Sophomore running back Joe Tegan ran for a 31-yard touchdown off the left side with just 1:19 remaining in the game to lift the Moravian College football team to a 24-17 Centennial Conference win over Franklin & Marshall College on Homecoming at Rocco Calvo Field Saturday afternoon.
Tegan's scored snapped a 17-17 tie just 57 seconds after the Diplomats had tied the game on a field goal. Tegan finished with 42 yards on six carries in the game.
Moravian improves to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the Centennial Conference while F&M falls to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in conference action as the Diplomats returned to action after their bye week.
The Greyhounds received the opening kickoff but ended up putting after three plays. The first two plays of the drive were completions from sophomore quarterback Matt Johnston to senior wide receiver Shawn Sylvainus as Sylvainus became the seventh player in school history to catch 100 passes.
The Diplomats also went three-and-out on their first possession,
and a 25-yard punt return from Moravian senior wide receiver Alex
Hersch set the Greyhound offense up at midfield.
On the first play of the drive, Johnson found Hersch for a 36-yard completion to get into the red zone, and four plays later, sophomore kicker Ian Heck gave the Greyhounds a 3-0 lead when he connected on a 23-yard field goal attempt with 9:33 remaining in the first quarter.
The teams traded three-and-punt possessions before F&M took over at its own 40-yard line with 4:52 left in the opening quarter. The Diplomats put together a 16-play, 69 yard drive that featured a trio of fourth down conversions. Junior quarterback John Harrison connected with junior wide receiver Jarrell Diggs on a two-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-goal play to get F&M on the scoreboard. Freshman kicker Chris DeStefano made the extra-point for a 7-3 Diplomat lead with 11:33 left in the second quarter.
Moravian picked up two first downs on its next possessions before turning the ball over on downs at the F&M 33. The squads then traded punts before the Diplomats started a drive on their own 16-yard line. On third-and-19, Harrison was intercepted by Moravian sophomore linebacker Jake Hildebrand at the 16-yard line, and Hildebrand returned the ball for a touchdown. Heck's extra-point put Moravian ahead 10-7 with 4:04 remaining in the first half.
The Diplomats would move down to the Moravian 22-yard line late in the second quarter before turning the ball over on downs. The Greyhounds took a knee on the final play of the first half to head to the locker room with a 10-7 lead.
F&M opened the second half with possession but punted after three plays.
Moravian would need just four plays to extend it lead. On second-and-five, Johnson faked a handoff and found a hole off the right side and ran for 59 yards to the F&M eight-yard line. Two plays later, Johnson went off the left side and scored on a six-yard touchdown run. Heck's PAT put the Greyhounds ahead 17-7 with 10:42 left in the third quarter.
The Diplomats punted from near midfield on their next possession while Moravian turned the ball over on downs. F&M did the same while the Greyhounds would take the ball into the red zone late in the third quarter. However, after a pair of penalties, Moravian turned the ball over on downs at the F&M 20-yard line early in the final quarter.
Franklin & Marshall then put together a ten-play, 80-yard drive to pull within three points. The Diplomats' first two first downs on the drive were by Moravian penalties, and Harrison capped the possession with an eight-yard touchdown pass to junior Colton Weaver. DeStefano added the extra-point to pull F&M within 17-14 with 10:56 to play.
Moravian went just three-and-out on the next possession before senior Eric Dziengelski punted for the fourth time in the game.
The Diplomats moved from their own 39-yard line down to the Moravian eight before settling for a 25-yard field goal from DeStefano to tie the contest at 17-17 with 2:21 to play. The drive was another long one on the clock for F&M, which held the ball for just over 38 minutes in the game.
Moravian started from its own 31-yard line with Johnson hitting Sylvainus for a 15-yard completion on first down. Johnson then had runs of 13 and ten yards to move the ball to the F&M 31-yard line. Tegan then ran off the left side for the winning score and his second touchdown of the season. Heck's extra-point made the lead 24-17 with 1:19 to play.
F&M senior wide receiver Jay Ridinger had a long kickoff return to set the Diplomats offense up at the F&M 44-yard line. Harrsion was sacked on the first play by Greyhound senior defensive lineman Allen Petros, who had two and a half sacks in the game and moved into second in school history with 34-and-a-half tackles for loss. Harrison threw a short completion on second down before a pair of incomplete passes turned the ball over to Moravian with 35 seconds remaining.
The Greyhounds ran just 49 plays for 308 yards with Johnson, who was in just his third game as the starting quarterback after starting the first four games of the year on the other side of the ball at strong safety, completed 12 of 22 passes for 145 yards, and he led Moravian with 104 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Sophomore running back Rocco Del Priore added 20 yards on seven attempts while Sylvainus caught five passes for 35 yards to move into sixth in school history with 103 receptions and sixth in receiving yards at 1,583. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Onushco added four receptions for 62 yards.
F&M ran eight plays in the game but was limited to just 281 yards. Harrison completed 34 of 51 passes for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception but he was sacked four times. Ridinger caught nine passes for 97 yards while junior running back John Kaschak had eight receptions for 51 yards. Kaschak also led the Diplomats rushing attack with 57 yards on 23 carries. Diggs caught eight passes for 43 yards and a score.
Junior defensive back David Wacker led the Moravian with a game high 11 tackles to go with two pass break-ups and a tackle for loss while Hildebrand, junior linebacker Douglas DiMattia and senior defensive back Thomas Dailey each had nine stops. Dailey had a tackle for loss while Hildebrand had his interception return for a touchdown and a total of two passes defended. Senior defensive back Daniel Burley had seven stops for Moravian with one for loss while freshman defensive back Zach Szoke, junior linebacker Evan Bauer and senior linebacker Philip Bortz each made six tackles and had a pass break-up. Bortz also had a sack while Petros finished with five tackles to go with his two-and-half sacks and a pass break-up. The Moravian defense had four sacks in the game and had entered the game with just two sacks in the previous six games this season.
Sophomore linebacker Sam Massaro led the Diplomats' defense with seven tackles while junior linebacker Donald Wiezik had six stops. Junior defensive back Kurt Rogers, junior defensive back Ty Savastio, freshman defensive back Phil Barbieri and senior linebacker Phil Gray each made five tackles for F&M with Gray adding a tackle for loss and a pass break-up.