October 8, 2015

Lebanon Valley Football Vs FDU-Florham on Homecoming Weekend Preview

Photo courtesy of LVC Athletics
Annville, PA - Fresh off a dramatic 41-38 overtime victory over Lycoming, the Dutchmen look to make it two in a row with a win over FDU-Florham. LVC has won eight consecutive Homecoming contests.

Five Things us should know
  1. Lebanon Valley is 2-2 in Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) play and is coming off a thrilling 41-38 overtime win over Lycoming last week.
  2. Quarterback Tim Pirrone is the reigning MAC and ECAC Offensive Player of the Week. The sophomore accounted for all five of the team's touchdowns against Lyco.
  3. Junior running back Brendon Irving leads the MAC with 688 rushing yards and 137.6 yards per game on the ground.
  4. The Flying Dutchmen have won 10 consecutive games against FDU-Florham.
  5. LVC has won seven games in a row on Homecoming.
No Place Like Homecoming
LVC is aiming for its eighth straight Homecoming win on Saturday. The Class of 2016 would be only the sixth in program history to win all four of its Homecoming games, joining the previous four senior classes and the class of 1977.

Homecoming Sale
Fans can wear the same authentic Nike merchandise worn by Lebanon Valley's athletic teams thanks to the official online store of LVC Athletics at GoDutchmen.com/store. Be sure to take advantage of LVC's special Homecoming sale this weekend by using the promo code "WELCOME" to get $15 off all orders of $75 or more. Check out 100 percent customizable shirts, hats, outerwear, and more.

Homecoming Court
As is tradition, LVC will crown its Homecoming king and queen at halftime. The Homecoming court includes a football player - senior fullback Bobby Conlon - and has plenty of other athletic connections, featuring women's basketball player Bridget Rothert and team manager Amanda Ringenbach, baseball's Glenn Dietrich, and Lucas Gienow, who has sung the national anthem prior to a number of athletic events. Aileen Koch, Hannah Reedy, Hannah Stone, Dave Tull, and Vinny Tranchitella comprise the rest of this year's court.

Series History
Saturday's game is the 19th meeting all-time ... LVC leads the series 13-5 and is carrying a 10-game win streak that stretches back to 2005 into the contest ... This will be the 13th consecutive meeting since the series resumed in 2001 ... The first meeting was Oct. 7, 1983 in Madison, an 18-17 LVC win ... Coach Jim Monos is 11-1 against the Devils ... The Dutchmen are 25-9 against New Jersey teams all time.

Last Year
Lebanon Valley scored 28 unanswered points to end the game as the Dutchmen earned a 63-21 win on the road. LVC (3-5, 3-4 MAC) broke open a tight 21-14 game at the half with 42 points in the second to keep FDU-Florham (0-8, 0-7 MAC) winless.Brendon Irving notched his third consecutive 100-plus yard game, rushing for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman Jon Jones added a pair of fourth-quarter scores. Tyler George caught two touchdowns, while Darryl Sweeper and Travis Saylor had one each to produce a four-touchdown day for quarterback Brian Murphy. Tyler Laudeman added a 25-yard pick-six in the second half. Defensively, D.J. Johnson and Trevor St. Clair had first-half interceptions, and Adam Soltys pounced on a fumble caused byConnor Pierce's hit. Laudeman and Kevin Antol had second-half picks as LVC was plus-four for the game in the rain. Andrew Livingston had two sacks off the edge, and Alex Beamesderfer had a sack and a forced fumble.

