2023 Susquehanna University vs Moravian

Landmark Week 9 Preview: Susquehanna Visits Moravian

Landmark Week 9 Preview: Susquehanna Visits Moravian

The weather is growing colder, and the days are getting shorter, but one thing is staying the same – Susquehanna’s domination in the Landmark Conference.

Oct 26, 2023 by Briar Napier
Landmark Week 9 Preview: Susquehanna Visits Moravian

The weather is growing colder, and the days are getting shorter, but one thing is staying completely the same – Susquehanna’s domination over the rest of the Landmark Conference in football.

The only team in the league that’s ranked nationally, the River Hawks look primed to take the inaugural Landmark football title and push for a home playoff game following a second straight undefeated regular season. They have two games left to win in order to accomplish that goal.

However, Moravian might have something to say about it.

The Greyhounds have been impressive over much of the past month and are coming off of one of their strongest performances of the season. The timing couldn’t be better, as they head into a clash against SU on their home turf. 

They’ll be underdogs (pun intended), but a high-octane offense that can put points on the board in the hurry may give the River Hawks a heavy-dosed, unwarranted taste of their own medicine this weekend.

Maybe, after weeks of Susquehanna steamrolling the rest of the Landmark teams, it’s time for the River Hawks to sweat a little bit. Or maybe it’s SU’s time to crush any last hopes and dreams others may have of a league championship.

Here’s a look at what to watch for when Moravian hosts No. 11 Susquehanna this weekend, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday on FloFootball:

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Susquehanna has been a part of the Landmark’s spotlight game for three consecutive weeks, and as long as the River Hawks keep winning and rolling through the conference like they are, that may not change. 

No. 11-ranked SU continued its ramblin’ wreck through the rest of the Landmark – and achieved a new highest national ranking on the season in the latest D3Football.com national poll – with a 34-7 victory over Wilkes last week, handing the Colonels their first conference defeat of the season. It also helped the River Hawks strengthen their grip on the top of the Landmark standings. 

Wilkes showed plenty of early fight, responding to SU’s opening touchdown with one of its own, as the score was level at 7-7 through the first quarter, but Susquehanna then ripped off 27 consecutive points to run away with the victory.

The surge was helped by another 100-yard rushing day from tailback Tommy Grabowski (24 carries, 114 yards, one touchdown). 

Quarterback Josh Ehrlich didn’t need to throw much, going just 11-for-16 for 95 yards and a touchdown, but with the Colonels being held to under 150 yards of total offense by the River Hawks’ defense, he wasn’t exactly pressured to do so. 

Junior linebacker Garrett Carter had 10 total tackles (two for a loss) with a sack as the anchor of SU’s superb day – especially after the first quarter – stifling Wilkes’ offensive creators. The performance earned the Pennsylvania native earned a Landmark’s Defensive Player of the Week honor. 

Now 8-0 and two wins away from a second consecutive perfect regular season, Susquehanna looks near-unstoppable in Landmark play, though there still may be one major test on the schedule before the River Hawks officially can call themselves the league’s football champions. 

That final test has arrived.

Movin’ Moravian

Not enough has been said about just how strong of a season Moravian is having in its new league, and that’s a shame, though partly on the author for not giving the Greyhounds their proper flowers. 

It’s time to make up for that. 

Since ending nonconference play with a paltry 1-3 record, Moravian – which went 3-7 overall a year ago – has propelled itself to three consecutive victories to be the final team besides Susquehanna that’s unbeaten in Landmark play. 

The offensive numbers Moravian put up in those league games are particularly impressive. 

In wins against Keystone, Catholic and Juniata, the Greyhounds have averaged 46 points per game and appear to be showing their teeth a bit on defense, too, beating Juniata 44-13 last weekend, while holding the Eagles scoreless in the second half. 

Also, do-it-all running back Nate Boyle (who crossed the 2,000-yard mark for his career last Saturday) is worth your eyeballs due to his jack-of-all-trades nature on the football field alone.

The 5-foot-9 senior had 143 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, caught a 58-yard pass, was 4-for-4 kicking extra-points and ran in a pair of two-point conversions during his busy day against the Eagles. That earned him the Landmark’s Offensive Player of the Week Award, with his 84.6 average rushing yards per game this season ranking second in the Landmark behind Grabowski. 

Moravian’s defense can get shaky at times, though Wilkes showing that it was able to (somewhat) slow down the River Hawks – holding them to a league-play low 34 points – perhaps revealed some cracks in the armor for the Greyhounds to exploit, if their defense truly is improving each week. 

A rowdy crowd in Bethlehem helping to make SU’s communication on offense a little more difficult could help in Moravian’s upset bid, too.

A Clincher Coming?

Barring something truly chaotic happening over the next few weeks, Susquehanna, if it defeats Moravian to get to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the league headed into its bye week next weekend, would be in the driver’s seat toward securing the inaugural Landmark Conference football championship. 

If the River Hawks were to win, and Lycoming (which holds a 2-1 Landmark record heading into its own game this week against Juniata) were to lose anytime over the next two weeks, however, it would mean that SU officially would clinch the league title with a game to spare, due to the fact that it would hold tiebreakers over both Moravian and Wilkes, while Lycoming couldn’t catch up, even if it were to upset the River Hawks when they meet in the Stagg Hat Game in the regular season finale Nov. 11. 

Therefore, Susquehanna-Moravian is of paramount importance for both teams; if SU wants to all but secure the conference championship and book its spot back in the Division III football playoffs, victory against the Greyhounds would go a long way toward getting that job done. 

The rest of the league, however, should be rooting for Moravian to throw a wrench into the title race and, crucially, hold the league (and therefore playoff auto-bid) tiebreaker over SU in what would be a shockwave-causing upset in Division III football. 

The Greyhounds are the final unblemished Landmark team the River Hawks have yet to face, and as all who have come before Susquehanna this season have found out, it doesn’t have much time for allowing teams to stay in games very long. 

But if Moravian is pushing to try and make things spicy down the stretch to give it and other contenders in the Landmark a flicker of hope, pulling off the shocker would be a heck of a way to do it.