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Consistency issues haunt Juniata football in loss to Moravian

(Posted October 20, 2007)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Juniata College offense made great plays - at times. The Eagle defense had some key stops - at times. The special teams squad gave the Eagles a lift - at times. In the end, it was that lack of consistency that undermined Juniata\'s chances at upsetting longtime rival Moravian College, as the Greyhounds downed Juniata 28-13 in front of a Homecoming crowd of 2,147 at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem, Pa. Nothing typified the day more than the second quarter, which began with a Tyler Templeton (Ebensburg, Pa./Central Cambria) punt from the Juniata 27-yard line that was blocked by Moravian\'s Derek Protasiewicz and recovered on the 10-yard line. Michael Cancelliere carried the ball into the endzone on the next play, giving the Greyhounds a 21-0 lead. Later in the second, the Eagles (0-7, 0-6 Centennial) squashed a Moravian drive at the Juniata 48 to force a Greyhound punt. Andy Miller (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) weaved his way through the coverage for a 43-yard return, setting up a first down for the Blue and Gold at the Moravian 42. However on the first play from scrimmage, Jay Leonard\'s (Newville, Pa./Big Spring) pass was intercepted by Moravian safety Carl Robinson, and returned 45 yards to the Juniata 37-yard line. Four plays later, Moravian quarterback Marc Braxmeier connected with wideout Shawn Sylvainus for a 26-yard score, widening the Greyhound lead to 28-0. \"We did some good things defensively, and then we would falter offensively. Then when our offense picked it up, special teams let \'em out of the bag,\" said Juniata head coach Darrell Alt. \"I\'m pleased with how our kids played today in the second half. Momentum is big in college football, and we played them toe-to-toe with the exception of that second quarter.\" The Eagles finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. After a 32-yard Moravian punt and fair-catch by Miller, Juniata took over with a first down on its own 27-yard line. Leonard hit Lance Tippett (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) on a short pass in the flat to his left; Tippett made an inside move that turned around Moravian freshman defensive back Sean Nally, then outran Greyhound cornerback Eric Woodruff all the way to the endzone for a 73-yard TD score. Juniata\'s Dom Wytovich (Bentleyville, Pa./Bentworth) recovered Davis Smith\'s (Lemont, Pa./State College Area) ensuing on-side kick attempt, setting up a first-and-ten from the Juniata 46, however the Eagles could not capitalize and were forced to punt at the end of the series. Leonard cut the margin even further in the game\'s final minutes, when David Nicklaus (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter Strasburg) caught a four-yard touchdown pass. Smith\'s ensuing extra-point attempt was blocked. Juniata finished with 305 yards of total offense, its fourth 300-yard offensive outing of the season. Moravian posted 390 yards of offense on the Eagles, nearly equally split between 189 yards on the ground and 201 yards through the air. Leonard completed 18 of 42 attempts for 252 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. The effort moved Leonard into fifth among Juniata College career passing leaders. Tippett had his fourth 100-yard receiving effort of the season, sixth of his career, with four catches for 117 yards. Nicklaus and Matt Dunker (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) each finished with 53 yards receiving. Kyle McKechnie (Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) had 50 yards rushing on 15 carries. Miller had a pair of punt returns for 43 yards, while Dunker had 92 yards on four kickoff returns. \"I was very impressed with the day Andy Miller had,\" said Alt. \"He defended passes, he returned punts, and he was instrumental on that on-side kick. \"Any time you have a 43-yard punt return you have to capitalize on that; that would have been a great momentum builder at the half.\" Moravian took the lead in its second possession of the game, with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Braxmeier\'s 47-yard touchdown toss to Sean Hill with 6:41 left in the first quarter. After forcing the Eagles to go three-and-punt, the Greyhounds widened their lead with another long and time-consuming drive. Braxmeier\'s 10-yard TD rush at the 14:53 mark of the second quarter completed the scoring march, which consumed 4:49 on the clock while traveling 80 yards on ten plays. For the Greyhounds, Braxmeier finished with 168 yards passing on a 10-of-21 effort, while Shawn Sylvainus had three catches for 45 yards. Anthony Falco led the Moravian ground game with 69 rushes on 12 carries, while Tyler McCambridge had nine carries for 49 yards. Juniata hosts Johns Hopkins for a Centennial Conference game next Saturday, Oct. 27, at 1:00 p.m. at Knox Stadium.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.