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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, September 15, 2007

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Women’s soccer, field hockey Cross country, men’s soccer, volleyball, men’s tennis

Football team still zeroed in

Aitkens (41) and sophomore Cameron Ahouse (4) combine to bring down a Union ballcarrier in the second quarter. Through two games, Muhlenberg opponents have 51 carries for minus-17 yards.
It couldn’t have gone much better for the Muhlenberg football team in its home opener.

Junior John DeLuca rushed for a career-high 122 yards and the defense posted its second straight shutout as the Mules blanked Union, 34-0, avenging a 34-7 defeat at the hands of the Dutchmen last year.

The Mules, who opened the year with a 15-0 blanking of New Jersey, have started a season with back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1948, when the opponents were Boston University and Youngstown State. Muhlenberg has not allowed a point in 142:23, dating back to last year’s finale.

Union managed only three first downs – two in the final 30 seconds – and 87 total yards, turning the ball over four times. Sophomore Frank Emmett led Muhlenberg’s defense with six tackles, while senior Chris Musselman recorded two sacks
Erik Snyder
Junior Erik Snyder was on his way to a touchdown on this third-quarter carry, but had to settle for a 53-yard gain to the 5 after he bumped into a teammate. He finished with a career-high 88 yards on only 10 carries.
and sophomore Dan Aitkens forced and recovered a fumble.

The Dutchmen threatened to snap the shutout streak on their final drive, gaining a first down at the Muhlenberg 14 (their first time past the Mule 47) with 19 seconds left. On second down, the Union quarterback fumbled, and junior Joel Haddock recovered to seal the shutout.

The last time the Mules recorded back-to-back shutouts at any point in a season was 2002.

DeLuca’s 28-yard run on the third drive of the game set up the first touchdown, a 37-yard pass from junior Eric Santagato to senior Matt Johnson on fourth down. The Mules dominated the rest of the first half but added only three more points, on a 38-yard field goal by Jordon Grube with 5:31 left in the half.

A bad snap that resulted in a 28-yard loss and an interception inside the 5 in the last minute of the half prevented Muhlenberg from scoring more. Santagato also had a touchdown run called back by a penalty.

Santagato capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard run midway through the third quarter to extend the lead to 17-0. DeLuca’s 22-yard reception on second-and-14 helped keep the drive alive.

For the second week in a row, the Mules put the game away by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns, on rushes of 5 yards by Santagato and 16 yards by backup quarterback Jim Jeffers.

Muhlenberg amassed 385 total yards, with Santagato and Jeffers completing passes to eight different receivers. The Mules also had a good day on special teams. Junior Brandon Doyle averaged 13.4 yards on five punt returns, and junior David Mazzola dropped three of his five punts dead inside the 2-yard line. He also picked off a pass for the second week in a row.

Click here for box score.

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