November 21, 2013

2013 ECAC Southwest Bowl: Albright College Lions (7-3) vs. Juniata College Eagles (7-3)

The Albright College football team hosts a postseason game for the second time in its history, as the 7-3 Lions welcome Juniata (7-3) to Shirk Stadium for the 2013 ECAC Southwest Bowl.

When: Saturday, November 23
Where:  Shirk Stadium
Start Time: 1:00 p.m.

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While the Lions are no stranger to the postseason, they will be hosting a playoff game for just the second time in school history. Albright has made four trips to the NCAA tournament, going 3-4 on the road and making the quarterfinal round on each occasion.
The Lions are also 6-2 in ECAC bowl games, but only one of those (a 1997 shutout of Wesley College) was at home.

Albright Football Postseason Results:
1975 NCAA Quarterfinals: WIDENER 14, Albright 6
1976 NCAA Quarterfinals: ST. LAWRENCE 27, Albright 6
1995 ECAC South-Atlantic Bowl: Albright 20, SALISBURY STATE 10
1996 NCAA First Round: Albright 31, WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON 17
1996 NCAA Quarterfinals: LYCOMING 31, Albright 13
1997 ECAC North-West Bowl: ALBRIGHT 10, Wesley 0
2001 ECAC South-Atlantic Bowl: Albright 49, WESLEY 35
2004 ECAC South-Atlantic Bowl: Albright 54, MCDANIEL 10
2007 ECAC South-Atlantic Bowl: MONTCLAIR STATE 17, Albright 13
2008 ECAC South-Central Bowl: Albright 42, MONTCLAIR STATE 14
2009 NCAA First Round: Albright 35, ALFRED 25
2009 NCAA Second Round: Albright 27, DELAWARE VALLEY 3
2009 NCAA Quarterfinals: MOUNT UNION 55, Albright 3
2011 ECAC Southeast Bowl: SUNY-CORTLAND 14, Albright 0
2012 ECAC Southeast Bowl: Albright 38, FRANKLIN & MARSHALL 34


In a crazy first minute of the fourth quarter, Albright erased a 14-point deficit in 14 seconds and went on to win the 2012 ECAC South-East Bowl, 38-34 over Franklin & Marshall.

After F&M punched it in for a 28-14 lead on the opening play of the fourth quarter, junior Daniel McNair took the ensuing kickoff back 88 yards for the touchdown. The Diplomats then fumbled Albright's kickoff on their own four-yard line, where it was recovered by Sean Cunningham on the one. Ty Hughes carried it in on the next play, giving the Lions two touchdowns in 14 seconds (and a combined three touchdowns for the two squads in a 28-second span).

The action was far from over, as F&M's Paul McGann got behind the Lion defense on the next play from scrimmage but was stripped. Cunningham came up with the ball for his second fumble recovery in a span of 18 seconds. Albright quarterback TJ Luddy completed a tough third down pass to Caleb Shilko to the four-yard line, and then snuck it in with 8:33 left to put the Lions ahead 35-28.


Albright earned a big Senior Day win last Saturday, knocking off rival and 22nd-ranked Lebanon Valley College 40-25 in Shirk Stadium. LVC still left with quite the consolation prize- earning the school's first-ever NCAA tournament bid after Delaware Valley's comeback win over Widener. The Dutchmen ended as co-MAC champions with Lycoming.

Senior linebacker Matt Filosa led an Albright defense that forced four turnovers, including three that were crucial to the victory. He returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter, and then caused a fumble on the opening play of the third quarter. Filosa finished with a team-high six tackles (five solo). Classmate Drew Peterson intercepted his eighth pass of the season, and also had a pass breakup.

The Lions rushed for 216 yards as a team, including 130 from fifth-year senior Ty Hughes (34 carries). Hughes also threw a 65-yard TD pass and added a fumble recovery on special teams. Also contributing in the air and on the ground was quarterback TJ Luddy (173 passing yards, two passing TDs, 80 rushing yards).