Last Week
Tim Pirrone's quarterback sneak from one-yard out sealed Lebanon Valley's heart-stopping, come-from-behind 41-38 overtime victory over Lycoming on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon at Arnold Field. The sophomore do-it-all athlete earned redemption following a fumble with less than two minutes to play that was scooped up by Lyco's Wyatt Entz and returned for a 47-yard touchdown to give the Warriors (1-4, 1-3 MAC) their first lead of the game. Pirrone and the rest of the Flying Dutchmen (2-3, 2-2 MAC) snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when the quarterback shook off back-to-back sacks and hooked up with a diving Travis Saylor on fourth-and-18 for 38 yards deep in Lycoming territory with less than a minute remaining. Pirrone rolled out and hit Kyle Zimnik for the game-tying touchdown in the left corner of the end zone three plays later. Marcus Brown's extra-point attempt hit the left upright and fell through to give LVC new life heading into overtime. The Warriors were forced to settle for a 38-yard field goal on their opening possession of the extra session after Trevor St. Clair blew up quarterback Chase Whiteman with a bone-crunching sack on a 3rd and 4. Lebanon Valley used a roughing the passer penalty, a pair of four-yard Brendon Irvingrushes, and Pirrone's quarterback keeper to move the ball to the one-yard line. Two plays later, Pirrone capped the team's most dramatic victory of the season with his punch-in. Six different players in Saylor, Zimnik, Irving, Corey Keen, Gary Wise, and Elijah Johnson caught passes on the day, while linebackers Steve McNeal and Tommy Garner each made six stops with five solo tackles.

Pirrone Earns MAC and ECAC Honors
LVC sophomore quarterback Tim Pirrone is the reigning MAC and ECAC South Offensive Player of the Week. After primarily returning kicks and playing wide receiver through the season's first four games, Pirrone made his first career start under center for the Flying Dutchmen in a thrilling 41-38 overtime win over Lycoming last Saturday. The versatile athlete went 17-for-29 through the air for career-highs of 206 yards and four touchdowns with a player efficiency rating of 156.9. He added 15 carries for 39 yards, including the game-winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak from one-yard out in overtime. Pirrone accounted for five touchdowns and showed off his clutch gene when he completed a fourth-and-18 pass for 38 yards when trailing 35-28 with less than a minute remaining in the game before throwing the game-tying touchdown pass two plays later.

Saylor's Grab Nominated for MAC Play of the Week
Travis Saylor's game-saving reception on fourth-and-18 with less than 50 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter against Lycoming was nominated for the MAC's Play of the Week honor. With the Dutchmen trailing 35-28, the junior wide receiver broke away down the right sideline and fully extended to make the grab with a Warrior defender draped on his back in front the visiting bench at Lyco's nine-yard line. LVC scored the game-tying touchdown two plays later.

Irving Leading the Pack in the MAC
Lebanon Valley junior running back Brendon Irving leads the MAC with 688 rushing yards and 725 all-purpose yards. He's also tops in the league with 137.6 rushing yards and 145 all-purpose yards per game averages. Among running backs who've carried the ball more than 50 times, he leads the conference with a 6.5 yards per carry average.

The Streak
In addition to his status as the MAC's top rusher, Irving is in the midst of an impressive streak of ten games with 100-plus rushing yards dating back to last season. The 2014 USA College Football All-American's most recent outing against Lycoming saw him rush 29 times for 117 yards after rushing 16 times for 115 yards at Widener the week prior. He carried the ball 23 times for 120 yards against Stevenson after rushing 19 times for a career-high 190 yards despite playing for just three quarters against Misericordia in week two. In the season opener against Franklin & Marshall, he scampered for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. He posted 186 yards and a score in the 2014 season finale against Albright, a career-high 188 yards rushing at Lycoming last season, 135 yards and two touchdowns last fall in a win over FDU-Florham, 149 yards on the ground and three scores in a win over Wilkes, and his streak began against Misericordia last fall when he posted 181 yards and two touchdowns in LVC's 44-16 Homecoming victory over the Cougars.

The Beast
Lebanon Valley mike inside linebacker Trevor St. Clair has done a little bit of everything for the Dutchmen defense this fall. The team captain leads the squad in tackles with 36, including 26 solo stops and three tackles-for-loss. His first sack of the season came last weekend when he crushed Lycoming quarterback Chase Whiteman on a crucial third-and-short inside the LVC red zone during the Warriors' first overtime possession. Lyco was forced to kick a field goal and the Dutchmen offense scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing drive. St. Clair ranks tied-for-sixth in the MAC and tied-for-second on the team with two interceptions. The fifth-year senior has broken up two additional passes and recovered a fumble this fall.

