Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, September 18, 2004
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note: several corrections have been made to this story following a review of the statistics.

Senior Jason Spencer scored on a 1-yard run with 12:08 left in the fourth quarter for the winning score as the Muhlenberg football team picked up its second victory in a row, 23-18 at Union.

The Mules won despite giving up a long touchdown pass on the game’s first play,
Tom Wargacki
In addition to scoring his first career touchdown, Wargacki made five tackles.
turning the ball over four times, missing two third-quarter field goals and suffering another injury to one of their top offensive threats.

Defense and special teams played a big role in the comeback. After allowing three long touchdown passes in the first 16:14, the defense stepped up and pitched a shutout the rest of the way, allowing only 83 more yards and even contributing to the offense with a touchdown.

On special teams, Muhlenberg blocked the extra point after the Dutchmen’s first touchdown and blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety. The go-ahead score was set up when junior Mike McCurley returned a punt 50 yards to the 2-yard line.

Spencer had a huge game after senior Mike Mrkobrad went down with an injury early in the second quarter. He finished with 100 yards – easily eclipsing his career total of 66 yards coming into the game – and scored his first career touchdown to put the Mules ahead for the first time.

Union threw a 73-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, but senior Ryan Peer blocked the extra point. Muhlenberg came out of the gates slowly on offense, turning the ball over on two of its first three possessions. The Dutchmen capitalized on the second turnover, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 5:49 left in the first for a 12-0 lead.

Union got the ball back quickly on a punt and had a first down at its own 39 when junior cornerback Justin Adair forced a fumble. The ball rolled around until it finally reached the end zone, where junior Tom Wargacki fell on it for a touchdown.

The Mules weren’t back in the game just yet, as the Dutchmen took the
Mike McCurley
McCurley had 93 yards on kickoff and punt returns and also recorded six tackles.
ensuing kickoff and marched 63 yards in 11 plays for their third touchdown. Union put together another long drive on its next possession, but missed a field goal.

Muhlenberg got a big boost from its special teams when sophomore Ryan Sassaman downed a punt at the 1-yard line. Four plays later, junior Dan McCall blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety, making the score 18-9.

McCurley returned the free kick into Union territory, and seven straight rushes put the ball at the 17-yard line. On third-and-1, senior Nick Rosetti hit sophomore Chris Giannini with a 17-yard touchdown pass, drawing the Mules to within two points with 1:28 left in the half.

Union had a chance to score early in the third quarter, following an interception, but McCurley and Gasker combined to stop a receiver short on fourth down at the Mule 23-yard line. Behind the running of Spencer, Muhlenberg put itself into position for two field goal tries, but was wide on both.

A tackle for a 6-yard loss by Peer early in the fourth quarter forced Union to punt. After fielding the ball at his own 48, McCurley had a clear path to the end zone, but slipped at the 2-yard line. On third down, Spencer pushed his way into the end zone.

Union’s best chance to go back on top came after an interception with 5:17 to play. The Dutchmen drove to the Muhlenberg 29, but an 11-yard sack by Peer on fourth down ended the threat. The Mules went on to run out the clock.

Junior Mark Bennett led the defense with 13 tackles, while junior Phil Gasker and sophomore Dustin Martin had 10 apiece. Giannini caught six passes for an even 100 yards, reaching the century mark for the second week in a row.

Click here for box score.

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Last updated September 20, 2004