QB-Turned-WR Leads Football Team to Road Win

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Men’s soccer Women’s soccer, volleyball

Usually Dan Deighan is on the throwing end of the Muhlenberg football team’s touchdown passes.

But against Juniata, the junior starting quarterback found himself on the other side as he hauled in a pair of scoring grabs from sophomore Joe Carlucci. The defense held Juniata without an offensive touchdown for the fifth straight game as the Mules grabbed a 28-3 win on a brisk afternoon in Huntingdon.

In a rare twist, after winning the toss, Muhlenberg chose to take the ball.

That move paid off instantly as senior Chase Nadell cut to the right sideline and returned the opening kickoff 74 yards to the Eagle 6-yard line. Two plays later, junior Terrence Dandridge scored from 2 yards out to

Shane O'Connor
Junior Shane O'Connor made eight tackles, all solo.
give the Mules a 7-0 lead just 52 seconds into the game.

“That was big,” senior captain Patrick McDonough. “I’m used to just going out and saying, ‘defer,’ but Chase made a great play and that really deflated them and got us started.”

But everything wouldn’t go as easily for the Mules as Juniata (0-7, 0-6) responded by turning a Muhlenberg (4-3, 4-2) turnover into a field goal on its first drive of the second quarter.

After having a hard time finding a rhythm, Muhlenberg’s offense took over at its own 20 with 2:22 to play in the first half.

With Carlucci in the shotgun, Deighan lined up in the

Marcus Toomey
Toomey caught six passes for 96 yards.
slot to his right. After faking to the outside, Deighan broke to the middle, where Carlucci hit him in stride for an 80-yard touchdown to give Muhlenberg a 14-3 lead, which it took into the locker room.

“I felt good out there,” said Carlucci, who had attempted just 17 career passes entering the game. “We had a good gameplan and there are a lot of talented guys around me. I’ve mentally taken every rep in my head, and Coach Brown has really helped me in practice. So when I got out there, it was all just a matter of putting it together on the field.”

After the Mule defense ended Juniata’s first two drives of the second half with interceptions, senior Victor Taiwo jumped on an Eagle fumble to set the offense up at the Muhlenberg 43. The fumble recovery came on the only snap the Eagle offense would take in Mule territory the entire second half.

Carlucci hit junior Marcus Toomey on a 38-yard pass to the Juniata 18, and junior J.T. Merklinger picked up those 18 yards on two carries to make it 21-3 Mules with 2:45 to play in the third quarter.

Then on its next drive, Muhlenberg went 83 yards in nine plays, capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Carlucci to Deighan, to finish the scoring.

Carlucci completed eight of 12 passes for 181 yards and the two scores. He and Deighan combined for 242 yards through the air.

Sophomore Richard Reid ended Juniata’s final drive with his second interception of the game, and from there the Mules ran out the clock.

After allowing 149 yards of offense in the opening half, Muhlenberg’s defense tightened, limiting the Eagles to just 89 yards, 15 on the ground, and four first downs, while also forcing four turnovers in the second half.

McDonough led the defense with 14 tackles, including four for loss with two sacks

Deighan caught three passes for 113 yards and added a team-high 55 on the ground to help the Mules surpass the 400-yard mark for the first time since last September.

“I think we needed to pick it up on offense and hold up our end of the bargain,” Carlucci said. “The defense comes to play every week, and I think this game really helped pick up our confidence on offense. We played pretty well; this was huge for us.”
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