BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team plays its final home game of the 2019 season on Saturday, November 9 when the Greyhounds host Dickinson College for a Centennial Conference game. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem as the Hounds celebrate Senior Day.
THE COACHES: Jeff Pukszyn (Moravian '98) is entering his ninth 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 264 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 127-136-1 record. During the bye week, Pukszyn was inducted into Moravian's Hall of Fame for his playing career.
Dickinson coach Brad Fordyce (Springfield '97) is in his third season at the school with a 12-16 record.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 23rd in the series with the Greyhounds leading the series 11-9-2. The Devils posted a 36-29 victory in Carlisle last fall to snap a four-game winning streak by Moravian in the series. The Greyhounds earned a 35-18 win on Bethlehem in 2018. Moravian has won seven of the last nine 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 seventh in the 2018 Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll while Dickinson was selected sixth.
BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 86 players on the Moravian roster, 22 are freshmen, 31 are sophomores and 18 are juniors. There are 15 seniors on this season's squad, and the Greyhounds return 59 letterwinners and 17 starters.
THE QUARTERBACKS: Sophomore Christopher Mills has completed 117-of-200 passes this season for 1,382 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions in his second season as a starter. Freshman David LePoidevin has completed 5-of-17 passes for 35 yards with two interceptions as he made his first career start at No. 21 Johns Hopkins University.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior Roberto Diez leads the running backs with 721 yards and seven touchdowns on 155 carries while freshman quarterback/running back Sherwin Stewart has rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries. Freshman running back Carrington Smith has carried the ball 28 times for 61 yards this season while junior wide receiver Nick Petros has contributed seven yards on two carries and sophomore wide receiver/linebacker Romello Walters has one attempt for three yards.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS: The Greyhounds have had 13 different players catch a pass this season led by junior Nick Petros, who has 40 catches for 425 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Eddie Olsenhas 19 receptions for 320 yards and two touchdowns while senior Alex Pierce has 17 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Andrew Lelie has 13 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown while sophomore Cory Little has caught nine passes for 91 yards and a score. Senior running back Roberto Diez has eight catches for 67 yards while sophomore Romello Walters caught four for 30 yards before moving to defense. Senior tight end Nick Cregar has caught three passes for 20 yards and a touchdown while freshman running back Carrington Smith has three receptions for 18 yards. Senior fullback Sal Pagano has two catches this season for one yard while freshman quarterback/running back Sherwin Stewart has two receptions for nine yards. Sophomore tight end Matt Nimas has one reception for 22 yards while junior wide receiver Trevor Cunningham has caught one pass for 11 yards. Junior tight end Kevin Brandt grabbed a two-point conversion in the Greyhounds' victory at Juniata College.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Moravian has four returners on the offensive line with the fifth starter from 2018, junior PJ Weierbach, now on the defensive side of the ball. Seniors right tackle Jason Barish, center Brett Poling, left tackle Tyler Maxsim and left guard Zack Cregar all return to the front line with sophomore Frank Sallusti moved into the starting right guard position. The Greyhounds' front five has an average size of 6-2, 275. Senior Matt Shields has also seen action on the line this season.
DEFENSIVE FRONT: Junior Austin Heisler leads the defensive front with 40 tackles including five sacks, six tackles for loss, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a blocked punt at Gettysburg College while junior Shane Mastro has added 39 tackles including two and a half sacks and three tackles for loss. Junior Brady Hornbaker has contributed 27 stops with one sack, four and a half tackles for loss, a pass break-up and a forced fumble while junior PJ Weierbach has made 22 tackles with three and a half for loss and, one and a half a sacks, a pass break-up, a fumble recovery versus Susquehanna University and a blocked field goal at Gettysburg in his first season on the defensive side of the ball. senior Mike O'Hagan has recorded 14 tackles while junior Andrew Stein has 13 stops with a half a sack, two and a half tackles for loss and two pass break-ups. Senior Christian Coia has 11 tackles with a half a tackle for loss while junior Sean Agar has added six tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and a pass break-up and sophomore Brandon Nemeth has two stops.
THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Junior Tanner Barr tops the linebackers with 58 tackles with four for loss and a blocked extra-point versus Franklin & Marshall College while sophomore Noah Breidinger has contributed 40 tackles including one for loss, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. Sophomore Nicholas Azpeitia has made 22 tackles after moving into the starting line-up versus Susquehanna University while senior Tim Valentine is playing a hybrid linebacker/defensive back and has 19 tackles with an interception and two passes defended. Sophomore Romello Walters moved from offense to defense and is seeing time at linebacker and defensive back, and he has made 16 tackles with one for loss to go with two passes defended and an interception returned 79 yards for a touchdown versus Ursinus College, his first game on defense. Freshman Wes Asche has made 13 tackles with a half a tackle for loss while freshman Jack Gawlik has nine stops with two for loss and a blocked kick. Junior Kyle Kooker has seven tackles with one and a half for loss.
THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Junior Jackson Buskirk leads the defensive backs and the Moravian defense with 59 stops with six tackles for loss and four pass break-ups while junior Renard Nicholson has 47 tackles to go with one sack, three tackles for loss and two pass break-ups. Junior Justin McRae has added 24 tackles with an interception versus Susquehanna and five passes defended while sophomore Connor Lyon has 19 tackles and two pass break-ups. Junior Jalen Richardson has contributed seven stops with one tackle for loss while sophomore Nate Chapman has four tackles since entering the lineup due to injuries and sophomore Vincent Scaglia has made two stops.
KICKING GAME: Freshman Trevor Yacuboski has kicked off 18 times for an average of 54.6 yards with two touchbacks and is 6-for-6 on extra-points and 2-for-2 on field goals with a long of 42 yards while sophomore Jack Coary is 3-for-4 on extra-points this season, 1-for-1 on field goals with a long of 21 yards and has kicked off 12 times for an average of 53.7 yards with one touchback. Junior Brendan Morgans is 7-for-9 on extra-points, and he has punted three times for an average of 53.7 yards with a long of 58 yards, one touchback, one inside the 20-yard line and one blocked. Junior wide receiver Nick Petros has punted 29 times for an average of 38.3 yards, a long of 65 yards, three touchbacks, one fair caught and seven inside the 20-yard line while sophomore wide receiver Tadd Barr has punted six times for an average of 34.5 yards with two fair caught. Sophomore quarterback Christopher Mills has punted once this year for 12 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sophomore wide receiver Cory Little has 17 kickoff returns for 561 yards with a long of 87 yards while freshman wide receiver Ethen Aquino has returned five kickoffs for 105 yards with a long of 32 yards. Junior wide receiver Nick Petros has returned two kickoffs for 53 yards with a long of 37 yards while freshman quarterback/running back Sherwin Stewart has returned two kickoffs for 49 yards with a long of 27 yards. Sophomore wide receiver/linebacker Romello Walters has one kickoff return for 21 yards while junior defensive back Jalen Richardson has returned one kickoff for 19 yards. Junior defensive back Justin McRae has one kickoff return for 18 yards while junior linebacker Tanner Barr has one kickoff return for 11 yards. Junior defensive back Jackson Buskirk has returned four punts for 21 yards while junior defensive end Austin Heisler has one kickoff return for four yards. Senior running back Nick Princiotta and junior wide receiver Trevor Cunningham have each made three tackles on special teams. Freshman running backs Ethan Deater and Angelo Macera have each made four special teams tackles with Deater recovering a fumble while freshman running back Carrington Smith has one special teams tackle and has forced a fumble.
MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have three players closing in on milestones in their careers. Senior running back Roberto Diez became the 25th Greyhound to reach 1,000 career rushing yards versus Ursinus College, and he has 1,425 yards (14th in the record book) on 331 carries with 13 touchdowns in his career. Junior wide receiver Nick Petros is seventh in school history with 1,628 receiving yards, and he needs 372 yards to become the second wide receiver in school history with 2,000 career yards. Petros is ninth in program history with 109 receptions and needs 52 to set the school record, and he is tied for second with 17 career touchdown receptions, just two shy of setting the school record. He is tied for sixth with a 35.8 career punting average on 125 punts (eighth all-time) for 4,472 yards (eighth in school history). Sophomore quarterback Christopher Mills enters the week needing 295 yards to become the eighth Greyhound to throw for 3,000 yards.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are ninth in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 282.3 yards per game, and the squad is tenth in rushing offense with an average of 105.1 yards per contest and seventh in passing offense at 177.1 yards per outing. The Hounds are eighth in the conference in scoring offense at 18.4 points per game, and Moravian is sixth in points allowed at 25.4. Moravian's defense ranks seventh in the Centennial Conference at 377.3 yards allowed per game, and the squad is seventh in rushing defense at 159.8 yards per contest and sixth in passing defense at 217.5 yards allowed. Individually, senior running back Roberto Diez is third in the Centennial Conference at 89.5 rushing yards per contest, and he is sixth in all-purpose yardage at 97.9 yards per game. Junior wide receiver/punter Nick Petros is fifth in the conference in receptions per game at 5.0, tenth in receiving yards per contest at 53.1 and third in punting with an average of 38.3 yards per punt and while sophomore wide receiver Eddie Olsen is ninth in receiving yards per contest at 53.3. Sophomore quarterback Christopher Mills is fifth in the conference in passing yards per game at 197.4, and his sixth in pass efficiency with a 127.0 rating. Junior defensive back Jackson Buskirk is tied for ninth with four punt returns and eighth at 7.4 tackles per contest while sophomore wide receiver Cory Little is tied for fifth with 17 kickoff returns and first in kickoff return average at 33.0. Sophomore linebacker Noah Breidinger is tied for fifth at 8.0 tackles per game while junior linebacker Tanner Barr is tied for ninth at 7.3 tackles per contest. Junior defensive back Renard Nicholson is 14th in tackles at 6.7 per outing while junior defensive end Austin Heisler is tied for seventh with five sacks.
