Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Preview of Wilkes vs FDU-Florham Football Game

A File Photo
Wilkes University returns to action after its bye week and heads to Madison, N.J. to take on FDU-Florham at Robert T. Shields Field for the Devils homecoming game. Both teams are looking for their first Middle Atlantic Conference win of the season. Before the bye week the Colonels suffered a 30-7 home loss to Widener. FDU-Florham is also coming off a bye week. They lost 48-21 at Lycoming College in their most recent game.

Trey Brown (Colorado ‘93) is in his fourth season at the helm of the Wilkes football program following his hiring prior to the 2014 season. In just three years, Brown has coached 22 Colonels who earned All-MAC honors including first team tight end Jeremy Hartman in 2014, defensive end Jason Ugwu in 2015 and tight end Garrett Armstrong in 2016. Under Brown’s guidance, the Colonels offense ranked in the top five in several offensive statistical categories including passing yards and plays per-game. In a game at Delaware Valley in 2014, the Wilkes offense ran 113 plays, a Division III regulation game record. In 2016, the Colonels recorded one of the biggest upset victories in the program’s history when it bested No. 12 Stevenson University 38-35 on the road. Brown came to Wilkes after four years serving as the quarterbacks and special teams’ coordinator at Muhlenberg. In his role with the Mules, Brown was responsible for coaching the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and special teams as well as the installation of the pass game. Prior to his time at Muhlenberg, Brown spent four seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Lehigh University.

Brian Surace (Gettysburg ‘95) is the fourth head coach in program history and is now in his seventh season at the helm of the Devils program. In 2015 sophomore wide out Malik Pressley became the program’s first-ever Middle Atlantic Conference Player of the Year after setting the conference’s record for receptions in a season (89). Previously, he coached Mike Mancino who is second on the Devils all-time leading tackles list. Surace arrived at FDU from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was the Offensive Coordinator for two stints (1999-2004, 2010). Surace was the Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach at Northeastern University from 2005-2009.

This will be the 34th meeting between the two schools as Wilkes holds a 29-4 advantage in the series. FDU-Florham has posted back-to-back wins including 32-28 win at Schmidt Stadium last season. The last Colonels win was by a 52-21 score at home in 2014.

Wilkes will continue conference road action when they travel to Albright College in Reading, Pa. for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, October 28.

- Wilkes is tenth in the MAC in scoring offense (10.2), tenth in total offense (245.0), ninth in rushing offense (82.7), and ninth in passing offense (162.3).

- Freshman quarterback Wade Rippeon has started the past four games. He is third in the conference with a 60.1 completion percentage. For the season Rippeon is 92-of-153 for 693 yards with three touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Fellow freshman quarterback Nicholas Geimer completed his first collegiate passes against Widener going 11-of-17 for 86 yards with one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 71 yards and a touchdown.

- The top target in the Wilkes passing game is Pre-season All-American and All-MAC selection Garrett Armstrong. The senior has 34 receptions for 304 yards and two touchdowns from the tight end position. His 34 catches rank eighth in the MAC. Armstrong surpassed 1,000 career receiving yards against Widener. He now has 105 receptions for 1,028 yards and 10 touchdowns in his Wilkes career.

- Senior wide receiver Aaron Coyne leads the Colonels with three touchdown receptions which is also ranked in a tie for tenth in the conference. Junior Jeff Steeber has made 21 catches for 195 yards and has added 13 carries for 64 yards. He leads the Colonels with 454 all-purpose yards. Freshman Nick Yanik made a career-best two catches for 37 yards against Widener.

- Sophomore running back Shane Deemer is the leading rusher for Wilkes with 59 carries for 180 yards. He is 12th in the MAC in rushing yards per game with 36.0. Freshman Sincere Williams is second on the team among running backs with 25 carries.

- Wilkes is eighth in the MAC in scoring defense (39.8), ninth in total defense (452.7), tenth in rushing defense (261.0), and fourth in passing defense (191.7).

- Sophomore linebacker Bud Moyer’s 67 tackles are third in the MAC. He tied his season-high with 15 tackles against Widener. Moyer leads Wilkes with 1.5 sacks. Junior linebacker Lukas Wood is fourth in the conference with 61 tackles. Senior safety Jacob Brook is tied for fifth with 56 tackles. He made 12 total stops against Widener including eight solo and had an interception.

- Senior defensive back Isaiah Robinson is tied for eighth in the conference with 8.0 tackles-for-loss. His 51 tackles have him tied for tenth in the MAC. Robinson is also tied for second in the conference with two forced fumbles. He had two interceptions against Misericordia including one that he returned for a touchdown.

- Junior linebacker Michael Murphy made a season-high 12 tackles last time out. Sophomore defensive lineman Derek Schneider recorded a sack and Moyer and sophomore defensive lineman Vinnie Werner combined for a sack against Widener.

- The Devils rank ninth in the MAC in scoring offense (16.8), seventh in total offense (320.0), tenth in rushing offense (62.2) and fourth in passing offense (257.8).

- Sophomore quarterback Jagger Green set school-records last time out against Lycoming with 52 completions and 67 attempts. He threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His 178 completions are first in the MAC and his 62.2 completion percentage is second.

- Junior wide receiver Mike Panzarino set a new MAC record with 24 receptions against Lycoming. He leads the conference with 51 receptions and is sixth with 443 yards.

- Senior wide receiver Malik Pressley was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 when he set the conference mark with 89 receptions. He is currently fifth in the conference with 39 catches and 447 yards.

- FDU-Florham ranks ninth in the MAC in scoring defense (42.8), seventh in total defense (427.2), eighth in rushing defense (178.3), and eighth in passing defense (248.8).

- Junior linebacker Isaiah Turner leads the MAC with 75 tackles and was an Honorable Mention All-MAC selection a season ago.

- Robert Planter, a junior defensive lineman, leads the Devils with 5.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks and has forced a fumble.

- Junior linebacker Eddie Palmadessa is second on the team with 42 tackles.

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