October 15, 2011

Gettysburg Stops Muhlenberg, 14-10

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Gettysburg held Muhlenberg College to just 220 yards, including a mere 90 over the final three quarters, as the Bullets defeated the Mules 14-10 in a key Centennial Conference match-up at a sunny, wind-swept Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium.

The two teams entered the game locked in a three-way tie with Ursinus College for second place in the Centennial Conference standings. Gettysburg (4-2, 4-1 CC) now finds itself tied for second with only Ursinus, a 21-7 winner over Juniata College on Saturday. No. 16 Hopkins University defeated Dickinson College 47-6 Friday night to remain in first place by one game.

The Bullets, who entered the game leading Division III in total offense (552.4 ypg), won despite being held 162 yards and 33 points below their season totals. Gettysburg also entered the day ranked second in the nation in scoring (47.8 ppg).
Gettysburg trailed 10-0 after the first quarter but outscored the Mules 14-0 over the second and third quarters.

Sophomore receiver Aden Twer turned in another big performance, catching five passes for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns –a 73-yarder and a go-ahead 19-yard grab. Twer, ranked 10th in Division III in receiving yards entering the game, has gone over 130 yards in four of his six games this season. He has now caught three go-ahead touchdown passes for the Bullets this season.

For the second game in a row senior cornerback Tyler Fasanella came up with a big defensive play in the clutch, intercepting a pass at the Muhlenberg-30 with 3:58 left. Gettysburg was then able to run out the remainder of the clock, getting a big fourth-down conversion on a 1-yard run from junior quarterback Kody Smith with less than two-and-a-half minutes to go.

Muhlenberg's 220 yards were the fewest gained by a Gettysburg opponent since, ironically, the Mules were held to the same amount in a 20-3 Bullet victory in 2009, and it was the fewest points scored by a Gettysburg opponent since a 34-3 win at Moravian College in 2009. In addition, the Mules were limited to just 102 yards rushing, the fewest by a Bullet opponent since Muhlenberg's 61 in 2009.

Gettysburg saw a pair of school and conference-record streaks come to a close. The Bullets had entered the game with a six-game streak of scoring 40 or more points and an eight-game string of 30-point games.

Senior quarterback Kyle Whitmoyer rushed for 80 yards on 12 carries for the Bullets while passing for 91 yards, completing 7-of-17 passes. Smith threw for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 7-of-13 passing while junior tailback Ted Delia carried the ball 18 times for 61 yards, none bigger than his three-yard gain on a third-and-one that gave the Bullets a first down at the Muhlenberg-8 with a minute-and-a-half to go and the Mules out of timeouts.

Terrence Dandridge ran for 65 yards on 24 attempts for Muhlenberg (3-3, 3-2 CC) while Dan Deighan threw for 118 yards and one touchdown on 14-of-29 passing.

Junior linebacker Larry DelViscio made a game- and season-high 13 tackles, including 11 solo stops, for Gettysburg. Senior linebacker Marc Graziano added a career-high 11 stops.

After recovering a Gettysburg fumble on the game's opening drive, Muhlenberg scored on its first two possessions. Deighan hit Tyler George with a 24-yard touchdown pass with 9:40 left in the opening quarter, and after a Bullet three-and-out, Gregg Mercogliano booted a 44-yard field goal through gusting winds that made it 10-0 with 5:53 on the clock.

Gettysburg punted again before coming up with a big defensive stop. The Mules went for the touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but for the second play in a row Deigan was brought down at the line of scrimmage by Graziano as the Bullets took over on downs.

It didn't take long for Gettysburg to march the 98 yards, as all but 25 came on one play. Smith found Twer streaking down the left sideline for a 73-yard touchdown pass to make it 10-7 with 14:35 to go in the first half.

The remainder of the quarter did not end well for the Bullets offensively, as the next five drives resulted in a fumble, two blocked field goals, an interception, and a punt. However, Gettysburg's defense forced five consecutive punts while holding the Mules to one first down.

The Bullets came within a yard shy of taking the lead into halftime. On Muhlenberg's final possession of the half,  Deighan was intercepted by senior safety Joe Delaney, whose 28-yard return set up his team at the Mule-38 with 10 seconds left. After a 17-yard run by Whitmoyer, the Bullets spiked the ball with only seconds remaining. Whitmoyer then found senior wing John Pesce over the middle for a 25-yard gain; however, officials ruled that he was stopped inches shy of the goal line with the clock reading all zeros.

A mistake on the first drive of the second half nearly cost Muhlenberg, as a dropped snap by the punter gave the Bullets the ball as the Mule-22. But the on the next play, the Mules regained possession on a Gettysburg fumble.

Muhlenberg was forced to punt yet again on its second drive of the half, leading to a game-winning nine-play, 66-yard touchdown drive that culminated in Smith's 19-yard scoring strike to Twer. Senior Rob Pennella connected on his second extra point to set the final score with 6:15 left in the third quarter.

Gettysburg's defense did the rest, holding the Mules to 85 yards and four first downs on their final four drives.

In his first game at punter, freshman Freddy Caruso pinned Muhlenberg at its own 2-yard line with a 49-yard punt two plays before Fasanella's big interception.

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