COLLEGEVILLE, PA - Franklin & Marshall College All-America receiver Justin Salton (Sr., Gillette, NJ/Watchung Hills) pulled in 11 catches for 149 yards and touchdown receptions of 42 and 27 yards to rest the Centennial Conference single season and career reception records while leading the Diplomats (3-6, 2-3 Centennial Conference) to a 37-17 win at Ursinus College (3-6, 0-5 Centennial Conference) in the team's final road game of the season.
Salton, who held the previous single season record of 77 receptions set last year, raised his single season total to 78 catches for 922 yards. Further, he eclipsed the Franklin & Marshall College, Centennial Conference and Eastern College Athletic Conference career receptions records as he now has 235 receptions for 3,100 yards as he surpassed F&M Hall of Fame receiver Dale Amos '90 (233).
In addition, he became just the second receiver in Franklin & Marshall and Centennial Conference history with 3,000 receiving yards (behind Amos' 3,846 yards) as he surpassed Johns Hopkins' Joe Richards '94 (2,988 yards) for second in receiving yards in CC history. He also tied Richards for sixth in CC history in career TD receptions as the fifth-year senior now has 22 in his career following a pair of scores against the Bears.
Overall, Salton was the only Diplomats' receiver to catch a pass as Franklin & Marshall accumulated 414 net yards, including 265 rushing yards, as F&M achieved season highs in rushes (49), yards rushing, yards per rush (5.4), TD rushes (3), points (37), sacks (five) and opponent turnovers (three).
The key to the game was the running of tailback Scott Stephen (Jr., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) who amassed 130 net yards including TD runs of 21 and three yards in the first half as the Diplomats carried a 21-10 lead into halftime. Following the half, Stephen connected with Salton on a 42-yard uncovered bomb for a 27-10 lead with 12:26 left in the third quarter. The touchdown pass marked the first of Stephen's career as the second year tailback started his collegiate career as a quarterback in 2002 and completed 21-of-71 attempts for 243 yards in his only season over center.
Trailing 10-7 with 13:39 left in the second quarter following a Gary Sheffield 31-yard TD run at 10:10 of the first quarter and a 29-yard field goal by Matt Baney, the Diplomats offense came to life as quarterback Jeff Harner (Fr., Mohrsville, PA/Schuylkill Valley) engineered a 10 play, 60 yard drive before bursting through the line on third-and-goal for a two-yard touchdown carry and a 10-7 deficit with 10:9 left in the first half.
The Diplomats caught a break on Ursinus' next possession as Bears' fumbled the ball at their own 30-yard line before Franklin & Marshall defensive back Matt Pastore (Fr., Ridgewood, NJ/Peddie School) recovered the loose ball at the Ursinus 19 to set up the Diplomats deep in Bears' territory.
Harner completed back-to-back passes of three and four yards to Salton and tailback Rick Dunlap (Fr., Boothwyn, PA/Garnet Valley) scampered two yards on fourth and four to come up short and return the ball to the Bears.
However, Ursinus failed to move the football as Greg Furman shagged a 19-yard punt to the Ursinus 30-yard line to again establish the Diplomats' offense in Bears' territory.
Harner rushed nine yards to the Ursinus 21-yard line and Stephen sliced through the Bears' secondary for a 21-yard TD run for a 14-10 Diplomats lead.
Ursinus' turnover woes continued on their next drive as quarterback Adam Parcell was stripped by linebacker Matt Capone (Jr., Scarsdale, NY/Scarsdale) at the F&M 30 yard line as fellow linebacker Dan Nadler (Sr., Scarsdale, NY/Edgemont) recovered as the 29-yard line to halt another Bears' drive.
However, Ursinus' defense stiffened as Franklin & Marshall moved the ball to the 37-yard line but faced fourth-and-two with 27 seconds left in the second quarter.
Needing a play to add to the lead, the Diplomats faked a punt as linebacker Andy Rehring (Sr., State College, PA/State College) took the direct snap 60-yards straight down the middle of the field to the Ursinus three yard line with 16 seconds left on the clock in the half. Following a pair of incomplete passes, Stephen turned the right corner and sprinted into the endzone with four seconds left in the half for his second TD of the day and a 21-10 Franklin & Marshall College lead at intermission.
The Bears had little luck in their opening drive of the second half as the Diplomats' defense limited Ursinus to a three-and-out before Furman punted to the F&M 36 where Stephen returned the kick to the Ursinus 48.
Stephen rushed for five yards and Harner picked up one rushing yard to bring up third-and-four as Harner shoveled a pass to Stephen in the backfield who found a wide open Salton down the right sideline for a 42-yard touchdown and a 27-10 lead 12:26 into the third quarter.
Ursinus cut the lead to 27-17 on their next possession thanks to a Diplomats' pass interference call. Facing fourth-and-three from the F&M 27, Ursinus quarterback Dave Kupstow's pass to Qwenton Gill was broken up as Gill was hit prior to having a chance to catch the ball to move the ball to the 12 yard line. F&M linebacker Chris White (Sr., Vestal, NY/Vestal) sacked Kupstow for loss of 15-yards back to the 27-yard line, but the Bears connected for the score as Kupstow found Randy Taylor open in the endzone on fourth-and-25 to cap a 15 play, 74 yard drive
However, the Diplomats answered as kicker Dan Eggertsson (Jr., Royal Palm, FL/Suncoast) split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal with 38 seconds left in the third quarter for a 30-17 Diplomats' lead.
In the fourth quarter, neither team could score as the Diplomats attempted to run out the game clock behind the rushing of Stephen and Harner who each ran for 41-yards in the quarter.
With 2:09 left on the game clock, the Diplomats struck for an insurance touchdown as Harner found a streaking Salton down the left sideline for a 27-yard connection and the 37-final.
For Ursinus, tailback Gary Sheffield ran for 110 yards as the Bears' accumulated 103 net rushing yards and a touchdown, while Kupstow completed 18-of-34 passes with one interception for 192 yards and a touchdown to lead the Ursinus offense.
On defense, linebackers Joe LoCastro (So., Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic), Rehring, Nadler and White mauled the Bears as the quartet combined for 30 tackles, eight tackles-for-loss of 41 yards, one fumble recovery, five passes defended and 4.5 sacks. LoCastro led the team in tackles with 11, including nine solo stops, while adding three tackles-for-loss of four yards, two pass breakups, half a sack for two yards and a quarterback hurry, to lead a Diplomats' defense which limited Ursinus to five-of-15 on third down conversions.
For Ursinus, Tom Reilly and Eric Shipe both recorded a game high 13 tackles
Overall, Ursinus held a 30:53 to 29:07 advantage in time of possession and a 72-70 margin in total offensive plays, but the Diplomats converted six-of-16 on third down and three-of-four on fourth down to keep the clock moving and close out the game.
Franklin & Marshall will conclude the season on November 15 at home on Williamson Field versus Gettysburg College. Game time is set for 1 p.m.