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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, September 6, 2008

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football comes back to win opener

Phil Cresta
Cresta made three Wilkes defenders miss ...
Despite all the rain that fell onto Scotty Wood Stadium before and during most of the Muhlenberg football team’s 2008 season opener against Wilkes, the offensive unit could never be considered wet behind the ears.

The experienced offense showed its veteran poise, rallying for two touchdowns in the last seven minutes to take back a game they had dominated statistically but were in danger of losing. The result was a 34-21 win that extended the Mules’ regular-season winning streak to 12.

“It wasn’t our best game, but we found a way to win,” said junior Phil Cresta, who caught the go-ahead touchdown.
Phil Cresta
... on his way to the end zone.

Despite rolling up 496 total yards against a defense that ranked seventh in Division III last year, Muhlenberg found itself in a 21-20 hole when Rob Johnson completed a 10-yard pass to Jason Prushinski with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter.

Erik Snyder was stuffed at the 21-yard line after just a 3-yard return on the kickoff, but the Colonels drew an offside flag. On the re-kick, Snyder ripped off a 26-yard return to the 42. Five plays later, Cresta turned a pass from senior Eric Santagato into a 32-yard touchdown, giving the Mules a 27-21 lead with 6:48 left.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ewan Wright forced a fumble, and Michael Kellum recovered at the Wilkes 28. Five plays later, senior John DeLuca ran 5 yards for an insurance score.

Santagato (18-of-26, 308 yards, 3 TDs,
Frank Emmett
The Mule defense recorded three sacks in the last four minutes, including this one by Frank Emmett that forced an intentional grounding penalty.
no interceptions), DeLuca (167 yards on 33 carries) and Cresta (152 yards on 7 catches) all put up outstanding offensive numbers. It was only the second time that Muhlenberg had a 300-yard passes, 150-yard runner and 150-yard receiver in the same game. The 300-yard effort was the first of Santagato’s career.

Muhlenberg outgained the Colonels, 323-111, in the first half, but went into the locker room with only a 17-7 lead. Santagato threw scoring strikes of 14 yards to DeLuca (on a shovel pass) and 25 yards to Snyder (on fourth down), but the Mules had two drives end on fumbles and another on a missed field goal. Wilkes cut the margin to three on a touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.

Senior Matt Rathbun led the defense with eight tackles. Junior Jake Floyd, making his first career start at defensive end, made three tackles, all behind the line of scrimmage.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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