Ursinus moves to 7-0 with 43-18 win over McDaniel

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COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College football team, ranked 24th in Division III, moved to 7-0 for the first time since 1996 with a 43-18 win over McDaniel on Saturday afternoon in the annual Homecoming game.

The team now joins the 1996 and 1902 teams as the only 7-0 teams in school history, and now sit in sole possession of first place in the Centennial Conference at 6-0 following a loss by Muhlenberg to Franklin & Marshall on Saturday.

Senior quarterback Justin Decristofaro (Jenkintown, Pa./Father Judge) threw for 367 yards and five touchdowns on a 23-for-38 performance. He also ran for a touchdown, accounting for 36 points which sets a school record.

Junior wideout Al Desiderio (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) had three touchdown catches, finishing with 161 yards receiving. He was named the winner of the Kenneth Walker Trophy, which is awarded to the best player in the Homecoming game.

Ursinus, trailing 13-7 after one quarter, scored 20 points in the second quarter in the final 3:44 to pull away from the Green Terror  (4-3, 3-3 Centennial). The Bears held McDaniel to just five points in the final three quarter, on a field goal and a return on a blocked PAT attempt in the third quarter.

Ursinus took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on 15 plays, capped by a 11 yard touchdown catch by junior running back Kahlil Pittman (Willow Grove, Pa./Abington) with 8:40 left for a 7-0 lead. McDaniel would tie the score on its second possession of the game, going four plays, 39 yards ended by a 31 yard pass from junior quarterback Thomas Massucci to senior wide out Matt Cahill with 4:42 left.

After Ursinus fumbled the ensuing kickoff, McDaniel took two plays to score as Massucci threw a touchdown strike to junior tight end Woody Butler with 4:16 left for a 13-7 lead.

Ursinus tied the score at 13-13 as Decristofaro plunged forward for a 1-yard score with 3:44 left in the second. The Bears would get the ball back as junior defensive end Sean Whelan (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) sacked Massucci, forcing a fumble that was recovered at the Green Terror 39-yard line by sophomore defensive tackle Greg Fontaina (Millburn, N.J./Millburn) with 1:39 left. One play later, Decristofaro found Desiderio for a 39-yard score and a 20-13 lead with 1:33 left.

Following a McDaniel punt, Ursinus got the ball back with 23 seconds left and Decristofaro found Desiderio for a 52-yard bomb and a 27-13 lead.

McDaniel cut the lead to 27-16 with 11:51 left as junior kicker Jake Nichols booted a 24 yard field goal. The Bears answered with a field goal of their own, as freshman kicker Michael Bennett (Maple Glen, Pa./La Salle College HS) nailed a 38 yard field goal with seven minutes left for a 30-16 score.

On Ursinus' next offensive possession, Decristofaro found Desiderio for a  70-yard touchdown pass anda  36-16 lead. Following a block of Bennett's PAT, senior defensive back Chris Kolb returned it 90-plus yards for two points, making the score 36-18 with 4:29 left in the third.

The final score came with 8:16 left as Decristofaro capped a nine-play, 44-yard drive with a eight yard scoring pass to junior wide receiver Storm Miller (Jenkintown, Pa./Father Judge) to make the final score 43-18. On the next drive, Ursinus got the ball at the McDaniel 13 yard line, following an interception by sophomore defensive back Buddy Ferro (Clifton Heights, Pa./Episcopal Academy).

Defensively, junior linebacker Greg Martell (Levittown, Pa./Neshaminy) and junior defensive back Joe Henry (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) each had six tackles. The Bears netted nine pass breakups, with senior defensive back Shane Whalen (Landenberg, Pa./Avon Grove) had three.