Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wilkes Football Preview vs. Stevenson

A www.MACfb.com File Photo
Wilkes University returns home for Senior Day and its final home game of the season when it welcomes in Stevenson University to Schmidt Stadium on Saturday. The Colonels are coming off a 26-23 road loss to Albright while Stevenson suffered a home setback to Widener by a 20-14 score last Saturday. The Mustangs were ranked No. 18 in the preseason and had been receiving votes in the D3football.com Top 25 Poll through the first three weeks of the season.

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.

Ed Hottle (Frostburg State ‘99) enters his seventh season at Stevenson in 2017. In just six years, Hottle has built the Mustangs into a contender on a regional and national level. In 2016, Stevenson won its first eight games and captured its first Middle Atlantic Conference championship with an 8-1 conference record. The Mustangs appeared in the NCAA field for the first time and finished 9-2 overall. Hottle was named the ECAC Division III South and MAC Coach of the Year. Stevenson finished the year ranked No. 20 in the final D3football.com poll and No. 22 in the final AFCA poll.

This will be the seventh meeting between the two schools, with the Colonels holding a 4-2 advantage in the series. Wilkes upset No. 12/14 Stevenson 38-35 last season in Stevenson, Md. and opened the series with the Mustangs by taking the first three games from 2011-13.

Wilkes closes out the 2017 season with the 22nd annual Mayor’s Cup game at King’s College on Saturday, November 11 at 12:00 p.m.

- Wilkes is tenth in the MAC in scoring offense (14.4), tenth in total offense (276.4), seventh in rushing offense (112.3), and ninth in passing offense (164.1).

- Freshman quarterback Nicholas Geimer made his second career start last Saturday against Albright. He rushed 30 times for 171 yards and a touchdown and also threw for a second touchdown. In his two starts he has rushed 59 times for 271 yards. Fellow freshman quarterback Wade Rippeon started the previous four games. On the season Rippeon is 92-of-153 for 693 yards.

- The top target in the Wilkes passing game is Pre-season All-American and All-MAC selection Garrett Armstrong. The senior leads the team with 49 receptions for 449 yards and four touchdowns from the tight end position. His 49 catches rank sixth in the MAC. Armstrong set a career-high with 11 receptions two weeks ago against FDU-Florham. He now has 120 receptions for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns in his Wilkes career.

- Last week wide receiver Jeff Steeber made five catches for 40 yards and also ran five times for 35 yards. He leads the team with 545 all-purpose yards. Senior wide receiver Aaron Coyne is second on the team with 27 receptions and three touchdowns. Freshman Nick Yanik has caught a touchdown in two straight games. Sophomore tight end Justin Deihm made his second career catch against Albright.

- Sophomore running back Shane Deemer is the leading back for Wilkes with 76 carries for 223 yards and one touchdown. Junior running back Jacob Kadis rushed eight times for a career-high 36 yards two weeks ago against FDU-Florham and has 22 carries for 79 yards on the season.

- Wilkes is tied for ninth in the MAC in scoring defense (39.3), ninth in total defense (451.3), ninth in rushing defense (198.9), and eighth in passing defense (252.4).

- Sophomore linebacker Bud Moyer’s 80 tackles are second in the MAC and junior linebacker Lukas Wood is third with 72 tackles. Both Moyer and Wood recorded two sacks last week against Albright as the team combined to sack the Lions quarterback six times.

- Senior safety Jacob Brook is sixth in the conference with 66 tackles. Senior defensive back Isaiah Robinson has a team-high 8.0 tackles-for-loss. He had two interceptions against Misericordia including one that he returned for a touchdown.

-Senior defensive back Ian Brown had a career-high eight tackles and also had a strip-sack to give Wilkes the 23-16 lead last week against Albright. Sophomore defensive lineman Vinnie Werner was able to fall on the fumble for the touchdown.

- The Mustangs rank third in the MAC in scoring offense (29.1), third in total offense (398.0), eighth in rushing offense (91.1) and first in passing offense (306.9).

- Senior quarterback Dan Williams leads the MAC with 2,294 yards passing and has a 19-8 touchdown/interception ratio. He was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Week when he threw for a school-record 396 yards against Misericordia.

- Senior wide receiver Preston Addo is second in the conference with 870 yards receiving and is tied for the MAC lead with eight receiving touchdowns. He was the MAC Special Teams Player of the Week after he returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown against FDU-Florham. Fellow senior wide receiver Devin Salisbury is second in the MAC with 60 receptions. He has 516 yards and four touchdowns.

- The Stevenson rushing attack is led by junior Isaiah Austin. He is 11th in the conference with 292 rushing yards and has a 4.2 yards-per-carry average.

- Stevenson ranks third in the MAC in scoring defense (20.5), third in total defense (311.0), third in rushing defense (128.8), and third in passing defense (182.3).

- Senior linebacker Cory Pietrzyk was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday for his 13 tackle and one interception game in the Mustangs loss to Widener. He is fourth in the MAC with 12.5 tackle-for-loss.

- Junior linebacker Ashton Leschke was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week the week prior to Pietrzyk. He made eight tackles, had two half-sacks and forced a fumble in the Mustangs 26-23 win against Albright.

- Junior defensive back DJ Broxton is second in the conference with 11 pass breakups and tied for second with four interceptions.

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