BETHLEHEM, Pa. – One of the most mundane plays in any football game – the punt – turned out to be one of the most exciting for Franklin & Marshall. A fake punt kept F&M's first scoring drive alive in the first quarter, and a blocked punt led to the go-ahead score in the fourth, as Franklin & Marshall handed Moravian a 14-7 setback in Centennial Conference (CC) play Saturday afternoon.
The win is the third out of the last four games for F&M as it improved to 3-4 overall with a 3-3 mark in conference play. Moravian fell to 1-6 overall and 1-5 in the CC.
F&M struck first with a touchdown in the first quarter. The Diplomats put together a 16-play, 68-yard, drive that shaved 9:34 off the clock. The drive was kept alive when E.J. Schneider faked a punt and found Paul McGann for a 12-yard hookup on fourth-and-five. McGann then found himself on the receiving end of a two-yard pass from John Harrison in the endzone with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Greyhounds answered to tie game at 7-7 with a touchdown in the second quarter. C.J. Billera broke off a 28-yard jaunt to wrap up a nine-play, 79-yard drive with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
F&M had a chance to add six to the board in the third quarter. The Diplomats started out on the Moravian 32 and put together a nine-play drive to the one. On third and goal, Stephen Kircher forced the ball out of Lamont Jackson's arms and the Greyhounds recovered it in the end zone for a touchback.
The Diplomats scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth when John Harrison's four-yard strike to Peter Gumas gave F&M a 14-7 lead. The score was set up whenLou Carothers blocked a punt with just under the ten minutes to play. Carothers scooped the ball up at the Moravian four to set up the one-play, four-yard touchdown drive.
The game was a battle of field position with 16 punts between the two squads. E.J. Schneider won that battle, averaging 35.8 yards per punt with a long of 61 yards. Schneider's punts constantly pined the Greyhounds down in their own on territory and the F&M defense kept them there, picking up 13 tackles for a loss throughout the game.
Brendan Wengerter spearheaded the Diplomats defense with team-high 10 tackles (6 solo, 4 assists). Wengerter picked up 1.5 tackles for a loss, forced a fumble and picked off a pass.
C.T. Marsh ended with seven stops and half a sack. Marsh is a half sack shy from tying the school's career sack record of 25.5 set by Matt DeChamps '92
John Kaschak racked up 49 yards on the ground while Schneider finished with 39 rushing yards. Schneider went 4 of 9 through the air for 43 yards.
Harrison picked up 37 passing yards and two scores on 8 of 11 passing. McGann hauled in seven passes for 41 yards to lead the Diplomats' receiving group.
The Diplomats return home next weekend when F&M hosts Susquehanna at 1 p.m.