Another football Saturday, another close call for Franklin & Marshall.
With Ursinus dominating most of the first half and leading at intermission, the Diplomats had their work cut out for them in what would ultimately become a thrilling 17-13 win on the road in Collegeville.
The Bears (0-2 Centennial Conference, 1-2 overall) took their opening possession 65 yards to the end zone and a 7-0 lead just 3:24 into the contest.
F&M (2-0, 3-0) got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Billy Zwicharowski kicked a 31-yard field goal to finish a 13-play, 49-yard drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock. The Bears added to their lead, though, going up 10-3 on a 39-yard field goal by Eric Boyer with just 33 seconds remaining in the first half.
F&M’s offense found more of a rhythm to start the third quarter. The Dips reeled off a five-play, 76-yard scoring drive in which Taalib Gerald did the bulk of the damage with a 54-yard run on the second play. QB Matt Magarity closed the sequence when he found Bobby Keyes on a 14-yard pass to tie the game at 10-10.
From there, F&M’s defense was put to the test, keeping the Bears out of the end zone on one goal-line stand before making them settle for a field goal and a 13-10 lead on another red zone encounter.
The Diplomats answered that kick on the next drive — the 75-yard game-winning drive. Magarity took F&M down the field in 10 plays by completing three passes for 47 yards, and Gerald ended it on a one-yard dive. Zwicharowski's kick gave F&M a 17-13 lead that stood for the win.
Magarity completed 15 of 21 passes for 148 yards and one score and added another 48 on the ground for the Diplomats. Gerald racked up 122 yards on 28 carries with a score, and Dave Shellhammer added another 82 on 11 rushes.
Keyes had a team-high 54 receiving yards and a touchdown, while Andrew Heird and Craig Hamilton finished with 25 and 23 yards respectively.
Steve Elf led the way on defense with six tackles (five solo) while Vincent Moffett and Brendan Daly each had five tackles and forced a fumble in the game.