Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Craig Needhammer runs against Wilkes
Wilkes Colonels (1-1, 0-1) vs. #24 Widener Pride (1-1, 1-0)
Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.
Schmidt Stadium

Wilkes University opens its 2013 Middle Atlantic Conference home slate against #24 Widener University at Schmidt Stadium Saturday in Edwardsville, Pa.

Colonels coach Frank Sheptock (Bloomsburg ‘85) enters his 18th year on the Wilkes sideline, racking up a 104-76 (.577) record. With the 104 victories, Sheptock is the all-time winningest coach in school history, passing Colonel legend Rollie Schmidt’s (1962-1981) 90 wins two seasons ago. Sheptock has led the Colonels to two NCAA and seven ECAC playoff berths during his tenure, along with a MAC championship (2006). Wilkes made the NCAA playoffs in 2005 and 2006, going 19-4 overall, including a 42-0 win over Washington & Lee in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Since 1996, Sheptock has coached 12 All-Americans and 133 All-MAC performers.

 Pride mentor Bobby Acosta (Rowan ‘99) enters his first season in 2013 leading the defending MAC Champion. Acosta arrives after five seasons at The College of New Jersey, where he was the offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and tight ends coach. He was responsible for molding one of the area’s top offenses, served as the team’s academic advisor, was its strength and conditioning coach and oversaw video editing. The Lions’ offense flourished under Acosta, especially in 2011 when it went 7-3 and recorded a 27-21 win over No. 6 Montclair State. That squad ended the season averaging 185.5 passing yards per game, 176.7 rushing yards per contest and 24.6 points per game. Acosta also spent two seasons as the tight ends coach with the University of Delaware from 2007-08 as part of a staff that helped develop eventual Super Bowl quarterback Joe Flacco.

This will mark the 29th meeting between the two schools, as Widener holds a 16-11-1 advantage in the series. Widener posted a 90-0 win in Chester, Pa. last season. Prior to last season’s defeat, Wilkes handed Widener a 35-27 loss in 2011, one of only two losses for the Pride that season.

The Colonels will travel to nearby Dallas, Pa. next Saturday to face Misericordia University at1:00 p.m. for the second meeting between the schools in the short series history.

Wilkes will be looking for win number 300 in the program’s 68 years of existence. The Colonels currently boast a 299-300-8 (.499) overall mark heading into today’s contest with Widener.

Going into today’s game against Lycoming, Sheptock’s 104 wins stands as the school’s all-time leader. Sheptock’s 104 career wins has been built up over 17 seasons of work and includes a program-record 11 wins in 2006. He reached the 100-win plateau last season in a 37-27 victory against FDU-Florham on September 29. In 180 career games, Sheptock has a winning percentage of .577.

• Wilkes is 3-2 against Widener over the past five seasons, including a two-game win streak over the Pride in Edwardsville, Pa. (2011 & 2009)

• After a 152-yard performance through the air last Saturday, quarterback Tyler Berntsen needs just 13 more yards to reach 2,500 for his career. Berntsen currently stands ninth all-time on the school’s passing yards list.

• Sophomore running back Patrick Ingulli ran for 33 yards in the game against Lycoming bringing his career total to 709 yards, just 291 shy of 1,000 for his career in just 12 games (59.1 yards per-game).

• Senior All-MAC linebacker Tate Moore-Jacobs was all over the field last Saturday finishing with a game-high 13 tackles. Moore-Jacobs currently has 372 career tackles, 28 short of 400 for his four-year stint in the Navy and Gold. Moore-Jacobs has reached double-digit tackles in 25 of 32 career games.

• Sophomore corner Marcus Leaf returned a fumble 93 yards for a touchdown against Lycoming, marking the third time a Wilkes defender has scored a touchdown since 2010 (Leaf 68-yard interception return in 2012 and Kevin Gerhart 100-yard interception return in 2010).

• The Wilkes ground game stuttered a bit in the loss at Lycoming totaling just 107 yards after going for 263 yards against Morrisville in the opener. The Colonels still rank third in the MAC averaging 185.0 yards per-game on the ground.

• Senior quarterback Tyler Berntsen will look to exploit the Widener defense like former signal-caller and now tight end Alex George did in 2011, the last time the teams played in Edwardsville. George finished with 98 yards rushing and three touchdowns while throwing for 176 yards and two more scores in the Colonels 35-27 victory on September 24.

• Junior tight end Ryan Casey enjoyed a career day at Lycoming posting five catches for 91 yards and one score, a 26-yard pass from Berntsen as Wilkes tried to rally in the fourth quarter.

• The Colonels defense has been using a bend but not break style allowing 30.0 points per-game, but using turnovers and situational stops to get off the field and setup the Wilkes offense.

• Wilkes has been winning the turnover battle thus far this season collecting two interceptions and forcing six fumbles, all being recovered by the Colonels. Teams are also just converting 46 percent (11-24) of the time on 3rd down and 17 percent (1/6) on fourth down.

• Tate Moore-Jacobs is the league’s top tackler averaging 13.5 stops per-game. His 13 total solo stops rank second in the MAC, while his 14 assisted tackles lead the conference.

• Widener freshman quarterback Seth Klein, coming off a record-setting day Saturday in the win against LVC, was picked Middle Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the Pride.

• Klein broke the school and conference’s single-game record for most completions as he was successful on 40-of-51 attempts for 392 yards and a touchdown in Widener’s 35-28 league win over Lebanon Valley. He bested the mark of 37 completions set by Mike Lomas against Lycoming on November 8, 2003 and his passing yards were the 12th-highest total in school history. It has been a standout beginning for
Klein, who has completed 66-of-86 passes for two touchdowns, 581 yards and a .767 passing percentage.

• Preseason All-American wide receiver Anthony Davis has been Klein’s top target posting 21 receptions for 226 yards and one score.

• Although the Widener offense seems to be rolling along putting up high-powered numbers, the defense has struggled allowing 30.5 points per-game and over 519.5 yards of total offense to opposing teams, ranking second to last in the MAC, only behind winless Misericordia (554.5 yards per-game).

• Brandon Harper was named to the MAC Honor Roll this past week after leading the Pride in tackles, recording nine with eight solos to go with a forced fumble. He paces the squad with 21 tackles this season, 15 solos and two forced fumbles.

• The defense this season has yielded just 119 yards of offense per-game on the ground and forced four turnovers. The pass defense of the Pride has been suspect at best allowing over 400.5 yards per-game through the air (14.1 yards per-catch).