punt, and he is first in receiving yards per game at 108.2, first in receptions per game at 5.89, third in all-purpose yards at 114.4 per contest and third in scoring and touchdown scoring at 7.6 points per outing. Senior Jon Miller is fifth in kick scoring with 3.9 points per contest, and he is third in PAT kicking at 95.8 percent (23-for-24), fifth in field goals per game at 0.44 and tied for fifth in field goal percentage at 50.0 percent (4-for-8). Freshman linebacker Noah Breidinger is ninth at 7.6 tackles per contest while senior defensive lineman Nick Tone is tied for 13th with 6.1 tackles per game, and he is fourth in tackles for loss per game with 1.44, tied for third in sacks per game at 0.83 and first in fumbles forced at 0.44 per contest. while Sophomore defensive back Jackson Buskirk is tied for 15th in tackles per game with 6.1 per game while senior linebacker Nick Zambelli is 22nd with 5.9 stops per contest. sophomore defensive back Justin McRae is tied for 33rd at 5.4 tackles a game. Sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro is tied for 35th with 5.3 tackles per game, and he is tied for second in forced fumbles with 0.33 per game. Senior defensive back Jacob Kober is ranked in a tie for 38th at 5.2 tackles per outing while sophomore linebacker Brady Hornbaker is tied for 43rd in tackles at 4.9 per contest, and he eighth in tackles for loss with 1.22 per game. Sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson tied for 43rd with 4.9 tackles per outing, and he is tied for first with 1.23 passes defended while sophomore defensive back Renard Nicholson and senior linebacker Dallas Owen are tied for 10th in interceptions with 0.25 per game with Owen also 47th in tackles with 4.8 per contest. McRae and Buskirk are tied for sixth in fumbles recovered with 0.22 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 five different stat categories. The squad is tied for 19th in passes had intercepted with four, tied for 20th in defensive touchdowns with three, 37th in fourth down conversion defense at 33.3 percent (7-of-21), 43rd in team passing efficiency with a 147.55 rating and 45th in punt return defense at 5.08 yards per return. Moravian also has six players ranked in the top 100 individually. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is 15th in receiving yards with 974, 16th in receiving yards per game at 108.2, 16th in receiving touchdowns with 11, 65th in receptions per game at 5.9, 54th in yards per reception at 18.38, tied for 62nd in total touchdowns with 11, tied for 73rd in total points with 66 and 79th in scoring with 7.6 points per game. Senior defensive lineman Nick Tone is 40th in sacks per game with 0.83, 69th with 1.4 tackles for loss per contest and 10th in forced fumbles at 0.44 per outing. Sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro is tied for 25th in forced fumbles at 0.33 forced fumbles per game while sophomore defensive backs Jackson Buskirk and Justin McRae are both tied for 36th in fumbles recovered with two.
SCOUTING MUHLENBERG COLLEGE: The Mules enter the game at 8-1 overall and 7-1 in Centennial Conference action after a 49-0 win versus Gettysburg College last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Michael Hnatkowsky is leading the Muhlenberg offense on the field having completed 184-of-295 passes for 2,365 yards with 23 touchdowns and six interceptions, and Hnatkowsky has run for 125 yards and a touchdown on 50 attempts. Junior wide receiver Max Kirin leads the Mules with 48 catches for 652 yards and nine touchdowns while junior tight end Ryan Curtiss has 34 catches for 482 yards and six scores. Sophomore wide receiver Nate Ugarte has pulled in 31 passes for 363 yards and one touchdown while senior wide receiver Josiah Lawrence-Wright has 21 catches for 322 yards and a score. Sophomore wideout Thomas Murphy has added 17 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns while junior running back Chris Hillburn has 10 catches for 118 yards and three scores. Sophomore running back James Diggs leads the Muhlenberg rushing attack with 749 yards and nine touchdowns on 143 carries to go with 10 receptions for 112 yards and a score while junior running back Mark Riggio has added 469 yards and six touchdowns on 122 attempts. Junior kicker Todd Spirt is 43-for-45 on extra-points this season, and he is 5-for-10 on field goals with a long of 37 yards. Junior Joseph O'Hagan has punted 21 times for an average of 34.4 yards and a long of 47 while freshman Kevin Olifiers has punted 18 times for 40.1 yards and a long of 55 yards. Freshman wide receiver Gabe Robles has returned 18 kickoffs for 398 yards and 30 punts for 251 yards while sophomore defensive back Daymon Fleming has six kickoff returns for 103 yards. Senior linebacker Jack Fitzsimmons leads the Muhlenberg defense with 56 tackles including 10 and a half for loss, one and a half sacks and a fumble recovery. Junior linebacker Mickey Kober has contributed 55 tackles with four and a half for loss, two sacks and an interception while junior defensive end Frankie Feaster has 52 stops with 16 and a half for loss, 11 and a half sacks, nine passes defended with one interception and three forced fumbles. Sophomore linebacker Spencer Kirin has added 50 tackles with five and a half for loss, one sack, four passes defended with an interception and a fumble recovery while O'Hagan has 34 tackles with two and a half for loss, five passes defended with one interception. Sophomore defensive back Nick Sirico leads the Mules with three interceptions to go with a total of five passes defended while freshman defensive back John Washington has two interceptions and six passes defended.