Diplomats Dominate Aggies; Win Southeast Bowl
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – E.J. Schneider and Frank Strumolo combined for five touchdowns to lead Franklin & Marshall to a 38-14 win over Delaware Valley in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southeast Bowl Game. The Diplomats improved to 7-4 while the Aggies dropped to 7-4.
Schneider completed 22-of-25 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns and added another 67 on 12 rushes to earn Most Valuable Player honors. He also became the new king in the Centennial Conference (CC), breaking Hewitt Tomlin's total offensive yards in a season record. Tomlin, from Johns Hopkins, had 3,337 yards and Schneider finished the year with 3,378.
The Diplomats dominated the entire game and jumped out to an early 7-0 edge when Strumolo ran it in from 15 yards out at 6:52 in the first quarter to cap off a 13-play, 71-yard drive that took 8:08 off the clock. Strumolo put the Diplomats up 14-0 nine seconds into second quarter when he scored on an eight yard run at 14:51.
Del. Val. looked to get its offense in gear on its next possession with a 60-yard drive, but the Aggies could not connect on a 30-yard field goal. F&M turned the ball over on its next series, but the defense stepped up when Brian Velasco picked off Aaron Wilmer on the third play of the ensuing the possession.
F&M made the best of its opportunities in the first half scoring on four of its five first half drives, including the last two. Schneider made the best of Velasco's picked on the very next play when he found Paul Koehler for a 67-yard pitch-and-catch to give F&M a 21-0 advantage.
The defense forced a Del. Val. three-and-out and the Diplomats took over on their own 12. F&M marched 88 yards down the field on eight plays and Schneider found Jack Gallagher on a 29-yard strike to give F&M a 28-0 halftime lead.
F&M's defense continued its dominance in the second half and forced the Aggies to another three-and-out on the first series of the third quarter. The Diplomats took the ball on their on 35 and drove 65 yards in 4:39 before Schneider hooked up with Tim Muller to give F&M a 35-0 lead at 8:04.
Kyle Schnuberth gave the home fans a glimmer of hope when raced 61 yards to the end zone on the first play of the Aggies' next possession to finally break the shutout and make it a 35-7 game with 7:43 left in the third.
F&M countered by continuing to eat up as much clock as possible and put together a 14-play drive that ate up the remainder of the third quarter and ended when Connor Ryan drilled a 28 yard field goal to make it 38-7.
The teams traded possession throughout the fourth quarter before the Aggies scored with 48 seconds left, but the Diplomats were able to run out the clock to secure the win.
Strumolo had his fourth consecutive game with over 100 yards as the senior rushed 33 times for 156 yards and two scores.
Jordan Zackery had a game-high 11 catches for 57 yards while Koehler led all receivers with 90 reception yards. Tim Muller finished with 56 on six grabs.
Ryan was 5-for-5 on PATs, had a 28-yard field goal and average 42 yards on kickoffs for F&M.
The Aggies came into the game averaging 441 yards and 32 points per game and the F&M defense limited them to just 269 yards on offense and 14 points.
Brendan Wengerter led the group with 7 tackles (5 s), including two that went for a loss and a sack. Velasco had six stops, a pick and two pass breakups while Tyler Pollick finished with five solo stops. Ryan Young put together an impressive afternoon with five stops, including two sacks and an interception.