ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall spoiled Muhlenberg's homecoming with a 17-7 Centennial Conference (CC) win at Scotty Wood Stadium. The Diplomats (5-2, 4-2 CC) overcame a slow start to hand the Mules (5-2, 5-1 CC) their first league loss of the year.
Behind the running of Terrance Dandridge, Muhlenberg statistically dominated in the first half. Dandridge piled up 99 yards on 12 first-half carries, including eight on a touchdown carry that capped a 99-yard drive, the first drive over 75 yards against F&M this year. Dandridge's score made it a 7-0 game. Muhlenberg piled up 230 yards of offense in the first half.
John Troxell's halftime speech must have been a good one.
The first Muhlenberg possession of second half ended in disaster. Sam Massaro blocked a punt and won the scramble for the loose ball in the back of the end zone for his second touchdown of the season. Massaro's score made it a 10-7 game and shifted the momentum for good.
The blocked punt was the second of the day for F&M.
Cameron Budde blocked a punt early in the second quarter, setting F&M up on the Mules' 34. A Jarrell Diggs first down pass to Jay Ridinger gave F&M first and goal from the ten, but the Mules held F&M to a 23-yard field goal from Chris DeStefano.
After Massaro turned the tide the Diplomats' offense caught the wave of momentum, scoring on the next possession on a 14-play, 87-yard drive. The Diplomats extended the drive on fourth down in Muhlenberg territory with a fantastic snag by a well defended Ridinger. That catch set up John Harrison's touchdown pass to Peter Gumas that made it 17-7.
Muhlenberg responded with a drive deep into F&M territory, but on fourth and two Donald Wiezik came up with a sack to stall the drive. Wiezik killed another Muhlenberg drive in the second half with back-to-back pass breakups at the line. Phil Barbieri ended the next drive's fourth and ten attempt on the F&M end with a well-timed downfield pass breakup.
The Mules were 0-for-5 on fourth down attempts in the game. Massaro led the defensive lockdown in the second half. He finished the game with 10 tackles and a sack. F&M limited Dandridge to 46 more yards in the second half.
Ridinger led the Diplomats offense with a career-high 11 receptions and 113-yards. It is his fourth 100-yard performance of the season and the seventh of his career. F&M managed just 243 yards in the win.
The Diplomats return to action next Saturday for Homecoming 2010. Kickoff against McDaniel is set for 1:30 p.m.