It’s been a long time since King’s College has won two games in a row — five years to be exact.
Today when the Monarchs host FDU-Florham at 1 p.m. at McCarthy Stadium, they may have their best opportunity for consecutive victories since 2008, when they defeated Lycoming and FDU to end that campaign.
The Devils (1-3 overall, 0-3 MAC) are strikingly similar to Misericordia, a team the Monarchs (1-3, 1-2) defeated in double overtime last week.
Like the winless Cougars, FDU allows a lot of points, an average of 46.0 points per game to be a MAC-high. Both squads also run similar offenses, despite FDU scoring fewer points. Those are just a few of many similarities between the two programs that sit at the bottom of the standings in the league and helps push the line in the Monarchs’ favor.
“It’s been a long time since that’s happened so that’s the goal this week obviously to win and then they’ve won two in a row,” King’s coach Jeff Knarr said. “It will bolster their confidence more and get a better understanding of what it takes to be successful and how to be successful and all those things. The challenge for our kids is we have to come out and play a similar team we played last week and come out, clean up our mistakes, build on what we did well and then they can get their second win.”
But the games are played for a reason and there are many reasons why the Devils can pull out a victory. While head coach Brian Surace has just a 3-17 record in his three seasons at the helm, two of those victories have come against the Monarchs, and Knarr has a 1-2 mark against the Devils in his tenure.
Another asset for FDU is that running back Craig Kimbrough is a dual threat out of the backfield with a 5.8 yards per carry average and 14 receptions. The sophomore has 376 total yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s very athletic. He’s got really good speed. We got to do a good job of containing him,” Knarr noted. “They put him in a lot of different spots. They throw the ball to him quick, get him on the edge in different spots. He’s a game-breaking, play-making type of a back.”
King’s has its own weapon on offense in wide receiver Dan Kempa, who has been a nightmare for opposing defenses. The junior leads the MAC with a 21.2 average yards per reception and a 137.5 average yards per game. His 550 receiving yards are second in the league despite playing one less game than Widener’s Anthony Davis, who is first in the category, and tenth in the entire nation. Kempa’s average per game are fifth in the entire nation, while he also has return yardage pushing his all-purpose totals to 227.0 per game, good for third in the country.
FDU-Florham (1-3, 0-3 MAC) at King’s (1-3, 1-2 MAC)
When: 1 p.m. today at McCarthy Stadium, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Last Week: The Monarchs defeated Misericordia in a thrilling double-overtime contest, 41-40. The Devils lost to Albright 52-7.
Last meeting: FDU, which has won the last two meetings, won last season 30-14.
King’s player to watch: Jake Ksiazkiewicz, who is second on the team with 34 tackles, 1 sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss. He’s been flying under the radar so far this season, but today with a running back-heavy offense, the linebacker will be a big part of stopping the FDU standout.
FDU-Florham player to watch: Wide receiver Anthony Fruncillo. The senior was a thorn in the side of King’s last year racking up eight receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. This year, he has a team-high 19 receptions for 262 yards.
Monarchs’ team leaders: RB Kyle McGrath 347 yards, 5 TD; QB Tyler Hartranft 827 yards, 5TD, 3 interceptions; WR Dan Kempa 26 receptions, 550 yards, 5 TD; LB Nick Kaijala 37 tackles; LB Chad Curtice 3 sacks; DL Pete Santorelli 1 interception.
Devils’ team leaders: RB Craig Kimbrough 291 yards, 1 TD; QB Michael Santos 799 yards, 5 TD, 8 interceptions; WR Anthony Fruncillo 19 receptions, 262 yards, 1 TD; LB Mike Mancino 38 tackles; LB Rob Savacool, LB Nick Galletta 1 sack; DB Joe Mancini 2 interceptions.
King’s will win if: the team can continue to carry confidence and momentum after last week’s win over Misericordia and can once again put up a lot of points.
FDU will win if: The quarterback-wide receiver duo of Michael Santos-Anthony Fruncillo have a big game like it did last year when Santos threw for 257 yards and a pair of scores and Fruncillo amassed big receiving numbers.
What to know: After defeating TCNJ to open the season, the Devils have been outscored 172-50 in thier three MAC games and haven’t allowed less than 52 points in any of those games.
Upon Further Review: Last week, Monarchs defensive lineman Ron Garrett returned a fumble for a touchdown scoring for the third straight week. After watching the film the yardage was changed from 39 yards to a 48-yard score. The play, which started with a sack by Nick Kaijala, earned the D3 Football National Play of the Week honor.