DEFIANCE, Ohio – The 2011 football campaign got off to a rough start for the Yellow Jackets, as an aggressive Muskingum defensive unit controlled the line of scrimmage and boosted the visitors to a 24-7 victory over Defiance inside of Justin F. Coressel Stadium on Saturday.
The DC offense found itself on its heels throughout the majority of the opening half, mustering just 20 total yards of offense in 35 snaps. The Jackets saw 14 of those plays end with a loss of yardage and allowed eight sacks in the opening 30 minutes of action.
Muskingum failed to capitalize however, until a blocked punt deep in DC's own territory set the Muskies up on the two-yard line with 1:58 left in the opening quarter. MU punched it in on the ensuing snap to grab a 7-0 advantage.
The gap would widen midway through the second period, after a pivotal fourth down off-sides penalty on Defiance on its own 10-yard marker gave Muskingum a fresh set of downs. MU would need only one more play, using a five-yard scamper to double the lead to 14-0 with 36 ticks left in the half.
The big blow came on the first play of the fourth quarter, as Muskingum struck for a 67-yard touchdown pass to gain a 21-0 cushion with 14:50 remaining.
Defiance answered that score with a long touchdown reception of its own a few plays later, as Brian Mircovich made a leaping catch on a Rick Powell offering and shook loose for a 58-yard sprint down the visitor's sideline. The Jackets would get no closer than 21-7 however, as Muskingum tacked on a late field goal and rolled to the 24-7 triumph.
Drew Kuesel did his part for the Purple and Gold, powering to 3.9 yards per carry to end with 47 yards on 12 rushes. Mircovich and Nick Wiedenhoft each hauled in three catches, with Mircovich's 58-yard touchdown reception highlighting his career-best 66 receiving yards on the afternoon.
The defense and special teams were led by the play of Tony Sierra, as the safety piled up a team-leading eight tackles and added 92 yards on four kick-off returns. Blaine McGowan and Hunter Robertson also chipped in with eight stops.
Defiance (0-1) will look to rebound on September 10, when it hosts Adrian (1-0) in a 1:30 pm start inside Coressel Stadium.