BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College football teams closes out its 2017 home season on Saturday, November 4 when the Greyhounds host Dickinson College in a Centennial Conference game. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem as the Hounds celebrate Senior Day before the game and Moravian's 2017 Hall of Fame Class at halftime including softball standout Rosanna Azzolino '00; former golfer Brian Bergstol '07; football All-American Jarrod Pence '03; former football player and coach Larry Rosati '42; former women's basketball and women's tennis student-athlete Lynne Grzywacz Webb '99 and former Head Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach Mark Will-Weber. The 2001 women's cross country is also being honored.
THE COACHES: Jeff Pukszyn (Moravian '97) is in his seventh season as Moravian's head coach after ten years as an assistant coach with the program. Pukszyn joined the Moravian staff as a part-time coach in 1997 after a three-year playing career that saw him named to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference First Team in 1994 and 1996. He was also a two-time captain. Pukszyn became part of the coaching staff full-time in 1999 as defensive coordinator and added the titles of assistant head coach in 2001 and special teams coordinator in 2007. In 2015, Pukszyn led the Greyhounds to an 8-3 record and a berth in the inaugural Centennial-MAC Bowl Series while being named both the Centennial Conference and American Football Coaches Association Division III Region 2 Coach of the Year. He has been a part of 244 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 118-125-1 record.
Dickinson coach Brad Fordyce (Springfield '97) is in his first season at the school.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 21st in the series with the Greyhounds leading the series 10-8-2. Moravian recorded a 24-10 victory in Bethlehem last fall, and the Greyhounds posted a 55-38 win in Carlisle in 2016, and a 21-14 triumph in Bethlehem in 2014 while the Red Devils snapped a three-game winning streak in the series by the Hounds with a 31-7 victory in Carlisle in 2013. Moravian's streak included a 21-13 win in Bethlehem in 2012 and 24-12 and 24-16 victories in Carlisle the previous two years.
GREYHOUNDS IN THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE: Moravian joined the Centennial Conference as an associate member in the sport of football in 2007. The Greyhounds were selected fifth in the 2016 Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll while Dickinson was selected tenth.
BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 78 players on the Moravian roster, 31 are freshmen, 18 are sophomores and 13 are juniors. There are 16 seniors on this season's squad, and the Greyhounds return 47 letterwinners and 14 starters.
THE QUARTERBACKS: Freshman Doug Erney earned the starting role after a lengthy quarterback battle during the preseason. He has completed 115-of-198 passes for 1,342 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Erney also has 432 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 94 attempts while being sacked 22 times. Senior Kordell Theadford is the backup this season and has completed both of his pass attempts in 2017 for 11 yards and a touchdown, and he has three carries for 14 yards. Last fall, Theadford completed 23-of-48 passes for 296 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and he added 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 34 carries on the ground.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Junior Eli Redmond leads the squad with 98 carries for 383 yards and a touchdown after posting the fourth 100-yard game of his career when the Hounds hosted Ursinus College, and he has 1,539 career yards and 10 touchdowns on just 297 carries. Junior tailback Frank Dangello has added 42 attempts for 141 yards while freshman Tavion George has 88 yards on 17 carries. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has four carries for 29 yards and senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson has five attempts for 10 yards. Senior fullback Jorden Stout, who has switched from defensive line to the backfield, has six carries for 18 yards while sophomore defensive back Andrew Nieves picked up ten yards after scooping up a blocked punt versus Franklin & Marshall College.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS & TIGHT ENDS: The Greyhounds have had 11 different players catch a pass with the group led by senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson, who has 31 receptions for 359 yards and a touchdown after becoming the tenth player in school history to reach 100 career receptions versus Ursinus College. Freshman wide receiver Ricky Tate has 23 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown while senior tight end Aaron Brown has caught 15 aerials for 271 yards and four scores after a career-best six catches for 137 yards against Susquehanna University that earned him a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week on October 10. Sophomore Alex Pierce has 14 receptions for 175 yards while junior running back Eli Redmond has 14 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown this season. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has caught 10 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Kyle Ferryman has three receptions for 17 yards. Senior fullback Jorden Stout has caught three passes for 19 yards while junior running back Frank Dangello has two receptions for four yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back Tavion George has one reception for three yards while senior wide receiver/defensive back Justice Anderson has one catch for 10 yards while seeing action on both sides of the field.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Moravian has three returners on the offensive line with senior left guard Mark Dignazio and sophomores right tackle Jason Barish and center Brett Poling back on the line. Sophomore left tackle Zack Cregar made his first career start at King's College while freshman PJ Weierbach earned the starting spot at right guard to give the Greyhounds' front five an average size of 6-1, 263. Sophomore Matt Shields came in during the first half of the King's College game at left guard when Dignazio was injured, and Shields also started against McDaniel College and Johns Hopkins University with Dignazio sidelined. Sophomore Tyler Maxsim made his first start of the season against Ursinus College after missing the first three games with an injury. Dignazio returned to the starting lineup last week versus Franklin & Marshall College.
DEFENSIVE FRONT: Junior Nick Tone leads the defensive line with 33 tackles including three and a half tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery while freshman Shane Mastro has contributed 28 stops with five tackles for loss and a pass break-up. Senior Vinny Caporrino has made 25 tackles with five stops for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass break-up while junior Vincent Pianoforte has made 24 tackles with five for loss and a sack this season. Senior Fouad Haddad has contributed 20 tackles including a half a tackle for loss while senior Connor Rooney has added 16 tackles, two and a half tackles for loss and a pass break-up. Sophomore Christian Coia has four tackles with two for loss, and freshman Andrew Stein also has four stops. Senior Jorden Stout contributed two tackles before switching to the offensive side of the ball.
THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Junior Steve Ewald leads the linebackers and the entire Moravian defense with 68 tackles to go along with five tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Junior Dallas Owen has contributed 46 stops with three and a half tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble while freshman Tanner Barr has added 29 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass break-up in his debut season. Sophomore Joseph Milano returned after missing the season opener and has 29 tackles with a half a tackle for loss while freshman Brady Hornbaker has made 24 stops with one and a half tackles for loss, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery in his first collegiate season. Senior Owen Perih has made 15 tackles with a pair for loss while senior La-Ron Smith has added seven tackles this season.
THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Freshman safety Jackson Buskirk, who missed the game at Gettysburg College due to an injury, leads the defensive backs with 61 tackles to go along with a tackle for loss, two interceptions and five passes defended. Junior safety Nick Zambelli has contributed 51 stops, one tackle for loss, one sack, two interceptions, five passes defended, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries while sophomore cornerback Tim Valentine has 42 tackles and a pair of pass breaks up after being a linebacker last season. Senior cornerback/wide receiver Justice Anderson has 35 tackles and five pass break-ups in his first year on defense after three seasons as a wide receiver while freshman cornerback Jalen Richardson has contributed 17 tackles, an interception, two passes defended and a fumble recovery. Junior cornerback Jacob Kober has made 17 stops with one for loss and a blocked punt versus Franklin & Marshall College this fall while sophomore safety Andrew Nieves has 16 stops including two and a half for loss. Freshman cornerback Justin McRae has seven tackles and a pass break-up this season while senior safety Tanner Mish has made two tackles with a half a tackle for loss.
KICKING GAME: Juniors Jon Millerand Kenny Kane are handling the place kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is 15-for-15 on extra-points and 3-for-4 on field goal attempts with a long of 34 yards that won the game at Juniata College with four seconds to play, and he has kicked off 28 times for an average of 52.6 yards with a pair of touchbacks and one successful onside kick. Kane is 2-for-2 on field goal attempts with a long of 23 yards, and he has had his only extra point attempt blocked in 2017. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has punted 33 times for an average of 34.4 yards with a long of 60 yards, 10 fair caught, eight inside the 20-yard line and one blocked, and he also has a pair of fake punts that he has run for 27 yards and a pair of first downs. Senior tight end Aaron Brown has punted 15 times for an average of 34.5 yards with a long of 52 yards, three inside the 20-yard line, one fair caught and one touchback, and Brown has kicked off once on a free kick for 53 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior defensive back/wide receiver Justice Anderson has returned 20 kickoffs for 411 yards while senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson has 10 kickoff returns for 161 yards. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has added four kickoff returns for 78 yards while junior linebacker Dallas Owen has two returns for 25 yards. Junior running back Eli Redmond returned on kickoff for 20 yards while junior linebacker Steve Ewald has one return for 15 yards. Freshman defensive back Jalen Richardson has one return for 12 yards while senior defensive lineman Jorden Stout has one return for 13 yards. Freshman tight end Austin Heisler has made seven tackles on special teams while senior fullback Stanton Santos has five tackles and has recovered a fumble on special teams this fall.
MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have five players closing in on milestones in their careers. Senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson is seventh in career receptions with 117, and he is 14th in receiving yards at 1,381 and needs 62 yards to crack the top 10 all-time. Hudson is tied for fourth in career kickoff returns with 46, and he is eighth with 729 kickoff return yards. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Justice Anderson has 909 receiving yards on 68 receptions and needs 91 yards to become the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 career receiving yards. Junior running back Eli Redmond sits in 13th place in school history with 1,549 rushing yards, and he needs 554 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also tied for seventh all-time with 36 kickoff returns and seventh with 852 kickoff return yards. Senior tight end/punter Aaron Brown needs 986 yards to reach the top ten in career punting yardage. Junior kicker Kenny Kane is tied for ninth in school history with nine career field goals, and he needs four extra-points and one total point to reach the top ten in those categories.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are ninth in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 305.8 yards per game, and the squad is ninth in rushing offense with an average of 136.6 yards per contest and ninth in passing offense at 169.1 yards per outing. The Hounds are ninth in the conference in scoring offense at 16.8 points per game, and Moravian is eighth in points allowed at 30.8. Moravian's defense ranks eighth in the Centennial Conference at 432.8 yards allowed per game, and the squad is sixth in rushing defense at 166.4 yards per contest and tenth in passing defense at 266.4 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are fourth in turnover margin at +0.50 per game with nine turnovers committed and 13 turnovers gained through eight games. Freshman quarterback Doug Erney is ninth in the conference in rushing yards at 54.0 per game, and he is eighth in passing yards per contest at 167.8, eighth in total offense at 221.8 yards per game and sixth in pass efficiency with a 128.7 rating. Junior running back Eli Redmond is eighth in rushing yardage at 54.7 yards per contest while senior defensive back/wide receiver Justice Anderson is seventh in the conference with an average of 20.5 yards per kickoff return. Freshman wide receiver/punter Nick Petros is ninth in the conference in punting at 34.4 yards per punt while junior kicker Jon Miller is tied for first in PAT percentage at 1.000 (15-for-15) and eighth in kick scoring at 3.0 points per game. Freshman defensive back Jackson Buskirk is fifth the conference in tackles per game at 8.7 and tied for eighth in interceptions with 0.29 per game while junior linebacker Steve Ewald is sixth in tackles with 8.5 per contest. Junior linebacker Dallas Owen is 22nd at 6.6 tackles per outing while junior defensive back Nick Zambelli is tied for 24th in the Centennial Conference at 6.4 tackles per game, and he is tied for fourth in fumbles recovered with 0.25 per contest and tied for tenth in interceptions at 0.25 per outing. Sophomore defensive back Tim Valentine is 28th in the conference at 6.0 tackles per contest while sophomore linebacker Joseph Milano is 42nd in tackles at 4.8 per outing. Junior defensive lineman Nick Tone is 44th in tackles at 4.7 per game.
OVERTIME 'HOUNDS: Moravian has played a total of 10 overtime games since the NCAA instituted the rule for the 1996 season and is 7-3 all-time in the extra-session. Five of those ten overtime games have been against Juniata College with the Greyhounds going 4-1 in those games. Moravian's contest in Huntingdon in 2008 marked the first time in the Greyhounds' have needed more than one overtime session in a game. The 2008 season also marked the third year that Moravian has played at least two overtimes games in one season, the other years were 1999 when the Greyhounds played three overtime games and 1997 when Moravian played two overtime contests.
SCOUTING DICKINSON COLLEGE: The Red Devils enter the game at 2-6 overall and 2-5 in Centennial Conference action after a 38-14 loss to Juniata College last Saturday. Dickinson has used three quarterbacks this fall with freshman Robert Geiss completing 80-of-156 passes for 779 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions, junior Billy Burger connecting on 29-of-45 passes for 277 yards and senior Kienan Dixon completing 4-of-14 passes for 25 yards and an interception. The top targets for the trio have been sophomore wide receiver Daniel Salamone, who has 37 catches for 270 yards and a score, senior wideout Kyle Donahue, who has caught 25 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown, and freshman wide receiver Christopher Longo, who has 23 receptions for 306 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jeremy Walsh leads the Red Devils' rushing attack with 473 yards and a touchdown on 135 attempts while freshman running back Phillip Butler has added 200 yards and two scores on 62 carries and sophomore running back Sam Peck has 155 yards on 36 carries. Geiss has run for 127 yards and a touchdown on 70 carries. Salamone has returned 14 kickoffs for 272 yards while senior Ricky Klingerman has 12 kickoff returns for 144 yards. Butler has run back six kickoffs for 132 yards and two punts for 11 yards while sophomore defensive back Jordan Hollander has seven kickoff returns for 109 yards and four punt returns for 16 yards. Dickinson has used three placekickers this fall with sophomore Ethan Fusco making 