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 DICKINSON COLLEGE: The Red Devils enter the game at 5-3 overall and 4-3 in Centennial Conference action after a 51-21 victory versus Juniata College last week as Dickinson won its third straight contest. Junior quarterback Tim Graham leads the Red Devils on the field having completed 94-of-179 passes for 1,541 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Graham's top targets have been senior wide receiver Daniel Salamone, who has 44 catches for 742 yards and five touchdowns, junior wide receiver Christopher Longo, who has caught 33 passes for 595 yards and five scores, freshman wide receiver Bryce Peterson who has 14 catches for 202 yards, and sophomore wideout Daniel Bathon, who has caught 14 passes for 182 yards and a score. Junior running back Phillip Butler leads the ground attack with 530 yards and seven touchdowns on 101 carries while junior quarterback Robert Geiss has added 294 yards and two touchdowns on 66 attempts, and he is 24-for-56 with two touchdowns and three interceptions throwing the ball. Senior running back Jeremy Walsh has added 282 yards and five touchdowns on 71 carries. Senior Trystin Golowski is 26-for-29 on extra-points and 5-for-7 on field goals with a long of 39 yards while senior Jordan Hollander is averaging 40.0 yards per punt with a long if 59 yards, three touchbacks, 13 fair caught and 11 inside the 20-yard line. Butler has returned 17 kickoffs with an average of 21.2 yards per return while Hollander has 11 punt returns for an average of 9.2 yards. Junior linebacker Brian Snow leads the Dickinson defense with 76 tackles to go with five and a half tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception returned 34 yards, four passes defended and a fumble recovery. Senior linebacker James Turner has contributed 64 tackles with six and a half for loss, one and a half sacks and four passes defended while Hollander, who is also a defensive back, has 45 tackles with four and a half for loss, one sack, three interceptions, nine passes defended and one fumble recovery. Sophomore defensive back Johnny Knight also has 45 stops with three and a half for loss, two interceptions, three passes defended and a fumble recovery while sophomore defensive back Anthony Cicini has added 44 tackles, five tackles for loss, one interception, three passes defended, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Junior defensive back Taj DeFrance has made 30 tackles to go with two interceptions, six passes defended and one fumble recovery while sophomore defensive lineman Jaiden Cruz has 28 stops with five and a half for loss and three sacks. Sophomore defensive lineman Griffin Lundquist leads the Red Devils with four and a half sacks.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Carlisle last fall, 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. 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. 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. Wide receiver Alex Pierce caught four passes for 25 yards while wideout Eddie Olsen had three receptions for 49 yards and fullback Sal Pagano had one catch for three yards. Running back Gerald Grube led the Moravian rushing attack with 51 yards on 13 attempts while Roberto Diez had 22 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Linebacker Noah Breidinger returned after missing two games with injury and led the Greyhounds' defense with 14 tackles and a pass break-up. Linebacker Dallas Owen made 11 stops with a half a tackle for loss and a pass break-up while defensive lineman Shane Mastro had ten tackles with one and a half for loss. Defensive lineman Nick Tone recorded seven tackles with one of Moravian's three sacks and a forced fumble while defensive back Jackson Buskirk also made seven tackles with a blocked extra-point. Defensive back Jacob Kober and defensive lineman Vincent Pianoforte each had five tackles. Linebacker Nick Zambelli had four tackles to go with an interception while linebacker Tim Valentine and defensive back Justin McRae each had four tackles and a pass break-up. Linebacker Austin Heisler and defensive lineman Sean Agar each had a sack in the contest while 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. 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. 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-point 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.