Moravian 12, Susquehanna 6

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Sophomore running back Rocco Del Priore ( scored on a five-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to give the Moravian College football team a lead it wouldn't relinquish in a 12-6 victory over Susquehanna University in Centennial Conference action at Rocco Calvo Field Saturday afternoon to kickoff the 2010 season.

The Greyhounds, who held onto the ball for nearly 38 minutes in the game and had a pair of drives over ten minutes apiece spoiled the Crusaders debut as an associate member in the Centennial Conference. Susquehanna, which won the Liberty League title in 2009, is now back in the same conference as Moravian for the first time in four seasons.

Each squad would pick up one first down on its initial drive of the game before the punters came one. The Crusaders would punt on their second possession as well but a 20-yard return from Moravian senior wide receiver Alex Hersch set the Greyhound offense up at the Susquehanna 28-yard line. Seven plays later, Del Priore scored his first collegiate touchdown on a five-yard run up the middle. Junior kicker Ian Heck made the extra-point for 7-0 Moravian lead with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter.

Susquehanna answered with a 15-play, 63-yard drive into the second quarter. The Crusaders would get first-and-goal from the seven yard line after a six-yard run by sophomore running back Connor McGrath but the Moravian defense forced a fourth-and-goal from the two. Susquehanna settled for a 20-yard field goal by senior Bobby Eppleman that cut Moravian's lead to 7-3 with 11:25 left in the first half.

The Greyhounds took possession at their own 20-yard line after a touchback and went 72 yards in 18 plays while taking ten minutes off the clock before extending their lead to 10-3. Moravian had a first-and-goal from the one after a 14-yard completion from freshman quarterback Phil Gardner to sophomore running back Joe Tegan; however, a penalty would push Moravian back and force a fourth down at the eight yard line. Heck drilled the 25-yard field goal to add to the Greyhounds lead with 1:25 remaining in the second quarter.

Susquehanna punted on its final possession of the first half while Moravian ran just one play before heading into the locker room with a 10-3 lead.

The Greyhounds would open the second half with a three-and-out while Susquehanna put points on the board with its first drive of the half. The Crusaders reached the Moravian six-yard line but after three straight stops by the Greyhound defense, Susquehanna settled for a 23-yard field goal by Eppleman to pull within 10-6 at 10:57 left in the first half.

Moravian's offense picked up a first down but was unable to move any further before another punt from senior Eric Dziengelski. Susquehanna started its drive at its own 47 yard line and would move in to the red zone for third time in the game. After three stops inside the five yard line by the Moravian defense, the Crusaders faced a fourth-and-goal from the three. Susquehanna would go for it as junior quarterback Rich Palazzi found junior tight end Matt Knouse open on the right side. Knouse had been in the end zone but came out to catch the ball and was knocked out of bounds by Greyhound sophomore linebacker Jake Hildebrand at the half-yard line to give Moravian possession.

The Greyhounds took over with 99-yards in front of them and 3:56 remaining in the third quarter. Moravian offense put together a 20-play, 91 yard drive that took 12:08 but was unable to score. On a fourth-and-three from the Susquehanna ten yard line, Heck lined up for a 27-yard field goal attempt. However, the snap bounced back to freshman quarterback/holder Brandon Lesko, who picked up the ball and ran to the right sideline where he was knocked out of bounds just short of a first two.

Susquehanna junior running back Greg Tellish was stopped for a one-yard loss on first down, and Palazzi threw an incompletion to setup a third-and-11. Palazzi stumbled on an apparent handoff to Tellish and fumbled the ball. Tellish would recover but in the end zone to give Moravian a safety and a 12-6 lead with 5:54 remaining in the contest.

After the free kick, the Greyhound offense was unable to move the ball and punted for the fourth time in the game. Palazzi threw a pair of quick completions for a first down but on this third pass of the drive, Moravian sophomore defensive back Travis King jumped in front of the intended Crusader receiver and intercepted the pass at the Susquehanna 41-yard line.

The Greyhounds offense picked up one first down before a pair of kneel downs by Gardner ended the game. Moravian's offense ran 66 plays for 244 yards, 172 on the ground, and held the ball for 37:50. Del Priore had 76 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries while Tegan had 62 yards on1 5 attempts. Gardner was seven-for-12 for 72 yards in the air, and he added 32 yards on 11 carries. Senior wide receiver Shawn Sylvainus caught two passes for 26 yards while junior tight end Mike Zanoni had two receptions for 19 yards.

Palazzi led the Susquehanna offense, which was limited to 177 yards on 46 plays with 78 yards on the ground. He was 15-for-24 for 99 yards with an interception. Junior wide receiver Mike Ritter caught five passes for 34 yards while Tellish had five receptions for 32 yards. Tellish also added 47 yards on 13 carries while McGrath added 38 yards on eight attempts.

Junior safety David Wacker led the Moravian defense with eight tackles, including one for loss, while King had seven tackles with one for loss to go with his interception. Senior defensive back Daniel Burley, senior linebacker Philip Bortz and junior linebacker Stephen Kircher all had seven tackles with Burley recording a pair of pass break-ups.

Sophomore defensive lineman Ken Schetroma and sophomore linebacker Aaron Inch each had ten tackles and a pass break-up to lead the Crusaders defense with Schetroma recording two tackles for loss. Sophomore linebacker Louis Wyley added nine tackles while junior linebacker Mitch Phillips, junior defensive back Jack McCarty and sophomore defensive back Jalon Scott each had eight stops.