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Allentown last fall, quarterback Doug Erney threw a pair of second half touchdown passes but it wasn't enough to lead the Greyhounds back from a 16-point halftime deficit as the Hounds ended their 2017 season with a 29-14 loss to rival Muhlenberg College. After the contest, defensive back Nick Zambelli was voted as Moravian's Most Valuable Player in the game after making a career-high 13 tackles including ten solo stops to go along with an interception early in the second half. Erney was 18-for-29 in the game for 254 yards with the two touchdown passes and one interception, and Erney also ran for 33 yards on 14 attempts as he helped Moravian pick up 336 yards of offense on 60 plays. Wide receiver Aaron Hudson caught a team-high five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown to complete his career with 123 receptions, fifth all-time at Moravian, 1,531 receiving yards which is tenth in school history and 11 touchdowns. Wide receiver Alex Pierce caught four passes for 69 yards and a touchdown while tight end Aaron Brown also had four receptions for 33 yards. Wide receiver Ricky Tate added three catches for 69 yards while running back Eli Redmond added two receptions for eight yards and ran for a team-high 43 yards on ten attempts. Running back Frank Dangello had 13 yards on four carries while fullback Jorden Stout return after missing three games with an injury to career the ball twice. Zambelli's interception, which he returned three yards, was one of seven passes defended by the Greyhounds. Freshman defensive back Jackson Buskirk had nine tackles and three pass break-ups including one on fourth down to go with one punt return for six yards. Defensive lineman Shane Mastro added eight tackles with two for loss and a sack while linebacker Tanner Barr had seven tackles with half a tackle for loss and two kickoff returns for 31 yards. Defensive back Justice Anderson and linebacker Steve Ewald each made six tackles with Anderson adding a tackle for loss, a pass break-up and three kickoff returns for 50 yards. Defensive lineman Vinny Caporrino had five tackles with a half a stop flor loss and a quarterback hurry while linebacker Dallas Owen added four tackles and one kickoff return for nine yards. Defensive back Tim Valentine had Moravian's other pass break-up. The Mules received the opening kickoff and put together an 18-play, 72-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes and ended with a field goal after a tackle for loss by Mastro inside the 10-yard line. Moravian picked up a first down on its initial possession on a 45-yard pass from Erney to Tate on third down; however, a bad snap that ended up bouncing around on the turf kept the Greyhounds from attempting what would have been a 38-yard field goal attempt. The Greyhounds defense would force Muhlenberg to turn the ball over on downs but the Blue and Grey punted after three plays. After a long punt return, the Mules scored three plays into the second quarter to extend their lead to 10-0. Moravian would punt again and with Muhlenberg in Greyhound territory, Buskirk would jump and get a hand on a fourth down pass attempt to knock the ball away and give the Hounds possession. Erney hit Brown with a short completion for a first down and Redmond ran for back-to-back first downs as Moravian moved into the red zone. However, the drive stalled after a first down on a run by Dangello. Jon Miller came on to attempt a 25-yard field goal but it was blocked by the Mules. The Hounds defense would hold after three plays but a fake punt attempt would end up as a first down for Muhlenberg, and the Mules drove down to score three plays later and extend the lead to 16-0 after the PAT bounced off of the right upright. Erney fumbled on the first play of the second half but the Greyhounds fell on the ball. However, Erney was intercepted on the next play. Moravian needed just one play to get the ball back as-Zambelli-stepped in front of a pass at the one-yard line for his third interception of the season and the seventh of his career. The Hounds drove 72 yards but a shot pass was incomplete on fourth down to turn the ball over to the Mules at the Muhlenberg 24-yard line. The Greyhounds forced a punt after three plays and took over at their own 34-yard line. After a first down by penalty moved the ball past midfield, Erney connected on a 41-yard touchdown pass to Pierce. Miller's PAT cut the deficit to 16-7 with 5:44 left in the third quarter. Each team punted on its next possession before the Mules extended the lead to 22-7 with 11:57 remaining in the contest. Moravian answered right back with Anderson returning the kickoff 37 yards to set the offense up on the Muhlenberg side of midfield. Three plays later, Erney connected with Hudson on a 28-yard catch and run down the far sideline for the touchdown. Miller's extra-point pulled the Hounds within 22-14 with 10:39 still to play. Once again, the Mules answered with a 13-play drive and another touchdown to extend the lead to 29-14 with 3:58 to play. The Hounds' ensuing drive would get to the Muhlenberg 31-yard line before stalling. The Mules were forced to punt before Erney connected with Tate for 11 yards on the final play of the afternoon.