Washington and Lee Football - Franklin & Marshall Game Notes

Washington and Lee Football - Franklin & Marshall Game Notes

W&L (0-0) vs. FRANKLIN & MARSHALL (0-0)

Saturday, September 3, 2011
Lexington, Va. • 1:00 pm

PDF Version of Notes

DATE: September 3, 2011
TIME: 1:00 pm
STADIUM: Wilson Field (4,000)
TV/INTERNET: First Team Broadcasting
LAST MEETING: 9/4/10 at F&M (35-7 F&M)
FIRST MEETING: 10/11/58 at W&L (14-13 F&M)
LAST W&L WIN: 9/8/07 at W&L (20-0)
LAST F&M WIN: 9/4/10 at F&M (35-7)

W&L and Franklin & Marshall will be meeting for the 12th time, with the Diplomats holding a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series.  F&M has won three-straight in the series, including a 35-7 victory last season in Lancaster, Pa.  In fact, F&M has taken four of the five games since the series was re-kindled in 2006.  The Generals' lone victory in that stretch was a 20-0 victory at Wilson Field during the 2007 campaign.

Frank Miriello (East Stroudsburg '67) is in his 17th season as the head coach at W&L and his 44th year of coaching.  He has led W&L to 11 non-losing campaigns, a pair of ODAC titles and the program's only two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.  Miriello is the winningest coach in program history with an 82-77-1 (.516) overall record.

Franklin & Marshall is led by John Troxell (Lafayette '94), who is in his sixth season with the Diplomats.  Troxell has led F&M to a 26-26 (.500) record over his first five seasons, including a 9-2 mark during the 2009 campaign en route to earning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year accolades.

Washington and Lee has played 1,013 games in the entire history of the program, compiling a 470-504-39 (.484) overall record.  Only five other schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia have played more games than W&L, which played the first intercollegiate football game in the South, an 1873 matchup with neighboring VMI.

Washington and Lee begins the season ranked 19th in the Sporting News Preseason Division III poll.  The Generals also received three votes for the D3Football.com Preseason poll.  W&L ended the 2010 season by receiving votes in both the AFCA and D3Football.com polls, but has yet to crack the Top 25.

Since 1900, W&L is 57-53-1 (.518) in season-opening games.  W&L has dropped each of the last three season openers, with the last season-opening win occuring during the 2007 season, a 20-0 win over the Diplomats.

Since the turn of the century (2000), Washington and Lee is a combined 34-17 (.667) in games played at Wilson Field.  The Generals went 3-1 at home last season and will play six of their 10 contests at home during the 2011 season.

Franklin & Marshall returns 15 starters and 56 letterwinners from its 2010 team that finished with a 6-5 overall record, advancing to the ECAC playoffs.  Offensively, the Diplomats averaged 353.5 yards and 29.4 points per game, led by the exploits of senior quarterback John Harrison.  Harrison earned Second Team All-Centennial Conference honors after completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 2,872 yards and 28 touchdowns (13 INTs).  He already holds the school career records for passing yards (7,325) and touchdowns (74).  Senior offensive lineman Nick Gerace also earned Second Team All-Centennial laurels, while senior running back John Kaschak also returns after amassing 713 yards and seven touchdowns on 176 carries.  Defensively, F&M allowed 332.9 yards and 24.5 points per game despite allowing teams to covert on only 39 percent of their third-down attempts.  Junior linebacker Sam Massaro is the top returnee for the defense after posting 95 tackles, 3.0 sacks and three interceptions in receiving First Team All-CC honors.  Senior defensive lineman C.T. Marsh and senior defensive back Kurt Rogers both also return after receiving Second Team All-Centennial accolades last fall.  Marsh finished with 57 tackles, 21.0 tackles for a loss and 11.0 sacks, while Rogers logged 51 tackles, seven pass breakups and one sack.   

(F&M 35, W&L 7 • 9/4/09 • Lancaster, Pa.)
Franklin & Marshall racked up 406 yards of total offense and forced four Washington and Lee turnovers in posting a 35-7 victory over the Generals in the 2010 season-opener. The Diplomats opened the scoring just 4:16 into the game when running back John Kaschak capped a 7-play, 79-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.  A kickoff and two plays later, W&L quarterback Charlie Westfal fumbled in the Generals' backfield and F&M senior linebacker Shane Gray scooped up the ball and scampered 25 yards to give the Diplomats a 14-0 lead just 4:59 into the contest. F&M added a 28-yard field goal by kicker Chris Bennett with 45 seconds remaining in the opening quarter to push its lead to 17-0.  The Diplomats added two more touchdowns, including an 18-yard strike from quarterback John Harrison to senior wide-out Jay Ridinger with nine seconds remaining in the first half, for a 29-0 lead at the break. Washington and Lee dented the scoreboard with 10:29 remaining in the game, when running back Harrison Hudson ended an 8-play, 63-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 35-7. The Generals managed just 207 yards of total offense led by Hudson, who rushed seven times for 31 yards and one touchdown and caught one pass for 27 yards.  Westfal finished 3-of-10 passing for 58 yards with one interception and rushed nine times for 23 yards.  Linebacker Jesse Jenkins led the W&L defense with nine tackles.  Defensive back Jake Pelton and linebacker Doug Fraser each notched eight tackles. Franklin & Marshall was paced by Harrison, who completed 24-of-31 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns.  Ridinger hauled in eight passes for 82 yards and one touchdown, while Kaschak carried 16 times for 60 yards and one score.  Senior linebacker Drew Hutcheon led the F&M defense with eight tackles.

