September 4, 2015

Lebanon Valley - Dutchmen Can't Complete Comeback In Season Opener

Lebanon Valley's Winning Touchdown called back!
Annville, PA - For the second year in a row, Franklin & Marshall's defense held off a last second Lebanon Valley comeback attempt to earn a season-opening victory. The Diplomats (1-0) held LVC (0-1) inside their own 10-yard line in the final minute to secure a thrilling 42-37 win under the lights at Arnold Field on Thursday night, Sept. 3.


JR TB Brendon Irving Woolwich, N.J. / Kingsway Regional
After pushing across the apparent go-ahead score with less than a minute left to play, Brendon Irving's touchdown run was called back on a holding penalty. Four plays later, Tyler Cottle's fade pass to the back corner of the end zone was broken up by an F&M defender and the Dips took over on downs with 22 seconds left to play.

After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, LVC's offense finally came to life late in the period when Cottle found tight end Elijah Johnson down the right sideline for a touchdown.

Tailback Jon Jones capped the a four-play, 45-yard Dutchmen drive with a 29-yard rumble to pay dirt with 8:05 left in the first half. Marcus Brown-Dulan's extra-point cut the deficit to 14-13.

JR WR Travis Saylor Dillsburg, Pa. / Northern York
F&M responded with a 10-play, 69-yard drive that featured nine straight runs including a 27-yard touchdown scamper by Taalib Gerald with just over three minutes left in the second quarter.

Cottle completed three passes and rushed for 16 yards on the ensuing LVC scoring drive. Irving finished it off with the first of his two rushing touchdowns, this one from 27 yards out with 1:22 left before the break.

Lebanon Valley grabbed its first lead of the game early in the third when wideout Jeremy De La Cruz hauled in Cottle's 51-yard pass in traffic along the F&M sideline, made a move to free himself, and sprinted into the end zone, completing a very quick three-play, 64-yard scoring drive.

The Dutchmen had a chance to grab the momentum when the Dips lined up to go for it on 4th and goal on their ensuing possession but Magarity sprinted to his right before turning and throwing back across the field to a wide open Bobby Keyes for six.

LVC came right back with an eight-play, 52 yard drive that ended when Brown-Dulan punched his field goal attempt through the uprights to put the home team back in front 30-28 with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter.
On the team's next drive, F&M again converted a 4th down, this time with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Magarity to Andrew DeStefano late in the third.

96 SO OLB Tommy Garner Lititz, Pa. / Warwick
Turnovers on back-to-back possessions hurt Lebanon Valley and aided the Dips in upping their advantage to 42-30 on their ensuing drive early in the fourth quarter.

LVC responded with a balanced, methodical scoring drive consisting of four runs and three passes that culminated when Irving rushed off left end, made a cut back move to get around an F&M defender, and waltzed across the goal line for his second score of the night with 8:14 left play.

Strong safety Kevin Antol came up huge defensively on the next series as his sack of Magarity on 3rd and 5 from the LVC 39-yard line erased any chance of F&M going for it on 4th down. The Dutchmen forced a punt and drove 81 yards in 13 plays but were unable to convert the potential game-winning score.

It Was Over When…
Tyler Cottle's 4th and goal fade pass thrown towards the back right corner of the end zone was knocked away at the last instant by an F&M defender with just 22 seconds remaining to play. F&M took over on downs leading 42-37 and used two quarterback kneel downs to escape Arnold Field with the narrow victory.

Offensive Standout
Jeremy De La Cruz and Brendon Irving – All De La Cruz did in the first start of his career was catch nine balls for 134 yards, including a stellar catch and run in traffic that put Lebanon Valley ahead for the first time just after halftime. Irving? His first appearance after capping his all-America sophomore campaign saw him rush for 146 yards and two scores on just 19 carries (7.7 ypc). Not bad at all.

Defensive Standout
Kevin Antol and Trevor St. Clair – How 'bout the pair of LVC senior captains? Each player made 11 tackles on the night with Antol adding two TFL including the game's lone sack. His fourth quarter safety blitz crushed Matt Magarity and turned a 3rd-and-short into 4th-and-a-mile for F&M, setting up the Dutchmen's last offensive chance late in the contest.

Special Teams Standout
Marcus Brown-Dulan and Spencer Moser – The freshman kicker was perfect in his first collegiate start, finishing 4-4 on extra points and knocking down the game's only field goal from 26 yards out to put the Dutchmen ahead 30-28 in the third quarter. Moser changed field position on both of his punts by averaging 43.0 yards per kick, dropping one punt inside the Dips' 20-yard line, and booting a long of 47.

Best of the Rest
- Tonight's game was Lebanon Valley's first weekday night game at Arnold Field and just the second night game held at the venue since lights were installed in 2012.
- In a game highlighted by its back-and-forth scoring, the two offenses combined for over 1,000 yards with LVC posting 541 and the Diplomats totaling 501.
- Tyler Cottle showed promise in his first collegiate start under center. The sophomore finished 22-36 with 266 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and 42 yards rushing on four attempts.
- Jon Jones averaged a whopping 15.3 yards per carry on the night. He rushed four times for 61 yards and a touchdown.
- Seven LVC wideouts recorded catches against the F&M secondary. Jeremy De La Cruz, Travis Saylor,Corey Keen, Elijah Johnson, Colt Baxter, Ryan Fink, and Mike Cecchini all had at least one reception apiece.
- Dutchmen linebackers Trevor St. Clair, Reid Pavlik, Tom Gallagher, and Tommy Garner combined to make 26 tackles on the night. The secondary was none too shabby either with Kevin Antol, Bryan Ek, Spencer Moser, and Connor Pierce combining for 24 stops.
- F&M went 3-for-3 on 4th down tries, including a second quarter touchdown on a sprint right throwback pass on 4th and goal.
- The Diplomats won the turnover battle 3-1 while the Dutchmen were whistled for the game's only pair of accepted penalties.

Who's Next?
LVC will get eight days' rest before kicking off Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) play at Misericordia on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 12.
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