January 7, 2005

Eggertsson, Santaniello & Diplomats Rank Among Leaders in Final 2004 NCAA Football Statistics

LANCASTER, PA -- Punter Dan Eggertsson (Sr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast), defensive back Chris Santaniello (So., Somers Point, NJ/Mainland) and the Franklin & Marshall football team rank among the national leaders in the final 2004 NCAA Division III statistics.

A unanimous All-Centennial Conference first team selection at both place-kicker and punter, Eggertsson led the Centennial Conference and finished fifth in the nation in punting with a 40.7 yard average (63 punts for 2,567 yards).

An All-America punter as he was named to the 2004 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Coaches first team, D3football.com All-America second team, Associated Press Little All-America third team and Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-America third team, he became the first Franklin & Marshall player to earn recognition on all four All-America teams in one season.

Historically, his selection marked the 46th All-America honor bestowed upon Franklin & Marshall in football since S. Woodrow Sponaugle '37 earned the College's first All-America honor in 1936. In addition, he is just the second punter to earn All-America honors as Jon Bushey '97 was named to the Football Gazette All-America third (1995) and honorable mention (1996) teams.

A 2004 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team selection, his 2,567 yards during the season marked the second most yards ever punted for by a Franklin & Marshall player, while his average of 40.7 yards per punt establishes a new school season record erasing the previous mark of 39.9 set by Bushey (51 for 2,035 yards) in 1996. Further, this year's team averaged 40.8 yards per punt (64 for 2,614 yards) to eclipse the previous F&M season record of 39.01 held by the 1996 Diplomats.

A 2003 All-CC honorable mention selection at punter, Eggertsson punted 156 times for 5,989 yards in his intercollegiate career with 46 punts inside the 20-yard line, eight fair catches and eight touchbacks for a 38.39 career average to finish second in punting average behind Bushey and fourth in total punts in program history.

At placekicker, he connected on seven-of-12 field goals and 36-of-38 PATs to finish second on the team in scoring with 57 points to finish behind tailback Scott Stephen '05 (66). For his career, he has hit nine of 19 field goals and 71-of-83 PATs.

This season he garnered several honors including being named the October 4 Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette NCAA Division III Co-National Special Teams Player of the Week for punting 11 times for 471 yards (42.8) with a long of 62 yards and four punts inside the 20-yard line to aid in a 15-10 win at Muhlenberg on October 2. A member of the September 12, September 19 and October 4 D3football.com Team of the Week to become the first punter ever named to the weekly team three times in one season.

He concluded his intercollegiate football career by kicking five times for an average of 39.6 yards per punt with one kick inside the 20-yard line to help Team USA to a 23-3 win over Team Mexico in the 34th Annual Aztec Bowl at Estadio Cancun 86 in Cancun on December 11.

A member of the only national football team fielded by the United States, Eggertsson was one of 42 NCAA Division III seniors from around the country who made up this year's team under former Central (Iowa) College Head Coach Ron Schipper.

Santaniello finished 23rd in the nation in forced fumbles with four in 11 games (0.36 per game) as he recorded 50 tackles, two interceptions and six breakups this year.

For his career, he has 90 tackles, three interceptions for 30 yards, 13 pass breakups, four fumbles forced and three blocked kicks.

As a team, the Diplomats finished ninth in team net punting (35.7 ypp), 38th in scoring defense (17.1 ppg), 48th in passing offense (234.0 ypg), 79th in total offense (376.1 ypg), 83rd in pass efficiency defense (107.6), 85th in scoring offense (26.5 ppg), 87th in team kickoff returns (18.82 ypr), 90th in rushing defense (141.5 ypg), 98th in total defense (334.5 ypg) and turnover margin (+0.2), 129th in rushing offense (142.1 ypg) and 136th in team punt returns (7.43 ypr).

Overall, F&M claimed the Centennial Conference and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southwest titles this year as the Diplomats finished with an 8-3 record, 4-2 in Centennial Conference play.

The titles capped a turnaround season for the Diplomats as F&M finished with eight wins in a season for the first time since 1996 (9-2), won their first Centennial Conference title since 1995 (7-3), advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1996 as F&M previously went 0-10 (2000), 1-9 (2001), 4-6 (2002) and 4-6 (2003) over the last four seasons.

Franklin & Marshall will return to the field to begin it defense of the Centennial and ECAC titles on September 3, 2005 at Bethany College in West Virginia.