Football Kicks Off Four-Game Road Swing
Oct. 8, 2013
THE OPENING KICK
MATCH-UP: Seven days after capturing its first win of the season in the Patriot League opener vs. Bucknell (31-7), Lafayette's test will get much tougher as the Leopards take the short trip to the Garden State to face Princeton on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game kicks off a four-game road swing. The Tigers are coming off a 53-7 beatdown of Ivy League foe Columbia, Princeton's second straight game scoring 50 or more points.
HOLDING THEM DOWN: Lafayette turned in a dominating defensive performance against Bucknell, holding the Bison to 80 yards of total offense. It was the first time since Sept. 6, 2008 (95 yards against Marist) that Lafayette held a team to less than 100 total yards. Against Bucknell, the Leopards surrendered 16 yards rushing (the fewest since Sept. 1, 2007 against Marist which had -14) and 64 yards through the air (the fewest since 2011 vs. Stony Brook which threw for 35 yards). Lafayette forced a Patriot League-record 13 punts.
ON THE GROUND: The Leopards finally got their running game going in 2013. Junior TB Ross Scheuerman rushed for a career-best 188 yards and two touchdowns, his first 100-plus yard game since Nov. 3, 2012. He surpassed his previous game-high of 148 yards set against Colgate in 2012. His 78-yard touchdown tour on 3rd-and-1 in the fourth quarter put away the game. It was a career-long run, topping his previous best of 65 yards against Princeton in 2012 and was the Leopards' first 70-plus yard run since Sept. 22, 2007 when Anthony D'Urso scampered 89 yards versus Princeton.
THE QB SITUATION: The QB situation has been up in the air with the injury to junior starter Zach Zweizig who was knocked from the Penn game on Sept. 21 with a concussion. Sophomore QB Andrew Dzurik got the first quality game reps of his career in the second half at Penn, completing 12-of-22 for 157 yards with two interceptions. Dzurik knew he was going start against Bucknell and completed 22-of-37 for 235 yards and two touchdowns while throwing three interceptions. Dzurik is backed up by freshman Drew Reed who saw some time against Bucknell.
ROSS AMONG BEST: Senior wide receiver Mark Ross is in the midst of his final season, looking to continue his ascent up Lafayette's career receiving charts. He ranks first in career receiving touchdowns (21), third for career receptions (152) and fifth for career receiving yards (2083). Ross is currently tied with Phil Ng '88 (152) for career receptions. He needs 11 grabs and 324 yards to surpass John Weyrauch '04 (162 catches for 2,406 yards) atop both lists. Ross has had six catches for 56 and 70 yards (and a TD), respectively, against Bucknell and Penn. he made five catches for 68 yards against William & Mary. That performance snapped a streak of four games with 100 or more receiving yards. In the season opener vs. Sacred Heart, Ross reeled in 11 balls for 156 yards and a TD.
Princeton comes into week four of its season with a 2-1 mark. Like Lafayette, Princeton opened conference play last weekend with the Tigers handling Columbia 53-7. The week prior Princeton roughed up Georgetown 50-22 after opening with a 29-28 loss to a nationally-ranked Lehigh squad on Sept. 21. As of Saturday, Princeton will have played three of its first four games at home.
Princeton returns 15 starters, (8 on offense, 7 on defense) from a team that was 5-5 overall and third in the Ivy in 2012. Under the leadership of the junior QB Quinn Epperly, the offense has been moving, averaging nearly 44 points per game while rolling up 557 yards of total offense per outing. Epperly accounted for six TD's vs. Columbia (four passing, two rushing) and was the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. He is ranked third in the NCAA in points responsible for per game, rushing for seven scores while throwing for five.
Princeton has four players, Epperly (21-142), DiAndre Atwater (32-217), Brian Mills (26-163) and Dre Nelson (18-123) who are averaging six yards per carry or better. Atwater's father, Steve, played in the NFL with the Denver for 10 seasons and his older brother Steve plays at Georgetown.
The Tiger defense features fifth-year DL Caraun Reid (6-2, 305), a second-team Sports Network All-American in 2012 and two-time All-Ivy defender. Reid and the Tigers have shut down the run, allowing 84 ypg. Junior LB Mike Zeuli leads the team with 28 stops.
Bob Surace (Princeton '90) in his fourth season as head coach.
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