HUNTINGDON, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team rallied from an 11-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to post a 32-28 victory at Juniata College in Centennial Conference action Saturday as senior running back Roberto Diez ran for three touchdowns and junior wide receiver Nick Petros reached a pair of milestones for the Greyhounds.
Diez had three one-yard touchdown runs on the afternoon including two in the fourth quarter as he ran for 63 yards on 16 carries as he moved into 15th in school history with 1,379 yards on 319 carries to go with 13 career touchdowns including seven now in 2019. Petros had 10 catches for 139 yards with a touchdown against the Eagles as he became the 11th player in school history to pass both 100 career receptions and 1,500 career receiving yards. Petros is now tied for eighth with 1,585 yards, tenth with 104 catches and tied for third with 16 touchdowns in his career.
Moravian finished the afternoon with 371 yards on 63 plays as sophomore quarterback Christopher Mills completed 23-of-32 passes for 265 yards with a touchdown to Petros and an interception. Senior wide receiver Alex Pierce caught four passes for 46 yards while senior wide receiver Andrew Lelie added three receptions for 32 yards. Sophomore wideout Eddie Olsen caught two passes for 21 yards while sophomore wide receiver Cory Little had two receptions for 13 yards and returned four kickoffs for 122 yards. Diez also caught one pass for nine yards while freshman running back/quarterback Sherwin Stewart had one catch for five yards while running for 48 yards on 11 carries.
The Greyhounds defense limited the Eagles to 310 yards on 62 plays. Junior defensive back Tanner Barr and junior defensive back Jackson Buskirk each had ten tackles to lead the Blue and Grey while junior defensive back Renard Nicholson had six stops. Freshman linebacker Wes Asche and junior defensive lineman Brady Hornbaker each had five tackles with Hornbaker adding a half a sack with junior defensive lineman Andrew Stein while sophomore defensive back Connor Lyon made four tackles. Junior defensive lineman Shane Mastro, sophomore linebacker Nicholas Azpeitia and freshman linebacker Jack Gawlik all had three tackles with Gawlick making an 11-yard tackle for loss on Juniata's last drive while junior defensive end Sean Agar had a 10-yard sack on the Eagles' final offensive play.
Juniata received the opening kickoff but Moravian freshman running back Carrington Smith forced a fumble that was recovered by freshman defensive back Ethan Deater to set the Greyhounds up that Juniata 28-yard line. It took the Hounds five plays to get into the end zone as Diez scored for the first time with 12:12 on the clock. Freshman Trevor Yacuboski split the uprights for a quick 7-0 lead for Moravian.
The Eagles would answer with a 12-play, 76-yard drive as Calvin Bembry scored on a one-yard run to even the score at 7-7 with 5:22 left in the opening quarter.
The Greyhounds marched down the field in nine plays after a 26-yard kickoff return from freshman wide receiver Ethen Aquino. Mills finished off the drive with a 25-yard scoring pass to Petros, his 97th career catch. Yacuboski connected again on the point after for a 14-7 lead for the Blue and Grey with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.
Juniata ended up punting on its next possession but the Eagles would get the ball back when Adam Grajewski intercepted Mills in the red zone. The Eagles would convert the turnover into a game-tying touchdown on a four-yard run by Charles Debose with 5:42 left in the opening half.
Moravian punted after three plays on its next drive, and Juniata marched back down the field scored on an eight-yard run by Austin Montgomery with 29 seconds before halftime to head to the locker room with a 21-14 lead.
The Greyhounds had the opening possession of the second half and moved into the red zone before settling for a 26-yard field goal by Yacuboski, the first field goal of his career, to cut the deficit to 24-17 with 9:20 to go in the third quarter.
The Eagles' first possession of the second half would end with Montgomery connecting on a five-yard touchdown pass to Bembry with 1:39 left in the third quarter as Juniata pulled ahead 28-17.
Two plays into the fourth quarter, Mills hit Petros with an eight-yard reception to move the ball past midfield as Petros reached 100 career receptions. Eight plays later, Diez scored on his second one-yard touchdown of the game to make it 28-23. The Greyhounds would go for the two-point conversion, and Mills hit junior tight end Kevin Brandt to make it 28-25 with 9:57 remaining.
Juniata would run just three plays before punting the ball back to Moravian.
The Greyhounds began on their own 32-yard line. After a pair of Mills to Petros completions, Deiz had carries of six and 23 yards to move the ball down to the Juniata 23-yard line. Mills found Lelie with an 11-yard pass to get inside the 10-yard line before Diez carried three straight times to get into the end zone with 2:48 to play with the go-ahead touchdown. Yacuboski connected on his third extra-point of the afternoon to make it a 32-28 lead.
The Eagles picked up two first downs to move the ball across midfield before Gawlik had his tackle for loss. After two completions, Agar came up with a sack of Montgomery to give the Hounds the ball back at the Juniata 47-yard line. Mills would kneel down three times to run out the clock.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, November 2 when the squad hosts Franklin & Marshall College in a Centennial Conference contest kicking off at 1:00 p.m. at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem.