Saturday, September 2, 2017

F&M Spoils Lebanon Valley's Football Season Opener

Photo courtesy of Lebanon Valley Sports Information
When it rained, it poured for Lebanon Valley in its 48-7 loss to Franklin & Marshall in the season opener at a miserably damp Arnold Field on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 2.

The Flying Dutchmen (0-1) struggled to get anything going offensively, while the defense was overwhelmed by an efficient F&M offense that clicked on all cylinders behind the performance of quarterback Tanner Erisman.

Erisman accounted for five Diplomat touchdowns, including four through the air, and finished as the game's leading rusher with 55 yards and a score.

The F&M defense set the tone right off the bat when Joe Granahan sacked LVC quarterback Tyler Sterner on the game's first play. After a three-and-out by the Dutchmen, the Dips (1-0) marched 57 yards in eight plays and scored the contest's first points when Erisman connected with wideout K.J. Pretty for a 23-yard touchdown at the 9:06 mark of the first quarter.

The ensuing LVC drive stalled and disaster struck when punter Spencer Moser tried to pick up a first down following a bobbled snap. He was cut down at his own 26-yard line and Erisman found receiver Dillon Alderfer for a TD on the very next play.

F&M added three touchdowns in the second quarter before Sterner finally picked up Lebanon Valley's first first down with less than two minutes remaining in the half. The Dutchmen managed just 10 total yards of offense in the first half, while the visitors scored touchdowns on all five of their first-half possessions.

The Diplomats added another score on their second possession of the third quarter and the back-breaker came when K.J. Boston picked off Sterner's lob at the F&M 10-yard line, weaved through traffic, and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown with six seconds remaining in the period.

LVC opened the fourth quarter with its best drive of the afternoon; one that ended with receiver Adam Domovich hauling in a pass from quarterback Brett Cohen and just tapping his toes inbounds in the left side of the end zone. The 24-yard score capped an eight-play, 58-yard drive.

Turning Point
While F&M made a statement with a sack on the game's opening play and a touchdown on the ensuing drive, it wasn't until a bobbled snap on an LVC punt that led to the second Diplomats' score of the first quarter that things started to get away from the Dutchmen in a hurry.

Inside the Numbers
- Franklin & Marshall racked up 333 yards of total offense compared to just 121 for the Dutchmen.
- LVC just couldn't get the run game going and was held to 32 yards on the ground (1.1 YPC).
- The Diplomats won the turnover battle 2-1.
- Lebanon Valley finished 1-13 on third-down conversions, while F&M was a perfect 3-3 on fourth-down tries.
- Tanner Erisman shined for the visitors, finishing 20-24 for 212 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He also rushed nine times for 55 yards and a score.
- Tyler Sterner went 7-18 for 63 yards and an interception for LVC, while Brett Cohen was 2-5 for 24 yards and a touchdown in a reserve role.
- Paxson Hayes was the team's leading rusher. He gained 26 yards on four carries.
- Ryan Fink and Jeremy De La Cruz were the only Dutchmen to finish the game with more than one reception. Jon Jones' 26-yard catch and run was the team's longest of the day.
- Adam Domovich's TD reception was the first of his collegiate career.
- Linebacker Tom Gallagher was LVC's leading tackler with five stops. Fellow LB Tyler Hodges made a game-high 3.5 tackles-for-loss.
- Defensive end Nick Newton recorded a strip sack and recovered the fumble deep in F&M territory in the third quarter.
- Defensive tackle Jacob Whitfield blocked an extra-point, while Gallagher and safety Cale Bruso each broke up one pass.
- Defensive lineman Joe Granahan was the Diplomats' top tackler with five stops, including a pair of sacks. He also recovered a fumble.
- In all, Franklin & Marshall's defense made seven tackles-for-loss on the day.

Who's Next?
The Dutchmen open MAC play on the road at Wilkes on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 9.

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