Palladino Has Record Day in Football Win at Ursinus

Saturday, November 9, 2013 - page 2

The last two times the Muhlenberg football team played Ursinus, the defense had to make a play on the last snap of the game to preserve a win. This time, the offense made sure that wouldn’t be necessary.

Jon Seddon
Junior Jon Seddon had one of the Mules' four sacks.
Nick Palladino passed for 339 yards, a school record for freshmen, and was responsible for a school-record-tying five touchdowns as the Mules won thier fifth straight game, 41-10 at Ursinus, to move into sole possession of second place in the Centennial Conference.

With one game remaining in the regular season, the Mules (7-2, 6-2) can finish no worse than tied for second. This will be their sixth first- or second-place finish in the last seven years.

Palladino completed 17 of 26 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for a score. His yardage total broke the school record for a freshman of 290 yards, set by Justin Jones against Ursinus in 1999, and was the third-most by a freshman in CC history. Palladino’s five total touchdowns tied the school record set five times previously, most recently in 2006.

Three of his scoring passes went to junior Cody Geyer on plays of 53, 16 and 63 yards. Geyer finished with eight catches for 181 yards, both career highs, and was the first Muhlenberg player to catch three touchdown passes in a game since 2003.

Although the Mule defense allowed 331 yards, it picked off three passes, including two by freshman John Feaster, whose six picks this season are the most by a Muhlenberg player since 2002.

Mike Harris
This catch made Harris the fifth Mule to score at least five touchdowns this year. He has three TD catches and two TD runs.
The defense started quickly, as sophomore Matt Pagano intercepted a slant pass on the first play from scrimmage. It was the third time this year that the Mules forced a turnover on the first play from scrimmage, and five plays later Palladino squirmed in from 2 yards out to give Muhlenberg a 7-0 lead just 2:05 into the game.

Ursinus (6-3, 5-3), which held a fourth-quarter lead at nationally ranked Johns Hopkins in its last game, threatened to score later in the first quarter after recovering a fumble at the Mule 28. But the defense broke up two passes and stopped a run for a 1-yard loss, and a 46-yard field goal try went wide.

Palladino’s 18-yard pass to sophomore Mike Harris doubled the lead to 14-0 with 8:06 left in the half. After a short Muhlenberg punt from deep inside its own territory, the Bears got on the board on a 32-yard field goal with 59.1 seconds left in the half.

The Mules took possession with less than 50 seconds left and moved down the field on three short passes. On the next play, Palladino took his shot deep and found Geyer over the middle for a 53-yard score with just 9.9 seconds on the clock.

Junior Connor Winter missed the 35-yard extra point (after a Mule penalty), snapping his CC-record streak of 55 straight makes and leaving the score 20-3 at the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, Muhlenberg broke the game open with touchdowns by Geyer on back-to-back passes from Palladino. The duo hooked up on a 16-yard pass three plays after Palladino’s 66-yard pass to junior Michael Long got the Mules out from their own territory.

Feaster picked off a pass on the second play after the kickoff, and on the next play after that Palladino hit Geyer from 63 yards out. Geyer has made a play of at least 60 yards in five straight games.

Senior Chris Litzenberger caught five passes for 60 yards for the Mules, and junior Gene Blanco led the defense with 10 tackles.
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