Albright struggled to get momentum early, but turned it around in a flash with two touchdowns off turnovers in an 11-second span of the second quarter. With the game tied 7-7 and Albright punting, Sean Cunningham jarred the ball loose and Hughes picked it up and brought it all the way down to the two yard line. Luddy then hit a wide-open Devron Clark (112 yards, 2 TDs) in the end zone. On the very next play from scrimmage, Filosa intercepted Brian Murphy's pass and took it all the way for a 20-7 Albright lead.


Albright is 33-22-1 all-time against Juniata, a former Middle Atlantic Conference team. The sides first played in 1920, and have not met since a 48-14 Albright victory in 2006.


John Marzka, in his seventh season at Albright, holds a career mark of 52-25 and recently became the second-winningest coach in school history. Tim Launtz is 11-19 in three seasons at his alma mater, Juniata, and was just named the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year.


Senior running back Ty Hughes had 195 yards of total offense last weekend, plus a 32-yard fumble return on a punt play. He rushed for a score, threw for a 65-yard TD, and came two yards short of a special teams TD as well on his fumble recovery. He needs 48 yards today to reach 1,000 on the season, and 73 yards to hit the 2,000-yard career mark. Albright WRs Daniel McNair (867 yards, 8 TDs) and Devron Clark (818 yards, 4 TDs) both finished the regular season ranked among the top-five receivers in the MAC.


Senior safety Drew Peterson intercepted yet another pass last weekend, and is currently one of three players tied for first in the nation with eight picks. He has the most return yardage of that group, with 133 yards and one touchdown off INTs. Senior linebacker Matt Filosa was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week after forcing a fumble and returning a pick-six on Saturday vs. Lebanon Valley. Don Gould (9.5), Matt Pattison (7.0) and Tyler Hamlet (6.5) are all ranked in the top-eight in the MAC for sacks.


Sophomore kicker Daniel Sobolewski is tied for fourth in the nation in field goals made, with 14. He has also booted 17 touchbacks on kickoffs. Senior TJ Luddy leads the MAC in punting (39.9 ypa), with 15 inside the 20 and just two touchbacks. Drew Peterson needs 31 more kick/punt return yards to hit 1,000 for his career.


The Eagles list a spread set with four wide receivers as their base offense- two of those starting receivers are freshmen (DaVon Mitchell, Aaron O'Brien). Quarterback Ward Udinski is in his third season as a starter; he has thrown for 2088 yards, 16 TDs, and eight interceptions this year, and also leads the team in rushing with 662 yards and nine scores.


The Eagles have allowed 24.0 points per game, and 15 points per game over Juniata's current three-game win streak. Linebackers make up the team's top four tacklers, including leaders Kevin Gorman (75 tackles) and Ethan Wilt (74 tackles). Senior and 2012 All-ECAC lineman Brandon Felus leads the squad with 10 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.


Junior kicker Ken Kysor has made 9-of-13 field goals (69%) and 31-of-32 extra point attempts. Punter Jonah Plymire has averaged 38.7 yards on 42 attempts, with nine inside the 20 and just three touchbacks.


The Middle Atlantic Conference football All-Conference honors were released this week, and Albright led all teams with 16 selections. That total is second-highest in school history, trailing only the 1997 team that earned 17 selections. Lebanon Valley had 15 players named to the team, while nobody else totaled more than 12.

Senior TJ Luddy was named to the first team at both quarterback and punter. He becomes just the second Albright player ever to earned multiple first team positional selections in the same season, joining C/DT George Gamber in 1966 (several other Lions have earned first team honors on different units, but did it in separate seasons).

Other first team selections were senior tight end Eric Wade, redshirt-senior center Josh Barndt, senior safety Drew Peterson and sophomore kicker Daniel Sobolewski.

Named to the second team: senior wide receivers Daniel McNair and Devron Clark, redshirt-senior defensive tackles JT Harding and Matt Pattison, senior linebacker Matt Filosa, senior cornerback Levi Myers and junior cornerback Chris Stephens.

Honorable mention honors went to senior offensive lineman Matt DiGiacomo, redshirt-senior running back Ty Hughes, and redshirt-senior defensive end Don Gould.

Albright was bolstered this season by the return of seven fifth-year seniors, and five of those players (Barndt, Harding, Pattison, Gould, Hughes) concluded their careers with All-Conference seasons.

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