Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, October 15, 2005
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ON PAGE 2 . . . CROSS COUNTRY, SOCCER and VOLLEYBALL
FOOTBALL BEATS URSINUS ON FAKE PUNT
Ryan Merrill Ryan Merrill Ryan Merrill
Next time you’re at a football game and hear a coach yelling “watch the fake!” on a fourth-and-long, don’t laugh.

Fewer situations have seemed less conducive to a fake than the one the Muhlenberg football team faced against Ursinus: tie game, fourth-and-6 from its own 26-yard line with about four minutes to play in an important Centennial Conference game against Ursinus.

But the Mules did run the fake, and it worked perfectly: Junior Ryan Sassaman hit
muddy field
Despite muddy conditions, the Mules played a turnover-free game for the first time this season.
wide-open sophomore Ryan Merrill, who only had to sidestep the Bears’ return man to complete a 74-yard pass play that gave Muhlenberg a stunning 21-14 win.

The victory was the second straight for the Mules (3-3, 2-1) and extended Ursinus’ CC losing streak to 20. The last five of those losses were all by eight points or fewer.

“We talked about running the fake the punt before, so I was ready for it,” said Sassaman, who came to Muhlenberg as a quarterback. “Both our wings went out and I saw their guys coming at me, so I knew I’d have a guy open. It’s exciting to be able to step up and make a big play like that.”

The winning touchdown pass also was a bit of redemption for Sassaman, whose previous punt had been blocked, giving the Bears (2-4, 0-2) the ball at the Mule 14. But the defense held Ursinus without a yard on the next three plays, and a 30-yard field-goal try fell short.

After the improbable touchdown, Muhlenberg still had to stop Ursinus twice to preserve the lead. The Bears’ second-to-last drive ended when senior Will Corbin made a fourth-down tackle from behind near midfield, and Merrill slammed the door by intercepting a pass at the 6-yard line with 21 seconds left.

Muhlenberg, shut out in the first half for the first time since 2000, came out throwing to open the third quarter and erased a 7-0 deficit with two touchdown passes by sophomore Matt Johnson. He found junior Stephen Montalto with 29-yard pass to cap the first drive of the second half, then hit senior Kyle Douglass with a 24-yard scoring strike with 11 seconds to play in the third.

Ursinus tied the score on an 11-yard run with 9:54 to play.

Johnson, making his second career start at quarterback, completed 19 of 29 passes for a career-high 209 yards and did not throw an interception. Douglass caught a career-high nine passes for 105 yards.

Senior Mark Bennett led the Mule defense with 10 tackles, while senior Dan McCall had 1½ sacks, two pass breakups and his school-record-tying fourth fumble recovery of the season.

Click here for box score.


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated October 15, 2005