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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, November 1, 2008

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Soccer, field hockey, volleyball Cross country

football clinches tie for cc title

The Muhlenberg football team is outstanding at executing plays on the field, but what it does best can’t be shown with Xs and Os: It knows how to win.

Overcoming the adversity of an injured top player, two special teams miscues, two close officiating calls that went the other way late in the game and an inspired comeback attempt by the home team in front of a large crowd, the Mules defeated Dickinson, 31-25, for their 20th win in 21 games.

The victory gave second-ranked Muhlenberg (8-0, 6-0) a
Patrick McDonough, Mark Accomando
Sophomores Patrick McDonough (22) and Mark Accomando (43) team up to stop Dickinson quarterback Ian Mitchell. Accomando finished with a team-leading eight tackles, one more than McDonough.
share of the Centennial Conference title for the second year in a row and the sixth time in the last eight years. The Mules can claim the title outright and earn the CC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning either of their final two scheduled games.

Muhlenberg scored three first-quarter touchdowns, but a Dickinson team that nearly erased a 33-point deficit at Johns Hopkins earlier this season did not go away. The Red Devils (4-4, 3-3) cut a 14-point deficit to two by scoring 12 points in the second quarter, two on a blocked punt that went out of the end zone for a safety.

The Mules went into the locker room reeling, not only because their lead was almost gone, but also because senior John DeLuca, who scored two of the first three touchdowns, was out of the game with an injury. He missed half of the second quarter and most of the third, but came back in the fourth to make some big plays.

Although neither netted any points, two long drives that started in the third quarter, one lasting 5:39 and the other consuming 8:53, helped Muhlenberg take away Dickinson’s momentum. On the second drive, junior Phil Cresta caught a ball near the goal line on third-and-19, but it was ruled that the ball hit the ground before the catch.

The Mules took over at the Red Devil 31 following an exchange of punts with 9:41 left in the fourth. Four straight DeLuca runs
John DeLuca
DeLuca follows the block of sophomore Mark Bigelli (75) to score the Mules’ first touchdown.
took the ball to the 1, and on the next play senior Erik Snyder dove over the pile to extend the lead to 28-19.

Dickinson came right back and needed only 1:37 to drive 70 yards for a touchdown. A missed extra point left the score at 28-25 with 5:45 on the clock.

Muhlenberg fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the loose ball rolled near the sideline. An official originally signaled Muhlenberg ball, but after a conference changed the call, giving Dickinson the ball at the Mule 47.

On third down, senior Brandon Doyle intercepted a pass to stop the Red Devil drive with 5:02 left.

Muhlenberg moved the ball inside the Dickinson 10 quickly, the key play a 48-yard completion from Eric Santagato to Cresta with the defense expecting a run. The Mules had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from sophomore Michael Katz, giving the Red Devils a chance to win with a touchdown and 2:23 to work with.

Two plays after the kickoff, Dickinson was already at the Muhlenberg 45. A sack by junior Jeremiah Lachaud set the Devils back, and consecutive pass breakups on third and fourth downs by junior Cameron Ahouse sealed the win.

Even though his action was limited, DeLuca finished with 141 yards on 24 carries, and Cresta caught eight passes for a career-high 160 yards. (corrected 11/3) It was the fifth time this year that both went over 100 yards. Santagato was 17-of-23 for 224 yards.

Katz tied the school record for consecutive extra points made (36).
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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