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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, September 19, 2009

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Football chases down first win

The Muhlenberg football team didn’t waste any time breaking its halftime deadlock with Union in its first home game of the 2009 season. It cut right to the Chase.

Sophomore Chase Nadell returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards for a touchdown, and the defense made it stand up for a 17-7 win over the Dutchmen, who came in ranked 22nd in Division III following last
week’s upset of then-No. 8 Ithaca.

Click at left to watch a video of Nadell’s return, as seen on Service Electric Cable TV2.

“This was a huge win for us,” said senior nose tackle Ewan Wright. “It gives a lot of confidence to this team. We put a lot of work in the last two weeks and it paid off. We definitely played up to our potential.”

Wright and his defensive mates especially played big, forcing three turnovers and limiting Union to only 50 total yards and three first downs in the second half. The Dutchmen managed only nine first downs for the game, and had just two plays of longer than 22 yards and three drives of more than five plays.

Turnovers contributed to both first-half scores. Early in the second quarter, the Union quarterback fumbled after being sacked by senior Jeremiah Lachaud. Senior Frank Emmett
Joe Montemurro
Junior Joe Montemurro rushed for 19 of his 38 yards on the Mules’ first touchdown drive.
returned the fumble 7 yards to the Union 16, and six plays later freshman Justin Kreamer hit senior Phil Cresta on a slant at the goal line on third down from the 7 to give the Mules the first points of the game.

Still ahead 7-0, the Mules took over on their own 19 with 1:38 left in the half, but on third down Kreamer was intercepted near midfield. Two plays later, Union completed a pass along the left sideline for a 42-yard gain to the 1. Muhlenberg’s defense pushed Union back to the 7 on the next two plays, but on third down a completed pass on a fade in the end zone tied the score at 7-7 with 12.4 seconds left in the half.

In the Mules’ first game of the season, a big play near the end of the first half (a blocked field goal) gave Wilkes the momentum it needed to overcome a 10-point deficit. Whatever momentum Union had going into the locker room was quickly erased when Nadell took the second-half kickoff, faked a handoff to freshman Terrence Dandridge and found a clearing on the right side of the field. He sidestepped the kicker near midfield
Andy Curley
Junior Andy Curley came in on a blitz and sacked Union quarterback Drew Connolly on the first play after an interception in the fourth quarter.
and outraced the rest of the Union coverage team to the end zone.

It was the first touchdown return of the second-half kickoff by a Muhlenberg player since 2002.

“I was happy about it because I got an extra long rest,” joked junior guard John Allen, part of a line that possessed the ball for 22:20 in the second half and 38:38 for the game. “It was good to get the lead like that to start the half. It really took the pressure off the offense.”

Union’s best drive of the second half stalled at the Muhlenberg 40 with nine minutes to play in the third quarter, and the punt was downed at the 1-yard line. The Mules then marched 95 yards in 16 plays, taking 8:49 off the clock and extending their lead to 10 on a 21-yard field goal by junior Michael Katz on the first play of the fourth quarter. The key play of the drive was Kreamer’s 34-yard run on a draw play on third-and-3 from the 18.

The Dutchmen never made it into Muhlenberg territory in the fourth, and the Mules ran off the final 5:35 of the game.

Dandridge rushed 24 times for 112 yards for his second straight 100-yard game. Cresta’s six catches moved him into fifth place on the Mules’ all-time list with 111 for his career. (corrected 9/20)

Junior Patrick McDonough led the defense with 9 tackles, while Emmett had 7 and also tipped a pass that was intercepted.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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