MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State football team (6-4) will be making their second post-season appearance under tutelage of head coach Curt Fitzpatrick Saturday, having been selected for the ECAC Division III James Lynah Bowl game held at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa.
Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Robert E. Thorn Field on the Grove City Campus.
There is no charge for admission to the contest, and parking is available near the stadium facility. Tailgating is permitted, but spectators are asked to abide by Grove City's tailgating policies.
For those unable to attend, but wish to follow the action, live stats and video will be available on the college's web site at www.morrisvillestateathletics.com.
Morrisville State first made their debut in the post-season at the NCAA Division III level in 2014, having hosted local rival Utica College in the ECAC Division III North Central Bowl Championship on Drake Field in Morrisville, and were victorious, winning the offensive shoot out 52-41.
The Mustangs overpowered the Pioneers in offense on the day, collecting 568 total yards behind a potent rushing game, limiting Utica to 372.
Utica is one of two additional teams to receive a post-season bid again in 2018, along with fellow Empire 8 opponent Alfred University.
Grove City enters the contest with a 7-3 overall record, putting up on average 28.0 points per game, while allowing 28.7. The Wolverines have averaged 371.6 yards total offense per game this season, splitting their attack between both the running and passing game.
They will have their hands full defensively though, as Morrisville State enters the contest averaging 369.2 yards total offense per game, and 29.3 points per contest.
The veteran offensive unit, who has done quite well under direction of Fitzpatrick, will lead the Mustangs into the post-season contest after averaging nearly 400 yards total offense over the past five games, four of which were notches in the win column.
The Mustangs have collected more than 200 yards per game through the air on the season, but will add to their offensive capability with the size and physicality of senior running back Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) who is third overall in the Empire 8 in total rushing yards with 919 on the year. Four additional Mustangs have posted more than 100 yards this season in the running game alongside Edmond, as they have averaged 4.0 yards per carry and 167.5 per game.
The quarterback unit, led by Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.), has completed 144 passes for over 2000 yards this year, having a slew of options in the passing game with more than seven targets. Senior Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) leads the receiving corps with 578 yards, averaging 13.8 yards per catch, and 57.8 yards per game.
Toure Hall (Stratford, Conn.), Petrit Boga (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Jermaine Cooper (New York City, N.Y.) have also served as targets for the Mustangs, all collecting a combined 70 catches for over 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Defensively, Morrisville State will look to rein in leading Wolverine running back Wesley Schools, who has compiled 1382 yards on the ground for 15 touchdowns, and Zach Trusky and Josh Ehst who have added a combined 544 more.
Ehst has completed 81-of-142 passes for 1295 yards and 15 touchdowns at the quarterback position, with lead receiver Cody Gustafson pulling in 69 for 1,059 yards and 15 scores. Cameron Drake also proves to be a threat in the receiving unit, having caught 36 for 547 yards and three scores.
The Mustang defense, though, has limited opponents to an average 118.5 yards rushing per game, and has proven effective in the secondary as they have intercepted nine for 141 returned yards, broken up 44 passes and recorded eight quarterback hurries on the season. They have also been effective in the turnover game, causing 11 forced fumbles and recovering a total 13.
Junior Mike Bodnar (Miller Place, N.Y.) leads the way with 88 total stops, two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as well. Fellow safeties Jose Garcia (New York City, N.Y.) and Deondrade Wells (Goshen, N.Y.) have combined for 129 stops, three additional interceptions, 16 passes defended and a fumble recovery as well.
Grove City has allowed nearly equal numbers in the offensive game as they have posted on the season, a 181.7 yards rushing allowed per game on average and 187.10 passing game on average.
Saturday's game will be the first ever meeting between the two programs. Grove City is 14-13 against Empire 8 opponents, with the last battle against an E8 member occurring October 29, 2005 as they fell 27-7 to Alfred University.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.