LVC Accolades
A number of LVC players have been recognized by various organizations for their individual performances so far this season:

Freshman K Marcus Brown – MAC Football Special Teams Player of the Week (9/7)
Senior SS Kevin Antol – D3football.com Team of the Week (9/8)
Sophomore QB Tim Pirrone – MAC Football Offensive Player of the Week (10/4)
Sophomore QB Tim Pirrone – ECAC South Football Offensive Player of the Week (10/5)

Noting LVC's Offense
LVC posted its highest single-game point total of the season in a 41-38 victory over Lycoming last week. The Dutchmen are averaging 29.2 points and 402.6 yards per game so far this fall. Lebanon Valley has leaned on a solid offensive line and racked up 251.4 rushing yards to go along with 151.2 yards through the air per outing. Brendon Irving has been consistent on the ground, averaging 137.6 yards per game with 10 consecutive 100-yard rushing performances dating back to 2014. Tim Pirrone has emerged as the team's top quarterback, throwing for 406 yards and five touchdowns to go along with three rushing touchdowns and a 140.4 efficiency rating. Travis Saylor is averaging 17.1 yards per reception, Jeremy De La Cruz has the team's lone 100-yard receiving effort this season, and Kyle Zimnik and Gary Wise pulled in their first touchdown catches of the year last Saturday. LVC is looking to cut down on turnovers after committing 18 through the first five games.

Noting LVC's Defense
The Dutchmen defense is allowing 26.2 points and 400.6 yards per game to this point in the season. Opponents have averaged 186.6 rushing yards and 214 passing yards per contest with just five of the 14 touchdowns the unit has surrendered coming on the ground. Linebacker Trevor St. Clair is the team's leading-tackler with 36, including three tackles-for-loss, and has added a pair of interceptions, a sack, and a fumble recovery. Safety Kevin Antol has made 27 stops with three for loss to go along with a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Reid Pavlik, Tom Gallagher, and Tommy Garner join fellow linebacker St. Clair as top-five tacklers on the team, while defensive end Andrew Livingston is the team's leader in sacks with two. Defensive back Ricky Fegginsranks tied-for-fourth in the MAC with three interceptions, while fellow corner Bryan Ek has picked off two passes and Spencer Moser has one. The unit has forced 13 turnovers on the year; eight interceptions and five fumbles.

Noting LVC's Special Teams
LVC's special teams had been nearly perfect until a week ago when the unit allowed its first kickoff return for a touchdown against Lycoming on Saturday. Spencer Moser is averaging more than 37 yards per punt with a long of 50 yards. He's also pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line on eight occasions, including three times against Lyco. Kicker Marcus Brown is a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals with a long of 28 yards and Nick Newton's kickoffs are traveling an average of 52.3 yards. Special teams aceTim Schumacher leads the team with two fumble recoveries.

Scouting FDU-Florham
FDU-Florham is off to a solid start as the Devils are 2-2 and 1-2 in MAC play. Prior to last week's 40-7 setback to Delaware Valley, FDU-Florham played three close games, winning two of them by a combined eight points. The team is averaging 24.5 points per contest, but is allowing more than 30 per game. The Devils are averaging just 119.5 yards per outing on the ground but have averaged 191.5 passing yards through four games. Anthony Ognibene is the team's leading-rusher with 302 yards, while Tyler Maurer and Nicholas LaVecchia have combined to throw for 738 yards this fall. Malik Pressley leads the team with 440 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, while fellow wideouts Esaun Mobley and Tyler Adams have both crossed the 100-yard mark. Chris Fitzgerald is the team's leading-tackler with 38, Jaleel Tyson has made a team-high two interceptions, and Nick Galletta leads the team in sacks with three. FDU-Florham is plus-one in turnover margin, having forced nine and committed eight.

Defending Pressley
The Dutchmen secondary will be tested this weekend when Malik Pressley, the MAC's leading-receiver, pays a visit to Annville. In addition to topping the league in total yards (440) and touchdown grabs (7), the sophomore is averaging 110 yards per game and more than 14 yards per catch. He was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Week and to the D3football.com Team of the Week after hauling in 15 receptions for a program-record 309 yards and four touchdowns in a week one win over TCNJ.

Who's Next?
The Dutchmen have their bye coming up next weekend. LVC gets back to conference play at Wilkes on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
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