8-of-9 extra-point and 1-of-3 field goals with a long of 31 yards while sophomore Trystin Golowski is 2-for-4 on field goals with a long of 36 yards and Hollander has made his only field goal attempt of 34 yards. Freshman Connor Langan has punted 47 times for an average of 33.5 yards per punt with a long of 62 yards, 13 fair caught, six inside the 20-yard line and two touchbacks. Sophomore linebacker James Turner leads the Red Devils' defense with 89 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, a half a sack and a forced fumble while senior linebacker Tyler Heisey has contributed 65 tackles with three for loss, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Junior defensive back Matt Butz has 63 stops with two for loss, and interception and four passes defended while freshman defensive back Taj DeFrance has made 46 tackles with one and a half for loss, an interception, 10 passes defended, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Hollander has made 37 tackles with an interception and a forced fumble while junior defensive lineman Thomas Nocka leads Dickinson with four and a half sacks among his five and a half tackles for loss and 27 total tackles.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Bethlehem last fall, quarterback Mike Hayes threw a pair of second half touchdown passes to snap a halftime tie and defensive back Nick Zambelli made a pair of fourth quarter interceptions in the end zone as Moravian posted a 24-10 Centennial Conference victory over Dickinson. The Greyhounds bounced back from a loss at nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins University to remain undefeated at home at 3-0, and the Hounds have won seven straight games at Rocco Calvo Field. Hayes completed 29-of 38 passes for 272 yards as he went over 1,000 yards for the season and 5,000 for his career, now with 1,156 yards in 2016 and 5,054 yards in his career, the fifth Greyhound to reach the 5,000 yards passing milestone. Wide receiver Aaron Hudson had a team-high nine receptions for 64 yards and a score while wide receiver Liam Nolan caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Kyle Ferryman had four catches for 47 yards while wide receiver Justice Anderson added four receptions for 25 yards. Chris Negron led the Greyhounds' rushing attack with his fourth 100-yard game of the season as he gained 104 yards on 23 carries. Negron's 18th career 100-yard game increased his career total to 3,841 yards, just 14 shy of breaking Moravian's all-time record set by Chris Jacoubs. Hayes added 30 yards on eight carries while running back Roberto Diez contributed 22 yards on five attempts. Moravian finished with 430 yards of offense while running 78 plays and controlling the clock for 31:28. For the first time this season, the Greyhounds did not receive the opening kickoff but the defense would force a punt after one first down for Dickinson. Moravian's first offensive series started with a penalty, pushing the Blue and Grey to their own 2-yard line. The Hounds put together a 16-play, 85-yard drive that would end with Kenny Kane connecting on a 27-yard field goal with 7:07 to play in the first quarter. Dickinson punted again after three plays as the Greyhounds took over at their own 26-yard line. Negron had a 15-yard run to start the drive, and Hayes connected with Nolan on a 39-yard catch and run to put Moravian in the red zone. Three plays later, defensive lineman Jorden Stout scored his second touchdown of the season on a one-yard run. Kane's extra-point pushed the lead to 10-0 with 1:57 left in the first quarter. The teams traded punts before the Red Devils started at their own 32-yard line early in the second quarter. Dickinson would drive the 68 yards to the end zone in six plays to cut the Moravian lead to 10-7 with 8:48 left in the second quarter. The squads each punted again before Moravian took possession near midfield. The Hounds moved down to 21-yard line before the drive ended with Diez being stopped short on a fourth-and-one play. The Red Devils took the stop and moved down the field to kick a 24-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to send the teams to the locker room tied at 10-10. The Hounds received the opening kickoff of the second half and moved back in front with a touchdown. Hayes completed four passes on the drive, the final one to Hudson for a 30-yard touchdown. Kane's PAT gave Moravian a 17-10 lead just 2:52 into the third quarter. The teams traded punts on the next four possessions, and Dickinson was threatening to tie the game as the fourth quarter began. However, Zambelli came up with his first interception of the season in the end zone on a second down play in the end zone. The Hounds used the turnover to score the final points of the game. Hayes capped the 80-yard drive with a 39-yard scoring pass to Nolan, who broke a tackle on the way to the end zone. Kane's extra-point pushed Moravian's lead to 24-10 with 10:37 remaining in the game. The Red Devils made one more attempt to score but Zambelli came up with his second interception of the quarter at the goal line and returned it three yards. Negron ran the ball twice and Hayes kneeled down twice to run out the clock for the win. Linebacker Edward Delia led the Moravian defense with 11 tackles including two tackles for loss, half a tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Linebacker Steve Ewald had eight stops and a pass break-up. Zambelli contributed four tackles and three passes defended to go with his two interceptions while linebacker Tim Valentine and defensive back Chris Lott each made four stops with Lott adding a half a sack.