Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, November 13, 2004
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After a season in which the breaks – both literal and figurative – all seemed to go the other way, the Muhlenberg football team finally had everything fall into place on the last day of the regular season.

The Mules (8-2) defeated archrival Moravian, 28-14, and got the results
Jerome Beverly
Beverly’s 66-yard run in the third quarter was the Mules’ longest since 1999.
they needed in five other games to earn the Centennial Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row.

Narrow three-point wins by Johns Hopkins (against McDaniel) and Dickinson (against Ursinus), combined with Franklin & Marshall’s 38-20 victory over Gettysburg, left the CC with an unprecedented five teams tied for the championship. The tiebreaker was strength of schedule, and Muhlenberg edged out Johns Hopkins thanks to a win by Union and a loss by Rochester.

The Mules, who shared their fourth straight CC title, will learn their assignment for the first round of the NCAAs on Sunday at 1:00 on a show broadcast by ESPNews. Team members plan to gather in Moyer Forum to watch the selection show.

“The character of the guys on this team is unbelievable,” said senior co-captain Frank Santini. “All season we have just overcome obstacle after obstacle ... This season has really been a great story and the great part is that it’s not over yet.”

Santini plays tackle on an offensive line that has blocked for five different featured tailbacks this year, due to injuries. Four of the five recorded 100-yard games, with the fifth just missing. The latest member of the club was sophomore Jerome Beverly, who came into the Moravian game with career totals of one carry for three yards but exploded for 111 yards on only 11 carries.

The top-ranked defense in Division III held the Greyhounds (7-3), who came in averaging 428 yards per game, to 194 yards. The defense allowed only six of the 14 points and pressured Moravian’s quarterback into just nine completions in 31 attempts.

The game started on an auspicious note for the Mules, who began their first drive on the 4-yard line after a 53-yard punt. On third down, Muhlenberg was called for a holding penalty in the end zone, giving Moravian a safety and a 2-0 lead.

The Greyhounds took the ensuing drive to the Mule 27-yard line, but Muhlenberg averted further damage with the first of its five fourth-down stops.

The Mules, by contrast, were 4-for-4 on fourth downs, all leading to first-half touchdowns. With 3:32 left in the first quarter, sophomore tight end Stephen Montalto took a screen pass from Nick Rosetti on fourth-and-4 and rambled 28 yards down the left sideline, diving into the end zone for a touchdown that gave Muhlenberg its first lead at 6-2.

Muhlenberg got the ball right back when senior Brian Hendershot recovered his own
A swarming defense held Chris Jacoubs, the fifth-leading rusher in Division III, to 94 yards on 26 carries.
onside kick and drove 54 yards in 11 plays for a second touchdown. A 3-yard run by sophomore Keith Shalvoy on fourth-and-1 kept the drive alive. Freshman running back Matt Johnson lined up at quarterback and carried the ball in on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on the fourth play of the second quarter.

Late in the quarter, sophomore Dustin Martin blocked a punt, giving the Mules possession at the Moravian 20. On fourth-and-1 from the 11, Johnson bulled his way for a first down, and two plays later Rosetti hit sophomore Chris Giannini with a 5-yard touchdown pass to push Muhlenberg’s lead to 20-2.

That was all the scoring until a wild sequence produced three scoring plays in the first 19 seconds of the fourth quarter. The Greyhounds started on the Mules’ 27 following a fumbled punt and reached the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter with the first offensive touchdown allowed by Muhlenberg in 24 quarters.

Senior Ryan Peer blocked the extra-point try, however, and after several exchanges the ball ended up in the hands of freshman defensive back Ryan Merrill, who outran his pursuers into the end zone for the first defensive extra point in Mule history.

Junior Phil Gasker returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to extend Muhlenberg’s lead to 28-8. Moravian recovered a fumble in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, following Gasker’s interception at the 3-yard line, to close out the scoring.

Peer received the Bianco Award as the Mules’ game MVP. He tied for a team-high seven tackles and put pressure on the Greyhounds’ passer and kickers all game long.

Junior Justin Adair intercepted a pass on the final play of the game and tied a school record with his 13th pass breakup of the season. He is part of a secondary that has not allowed a touchdown pass in 238 attempts.

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Last updated November 13, 2004