Mounties hope to return to winning ways when Mansfield hosts Franklin Pierce for Senior Day Saturday
The Mansfield University sprint football team returns to Karl Van Norman Field for the final time this season when the Mountaineers host CSFL newcomer Franklin Pierce Saturday afternoon.
The 1 p.m. start is also Senior Day with seniors Douglas Bauer, Brandon Couse, Cody Croasdale, Justin DiMatteo, Matt Maciejewski, Eudene Parson, Nick Rutherford, Troy Taylor and Mike Wang honored in pregame ceremonies.
The game will be streamed live at GoMounties.com by Ian Catherine of ESPN Radio Williamsport.
Mansfield will be looking to get back into the win column after dropping a 48-7 decision at Navy. In that game, the Mountaineers trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and had stopped Navy on consecutive three-and-outs before the skies opened up with a monsoon of biblical proportions that changed the momentum of the contest.
Franklin Pierce is in its first season in the CSFL and playing an abbreviated schedule that does not include Army and Navy. The Ravens had a bye last week after recording their first-ever victory with a 21-14 win over Princeton. They lost 26-21 to Cornell and 24-20 to Penn earlier in the year.
Mansfield opened the game at Navy with a 22-yard reverse by freshman Casey Huff before scoring on a 17-yard touchdown strike from freshman quarterback Ben Pepper to Huff.
The Mountaineers were plagued by poor field position all night with all but two of Navy's scoring drives starting from inside the Mansfield 30 yard line. Navy ran 73 plays to Mansfield's 40.
Mansfield's offense continues to feel the effects of a series of injuries that includes losing the top two quarterbacks and leading rusher along with other starters this season. The Mountaineers currently rank seventh in the CSFL in total offense averaging 137 yards per game and are fifth in team defense giving up an average of 364 yards per outing over the first five games of the season.
Freshman Ben Pepper has been the starting quarterback since the Mountaineers lost veteran signal-callers Mike Doyle and Mike Maniscalco in consecutive games. Pepper has completed 23-of-57 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown this season while being intercepted four times. Three of those interceptions came last week at Navy.
Mansfield's receiving corps has been led by sophomore David Wallace and freshman Casey Huff with 20 and 12 catches respectively. Sophomore Jeremy Estremera has nine receptions on the season for 64 yards.
The Mountaineers lost freshman running sensation John Brockington, who still ranks in the top five of the CSFL in rushing, in the Penn game with fellow freshman Ishmil Bullock-Logan filling in.
Because of the injuries to the offense, the veteran Mountaineer defense has been forced to carry the burden for much of the season.
Junior linebacker Jake Myers ranks among the CSFL tackle leaders with 48 stops on the season with senior defensive lineman Justin DiMatteo right behind him with 47 tackles along with 2.5 sacks. Senior defensive back Mike Wang has been in on 45 tackles and has an interception on the year while sophomores Jared Shipos and Tim Carr each have 31 tackles. Freshman Anthony Colon and senior Cody Croasdale have combined for 7.5 sacks on the year.
Sophomore Shawn Green is averaging 33.7 yards per punt.
Franklin Pierce has been impressive in its inaugural season in the CSFL. The Ravens, under head coach Pete Ewald have a 1-2 mark on the year with games remaining against Mansfield and Post. Ewald was head coach at Post before moving over to start the program at Franklin Pierce this season.
The Ravens are averaging 286.3 yards per game offensively behind freshman quarterback Tyler Mathews who has completed 40-of-82 passes for 542 yards and four touchdowns while being intercepted three times.
His favorite target has been fellow high school teammate Michael Holdridge with 15 receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Jahlil Dean is a big-play threat, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. DJ MacDonald is the top rusher averaging 61.7 yards per game.
Defensively, Pierce is allowing an average of 318.7 yards per game and is led by Connor Rogowsky who has 26 tackles and 2.5 sacks over three games.
Mansfield closes out the 2012 campaign at Cornell next Friday evening.