Football Edged at Muhlenberg, 28-21

Football Edged at Muhlenberg, 28-21

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall football team once again gave a team receiving recognition in the national polls all it could handle, but came up just one score shy in a 28-21 defeat at Muhlenberg. The Diplomats (4-4, 3-4 CC) went up 14-7 at the half on the strength of two second quarter scores, but the Mules (5-3, 5-2 CC) answered with 14 of their own during the third before holding over the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

First Quarter (Muhlenberg 7, Franklin & Marshall 0)

The Franklin & Marshall defense allowed just one score during the entire opening half against a high-powered Muhlenberg offense. However, that lone touchdown drive came on the opening drive as the Mules went up 7-0 early. Muhlenberg also marched into F&M territory on its second drive, but the Diplomat defense tightened as Muhlenberg fumbled a fourth down snap.

Second Quarter (Franklin & Marshall 14, Muhlenberg 7)

The Mules gained just 43 yards during the rest of the half, with 33 of those coming on the final drive with the Diplomats looking to keep the play in front of the defense late in the half. That lockdown effort allowed the offense a chance to gain its footing. Taking the ball into Muhlenberg territory for the first time in the second quarter, F&M went on a nine play, 56 yard drive following the fumble that was capped by Aaron Rascoe's one yard touchdown run. That score marked his eight touchdown run and 11th time in the end zone this season.

With the score now tied, Franklin & Marshall's defense got the ball right back with three straight incomplete passes. Rascoe picked up a big first down to get the drive going on third-and-short before Ty Tremba found Gary Lewis for his first of two 53-yard touchdown receptions. That score put the Diplomats up 14-7 with 10:17 remaining in the opening half and the Diplomats would hold that lead into the third quarter as the Mules achieved just one first down during the final three drives before the half.

Third Quarter (Muhlenberg 21, Franklin & Marshall 14)

The Diplomats took their opening drive of the second half back into Muhlenberg territory, but were forced to punt after a holding penalty created a fourth-and-long situation. Two drives later, Muhlenberg hit a big play of its own as Amari Dunn ran for 49 yards to the endzone. That would be the first and two consecutive Muhlenberg scoring drives as a 42-yard pass on the ensuring drive led to an eventual three-yard QB keeper touchdown as the hosts regained a 21-14 advantage.

Fourth Quarter (Muhlenberg 28, Franklin & Marshall 21)

Franklin & Marshall continued to move the ball, but got stalled out again around midfield early in the fourth. The hosts eventually went up 28-14. In F&M territory, the Diplomats appeared to have the Mules facing a third-and-long, but were called for a crucial roughing the passer penalty that gave Muhlenberg a first down before it hit a 22-yard touchdown pass just two plays later.

The Diplomats again took the ball into Muhlenberg territory and had their drive down the four before a sack on third down and incomplete pass brought an end to that drive with 2:22 remaining in regulation. The F&M defense once again came through with a three-and-out and the Diplomats got the quick strike they needed as the rookie connection of Tremba and Lewis hooked up again for a 53-yard touchdown pass that made the score 28-21 with 1:40 left in regulation. Unsuccessful on the onside kick, Franklin & Marshall came up with yet another three-and-out from its defense. The Diplomat offense took over at its own 20 after a punt and got the ball past midfield with first down receptions from Jack O'Hearen and Rascoe, but the final three plays of the game all fell incomplete in the 28-21 final score.

Key Performers & Statistics

Muhlenberg finished the game with a 432-392 advantage in yards. The Diplomats had the advantage in the air as Tremba completed 19 of his 40 passes for 320 yards, headlined by a pair of 53-yard strikes which led to Lewis racking up 106 yards in the receiving game. O'Hearen finished the afternoon with a team-high six catches for 57 yards, while Jack Sutton added five more catches for 80 yards. Rascoe led the rushing attack with 38 yards on nine carries, averaging 4.2 yards per attempt in addition to 35 more yards in the receiving game for 101 all-purpose yards.

Six Diplomats finished with at least five tackles, highlighted by Jacob Hille's 10 stop afternoon that featured nine solo efforts, with his one assisted play coming in the Mules' backfield. The Diplomats registered five tackles with loss, with 2.5 of them coming from reigning Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week Jeff Decker. Kyle Jones got to the quarterback for the team's only sack of the afternoon.

Up Next

Franklin & Marshall will return home for its final game inside Shadek Stadium this year when the Diplomats welcome Moravian to Lancaster. That game, which will also be Senior Day for the team, will get underway with a 1 p.m. kickoff against the Greyhounds. Moravian and F&M are currently in a three-way tie with Dickinson for fifth place in the Centennial Conference standings heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.