LANCASTER, Pa. – No. 21 Franklin & Marshall scored on its second play in overtime and the defense came away with an interception to secure a 14-7 victory over Susquehanna in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon. F&M remains unbeaten this season at 4-0, 3-0 CC while the River Hawks - playing in their second straight overtime game – fell to 2-2, 1-2 CC.
Susquehanna won the coin toss to start overtime and F&M started with the ball. Running back Joe Hartley-Vittoria did all the damage in the extra frame, picking up four yards on the first play, before breaking one off up the middle from 21-yards out for a touchdown. Drew Tomlinson's extra point was good, giving F&M a 14-7 lead.
F&M's defense set up a 3rd-and-15 on the River Hawks' possession, and after a nine-yard run by Susquehanna, the River Hawks had a 4th-and-6. Susquehanna picked up the first down and faced a 3rd-and-4 from the five before Marlen Fenstermacher picked off the ball in the end zone to secure the Diplomat victory.
Susquehanna scored on its first possession of the game in the first quarter, driving 75 yards in 12 plays for a 7-0 lead. The teams traded possessions for the remainder of the first. F&M started the second quarter with a 14-play drive that took 7:34 off the clock and spanned 72 yards. The drive featured three, third-down conversions and a fourth-down pickup that was capped off when Tanner Erisman found K.J. Pretty for a seven-yard score. Tomlinson's point-after tied the game at 7-7.
The Diplomats had another scoring opportunity on their next series, but Tomlinson's 26-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked, sending the ball wide right. Susquehanna was on the doorstep with a first-and-goal on the one late in the second with 15 ticks on the clock. The River Hawks attempted a quarterback sneak on their next play, but Sebastian Silva-Muniz forced a fumble and Nick Leone recovered in the end zone to make it 7-7 at the break.
The third quarter saw a great defensive effort from both sides and neither team was able to score. The back-and-forth action continued into the fourth. After a muffed punt late in the fourth, the Diplomats were in good scoring position with 1:25 left to play, but a strip sack on their next play gave the ball to Susquehanna with 1:16 on the clock. F&M held the River Hawks to a three-and-out and a punt before the Diplomats picked up a first down on their next series, but let the clock run out to send the game into overtime.
Tanner Erisman completed 15-of-29 passes for 129 yards and a score and added 23 more on eight rushes. Joe Hartley-Vittoria had a game-high 107 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown for his second-straight 100-yard rushing performance of the season, while K.J. Pretty ended with six grabs for 62 yards and one touchdown.
Sebastian Silva-Muniz paced the defense with eight stops (5s) and a forced fumble, while Marlen Fenstermacher and Bobby McDevitt both finished with seven stops each. Fenstermacher had an interception and K.J. Boston had six stops, one going for a loss.
F&M returns to action next Saturday when the Diplomats travel to Muhlenberg for a 1:00 p.m. game.