MU football to host Military Appreciation Day
The Mansfield University Mountaineers will try and capitalize on last week's thrilling fourth quarter performance against Post when they host CSFL leading Army this Saturday.
Kickoff for the Military Appreciation Day contest starts at 1 p.m. with all military veterans and active service personal admitted to the game for free by showing their military ID at the gate.
The game will be streamed live by ESPN Radio Williamsport with a link available for the broadcast and live stats at GoMounties.com.
Mansfield almost pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in school history when the Mountaineers rallied from a 35-7 deficit midway through the third quarter to come within a two-point conversion of sending the game into overtime after scoring on a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Pepper to Jeremy Estremera with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
Army remained undefeated at 4-0 on the season with a 22-0 win at Cornell last week. The Black Knights held the Big Red to 102 yards in total offense including negative four yards on the ground.
Mansfield is coming off its best offensive showing of the season. The Mountaineers racked up 390 yards in total offense with 321 of those yards coming through the air, 270 of them in the second half. Pepper, a sophomore, had the most productive day of his career completing 22-of-42 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 46 yards.
Freshman Kurt Logan had a breakout day catching six passes for 65 yards including a touchdown. Sophomore Joe Bucek pulled down five catches for 67 yards and Estremera had four receptions for 49 yards and a TD.
The improving offense line of seniors Josh Stone and Blaine Wainwright along with juniors Kyle Sadler, Brendan McDermott and Jared Berken continued to show their steady improvement allowing just one sack against Post.
Senior linebacker Jason Winters topped the defense with a game-high 11 stops against Post including one for a loss. Jake Myers recorded 10 tackles with freshman Jean-Marc Bazile and sophomore Evan Ruggles each being credited with a sack.
The Mountaineers rank sixth in the CSFL in scoring after the first four games of the season averaging 17.8 points per game. Mansfield is also sixth in total offense generating an average of 244.2 yards per contest.
Defensively MU ranks seventh in scoring defense (33.5 ppg) and total defense (376.5 ypg).
Mansfield has excelled in special teams midway through the season ranking first in the CSFL in punt returns (15.4 ypr) and second in kickoff returns (19.3 ypr). The Mountaineers rank first in the league in fourth-down conversions at a perfect 4-for-4 and are third in third-down conversions being successful 33.9 percent of the time.
Pepper ranks fourth in passing yardage averaging 122.0 yards per outing, hitting 43-of-85 passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Joe Bucek is sixth in receptions per game catching 12 passes for 134 yards on the season. Jake Myers has a conference best 40 tackles on the season while Winters and Jonathan Keller rank among the top 12 in stops.
Junior Kirk Haskill has been the most successful kicker the CSFL this season hitting both his field goal attempts and seven of eight extra point tries.
The Mountaineers will be facing the toughest defenses and the most potent offense in the CSFL in defending league champion Army. The Black Knights have given up just five touchdowns on the season while scoring a league best 17 touchdowns to average a CSFL-high 34.0 points per game.
Army ranks second in total offense (389.0 ypg) and total defense (234.5 ypg). The Black Knights have the top-rated passing offense in the league (256.5 ypg) while racking up a CSFL-best 23 sacks on the season.
Junior quarterback James Wartski tops the league in passing, completing 72-of-132 attempts for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been intercepted just once on the season. Junior Tucker Van Dyke has a team-best 15 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Marqus Burrell leads the rushing attack, and ranks sixth in the league, averaging 63.8 yards per game.
Senior Patrick Franco and Jake Steckler top the defense with 28 and 27 tackles respectively while Dylan Doty has a league-best 10 tackles for a loss including six sacks.
Mansfield makes a first-ever trip to Franklin Pierce next Saturday.