October 3, 2017

Wilkes Football hosts Widener at Homecoming Game

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Wilkes University returns home for its Homecoming game and welcome in Middle Atlantic Conference foe Widener University to Schmidt Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Colonels are coming off a 34-7 loss at Lycoming last week. The Pride enter after a 28-20 home win against Lebanon Valley.


THE HEAD COACHES
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Trey Brown (Colorado ‘93) is in his fourth season at the helm of the Wilkes football program following his hiring prior to the 2014 season. In just three years, Brown has coached 22 Colonels who earned All-MAC honors including first team tight end Jeremy Hartman in 2014, defensive end Jason Ugwu in 2015 and tight end Garrett Armstrong in 2016. Under Brown’s guidance, the Colonels offense ranked in the top five in several offensive statistical categories including passing yards and plays per-game. In a game at Delaware Valley in 2014, the Wilkes offense ran 113 plays, a Division III regulation game record. In 2016, the Colonels recorded one of the biggest upset victories in the program’s history when it bested No. 12 Stevenson University 38-35 on the road. Brown came to Wilkes after four years serving as the quarterbacks and special teams’ coordinator at Muhlenberg. In his role with the Mules, Brown was responsible for coaching the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and special teams as well as the installation of the pass game. Prior to his time at Muhlenberg, Brown spent four seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Lehigh University.

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Mike Kelly (Bluffton ‘80) is entering his fourth season as Widener’s head football coach. He brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to the university. The 2014 season was one for the record books, as Kelly became the first coach in program history to finish his first regular season undefeated (10-0). Kelly improved the unbeaten mark by extending his winning streak to 12 straight games by earning two NCAA postseason victories before eventually falling in the “Elite Eight” to end the season with a 12-1 ledger. For his efforts, Kelly was named the Middle Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year as well as the ECAC Division III South Co-Coach of the Year. Last season 12 players were named to All-Conference teams, including four on the All-MAC First Team defense.

THE SERIES
This will be the 33rd meeting between the two schools as Widener holds a 20-11-1 advantage in the series after winning the last five meetings. The Pride posted a 25-23 victory in Chester, Pa. last season. The last Wilkes win came in 2011 with a 35-27 Homecoming win.

UP NEXT
Wilkes will have a bye week and then return to the road to face FDU-Florham on Saturday, October 21 at 1:00 p.m. in Madison, N.J.

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SCOUTING THE WILKES OFFENSE (SPREAD)

- Wilkes is tenth in the MAC in scoring offense (10.8), tenth in total offense (247.8), ninth in rushing offense (80.4), and ninth in passing offense (167.4).

- Freshman quarterback Wade Rippeon took over the starting role the third week of the season. He is second in the conference with a 60.6 completion percentage. For the season Rippeon is 86-of-142 for 642 yards with three touchdowns and nine interceptions. He rushed the ball a career-high 17 times for 34 yards last week against Lycoming. Fellow freshman quarterback Nicholas Geimer rushed six times for 41 yards last week and went 0-of-2 passing.

- The top target in the Wilkes passing game is Pre-season All-American and All-MAC selection Garrett Armstrong. The senior has 29 receptions for 262 yards and two touchdowns from the tight end position. His 29 catches have him fifth in the MAC. Armstrong reached 100 career receptions with his third catch last week against Lycoming. He now has 100 receptions for 986 yards and 10 touchdowns in his Wilkes career.

- Senior wide receiver Aaron Coyne leads the Colonels with three touchdown receptions which is also ranked in a tie for seventh in the conference. Junior Jeff Steeber has made 18 catches for 175 yards and has added 10 carries for 47 yards. He leads the Colonels with 408 all-purpose yards. Sophomore Austin Krauss caught a career-best three passes last week against Lycoming.

- Sophomore running back Shane Deemer scored the first rushing touchdown of the season last week for Wilkes. He now has 52 carries for 162 yards after missing the opening week. Deemer is tenth in the MAC in rushing yards per game with 40.5.

SCOUTING THE WILKES DEFENSE (3-4)

- Wilkes is tied for eighth in the MAC in scoring defense (41.8), ninth in total defense (462.0), tenth in rushing defense (280.6), and fourth in passing defense (181.4).

- Junior linebacker Lukas Wood is second in the MAC with 53 tackles and fifth with 26 solo tackles. Sophomore linebacker Bud Moyer led the team with eight solo stops and picked up his first sack of the season against Lycoming. He ranks third in the conference with 52 tackles. Senior safety Jacob Brook is tied for sixth with 44 tackles.

- Senior defensive back Isaiah Robinson is fifth in the conference with 7.5 tackles-for-loss after having three last week. His 42 tackles have him tied for eighth in the MAC. Robinson is also tied for the conference lead with two forced fumbles. He had two interceptions against Misericordia including one that he returned for a touchdown.

- Junior Jordan Styles led all Wilkes tacklers with nine against Lycoming. He provided the first interception of the season for the Wilkes defense when he picked off Delaware Valley in week three. He tied a career-high with 12 tackles against Misericordia and has 35 total tackles on the season.

SCOUTING WIDENER OFFENSE (TRIPLE SHOT)

- The Pride rank seventh in the MAC in scoring offense (23.6), sixth in total offense (344.0), sixth in rushing offense (101.0) and fifth in passing offense (243.0).

- Sophomore Graham Jespersen quarterbacked Widener to a 28-20 victory over Lebanon Valley last week with three touchdown passes and 317 passing yards.

- Sophomore running back Chris Randle is fourth in the conference with 284 rushing yards on his 59 carries. He has gone over 50 rushing yards four times this season.

- Senior wide receiver Montrell Hicks-Taylor is fourth in the conference in receiving yards with 22 receptions for 465 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore James Gillespie also has 22 catches and is eighth in the MAC with 336 receiving yards.

SCOUTING WIDNER DEFENSE (MULTIPLE)

- Widener ranks second in the MAC in scoring defense (12.6), third in total defense (307.8), fifth in rushing defense (129.2), and third in passing defense (178.6).

- Junior defensive back Jordan Powell won the MAC Football Defensive Player of the Week after the Pride’s win over FDU-Florham in week two. He posted two defensive scores in the third quarter and had 3.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, two pass breakups, and an interception. He leads the MAC with 10 pass breakups.

- Senior defensive lineman Casey Kerschner leads the MAC with six sacks and is tied for fourth in the conference with 46 tackles and second with 11 tackles-for-loss. Junior defensive lineman Vince Char leads the conference with 11.5 tackles-for-loss.

- Senior linebacker Joe Fox is tied for sixth in the conference with 44 tackles.

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