You might expect the Generals to have plenty of holes to fill following an ODAC Championship season in 2010, but you would be wrong.  W&L returns eight starters on offense and nine on defense as it looks to defend its title this fall.  All told, W&L welcomes back players that accounted for 73.4 percent of the offensive yards and 87.3 percent of its tackles last season.  Additionally, the returning players also produced 13 of the team's 14 sacks and 20 of the 22 interceptions from a year ago.

As we explore what returns for the Generals offensively, you have to look at the engine that makes W&L's ground game run.  Washington and Lee returns four starters on the offensive line, including a pair of all-conference performers.  Senior guard John Fitzgibbons (6-1, 265) is back to start for a fourth-straight season after garnering First Team All-ODAC laurels last year.  A preseason First Team All-America pick by D3football.com, Fitzgibbons has started all 31 of the team's games over his first three seasons.  Sophomore tackle Connor Hollenbeck (6-5, 240) is also back after posting Honorable Mention All-ODAC accolades during his rookie campaign.  Junior Mike Stefanelli (6-0, 250) and sophomore Bobby Jones (6-3, 267) also return after starting a majority of the season at guard and tackle, respectively.  A fifth player, senior Matt Benson (6-5, 275), also returns after rotating through for a majority of the snaps last season.

One could argue that the quarterback is the engine that makes the option game go and depending on your opinion, the Generals have plenty of experience returning there as well.  Senior Charlie Westfal is under center for the fourth-straight season after garnering Second Team All-ODAC honors last fall.  Westfal has passed for 3,226 yards and 30 touchdowns and has run for 1,539 yards and 16 more scores over his first three seasons -- the only quarterback in ODAC history with better than 3,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards.  Last season, Westfal completed 50.0 percent of his passes for 818 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions.  He also rushed for a career-best 523 yards and seven touchdowns.  Westfal went through the final eight games without an interception, a string of 69-straight passes without a pick.

The Generals return a few horses, including junior all-conference running backs Luke Heinsohn and Brett Murray.  Heinsohn finished the 2010 season ranked 17th nationally with an average of 120.1 yards per game.  He carried 194 times for 1,321 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns en route to posting First Team All-ODAC and Second Team All-South Region honors.  Murray was a Second Team All-ODAC choice after tallying a team-best 1,381 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns.  He was the team's third-leading rusher with 738 yards and nine touchdowns (7.2 yards per carry), and the team's second-leading receiver with 14 catches for 147 yards and three touchdowns.  Juniors Sasha Vandalov and Russell Stewart are also likely to receive plenty of carries after rushing for better than 100 yards last season.  Vandalov totaled 158 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries, while Stewart toted the ball 34 times for 133 yards and one score.  Stewart spent the 2010 season as the team's backup quarterback, but will move to a slot or wing position for the 2011 campaign.

Given the expansive roles of the running backs in the Generals' offense, it would be easy to forget about the contributions of the wide receivers, who are incredibly important to the team's success as blockers.  W&L returns a wealth of experience outside as well.  Seniors Tate Davis and Cody Smith are both back after starting a majority of the games at the position last fall.  Davis was the third-leading receiver with 10 catches for 148 yards and one touchdown, while Smith was fourth on the team with six catches for 77 yards.

The Generals featured a relatively young defense last season and a majority of the defense returns with another year of seasoning.  Headlining the group is junior safety Jake Pelton, who earned First Team All-ODAC and Second Team All-South Region honors last fall.  A Preseason First Team All-America selection by the Sporting News, Pelton finished second on the team with 82 tackles and he led the ODAC with six interceptions.  Junior linebacker Jesse Jenkins led the team with 84 tackles, one sack and one interception en route to posting Second Team All-ODAC laurels.  Senior linebacker Rob Look earned Second Team All-ODAC accolades in 2009 and despite missing some early season action due to injury, he finished third on the team with 62 stops.  Senior safety John Kavanagh was an Honorable Mention All-ODAC pick a year ago after totaling 43 tackles, four interceptions and one sack, while senior cornerback Mike Hartford had 36 tackles, four interceptions and a team-high seven pass breakups.  Sophomore linebacker Sam Zimmer also returns after notching a team-best 2.5 sacks last season.  As a team, the Generals forced 32 turnovers in 2010, including an ODAC-best 22 interceptions.

Senior placekicker Peter Alston returns this fall after setting school records for PAT's attempted (51) and made (50) last season.  Alston also set a record with 44 consecutive PAT's made, a streak which will continue into the 2011 campaign.  Alston made good on 4-of-6 field goal attempts as well for 62 points, a total which ranked fourth on the team and tied the school record for season points scored by a kicker.

Since Frank Miriello took over as head coach in 1995, the Generals are 72-28 (.720) when scoring 20 or more points and 55-8-1 (.867) when allowing fewer than 20 points. Furthermore, W&L is 36-3 (.923) under Miriello when scoring 30 or more points and 24-1-1 (.942) when allowing fewer than 10 points.  The flip side is that the Generals are just 2-20-1 (.109) when scoring less than 10 points and 4-40 (.091) when allowing 30 or more points.

The Generals have claimed eight conference championships over the years (including 2010) and no W&L team has ever been able to manage a repeat title.  In fact, in the years following championship seasons, the Generals are just 34-26-2 (.565) overall.