Franklin & Marshall College's Sponaugle-Williamson Field will be rocking Saturday when the F&M football team (7-3) hosts the Albright College Lions (7-3) in the Eastern College Athletic Conference's (ECAC) Southeast Bowl.
Kickoff is scheduled for noon. The game will be broadcast live on GoDiplomats.com beginning at 11:50 a.m. F&M looks to continue its success at home, where the team was a perfect 5-0 this season.
This is the ninth time F&M has secured an ECAC bowl bid. F&M was one of 12 teams from eight conferences selected to compete in six ECAC bowl games. Head Coach John Troxell said the bowl bid was a great reward for a team that just a year ago lost seven of its 10 contests.
"Our students had an outstanding season," he said. "We beat a Top 10 team in the country (Johns Hopkins), we beat two teams playing in the NCAA playoffs (Johns Hopkins and Washington & Lee University), and we brought the Conestoga Wagon Trophy back to Lancaster. More important, our team was so much fun to coach. There are only 44 Division III teams out of 239 playing this Saturday, and we're one of them. It takes a special group of athletes to take a program from a 3-7 season and turn it around with the possibility of ending this season 8-3."
The Diplomats enter Saturday's game led by quarterback E.J. Schneider '14, of Barry Lakes, N.J., who passed for 2,573 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He also rushed for 437 yards and four touchdowns.
Running back Frank Strumolo '14 paced the team in scoring this season, with 12 touchdowns -- nine rushing and three through the air. Strumolo, of Oak Ridge, N.J., and Lamont Jackson '15, who hails from Philadelphia, formed a formidable rushing duo, grinding out a combined 884 yards and 14 scores. Tim Muller '14, who comes from Pound Ridge, N.Y., led the team in receiving yards, with 729, and Jordan Zackery '15 of York, Pa., hauled in a team-high 69 catches.
Saturday's game marks the 37th meeting between F&M and Albright. The Diplomats hold a 24-10-2 series advantage. They most recently met in 1982 -- F&M won, 10-7 -- when the colleges were Middle Atlantic Conference rivals. The Diplomats joined the Centennial Conference in 1983.
F&M's lack of familiarity with Albright will be a challenge, Troxell said.
"We have limited film on them and have not seen them on film throughout the season," he said "Our in-game adjustments will be critical to winning this game."
Earlier this week, nine members of the F&M team were named to the 2012 All-Centennial Conference (CC) Football Team.
"I am proud of our leadership, team chemistry and the commitment of our players," Troxell said. "Our athletes worked so hard and believed in each other. We won because our players did things the right way on and off the field. I couldn't be more proud of this team."