Muskingum suffers first loss of the season against Heidelberg

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NEW CONCORD, OHIO, October 8, 2011 - The Muskingum University football team suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday against Ohio Athletic Conference foe Heidelberg University, 17-7.

With the loss, Muskingum slips to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the OAC. The Muskies are in a three-way tie for second place in the league with Heidelberg and John Carroll University. Muskingum plays at John Carroll on Saturday, October 15. The game will be broadcast live on WMCO 90.7 FM and simulcast on the Muskingum Web Broadcasting Network located on the Muskingum athletic web site beginning with the pregame show at 1:15 p.m.

With the win, Heidelberg moves to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference. Heidelberg took advantage of five Muskingum interceptions - all of them coming when the Muskies were in Student Prince territory - and churned out 381 yards of total offense to notch the road win.

The Berg took an early 3-0 lead on a 20-yard Dan Kilger field goal at the 12:34 mark of the first quarter. The score capped off a seven-play, 35-yard drive that opened the game. Heidelberg extended its margin to 6-0 on a Kilger 39-yard field goal in the final minute of the first quarter. Heidelberg used a nine-play, 45-yard drive to set-up the score.

Muskingum grabbed the lead on sophomore quarterback Dalton Smith's 18-yard touchdown run at the 5:51 mark of the second quarter. The scamper completed a six-play, 59-yard drive. Following a three-and-out by Heidelberg, Muskingum took possession with 4:41 on the clock at the Heidelberg 42. The Muskies marched to the Berg 11 and on a fourth-and-five had their fourth down conversion attempt intercepted by Tyler Lavanduski at the one-yard line. Heidelberg drove to the Muskingum 11-yard line and had a 28-yard field attempt blocked by senior linebacker Ethan Wetzel to end the half.

In the third quarter, Heidelberg reclaimed the lead with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with Michael Mees hitting CJ Powell for a six-yard touchdown pass. Mess then hit James Sheahan for a two-point conversion to give Heidelberg a 14-7 edge.

The Muskies penetrated Berg territory several more times in the half only to be halted by interceptions. At the 10-minute mark of the final frame, Muskingum faced a fourth and eight from the Heidelberg 36. Muskie junior punter Danny Snively attempted to hit junior running back Palmer Smith for a first down - but the pass was intercepted by Craig Sykes and returned to the Muskie 26. Four plays later, Kilger booted a 28-yard field to complete the scoring.

Dalton Smith led the Muskie offense, which posted a season-best total 356 yards, with 271 yards of total offense. He rushed for 102 yards and one score on 19 carries and went 18-of-37 for 169 yards with four interceptions. Senior wide receiver Antowan Logan caught a game-high seven receptions for 84 yards and sophomore wide out James Washington hauled in three grabs for 37 yards. Senior running back Palmer Smith rumbled for 55 yards on 16 totes.

The Muskie defense was led by senior linebacker Alex Thomas who registered a game-high 17 tackles with one tackle for loss and one pass break-up. Junior safety Tyler Richardson added seven stops and senior linebackers Ethan Wetzel and James Beatty each logged six hits.

Michael Mees led the Heidelberg offensive attack going 14-of-30 for 194 yards and one touchdown. He also added 24 yards on the ground. Running back Germany Woods led all rushers with 136 yards on 33 carries. Powell led the receivers with five receptions for 94 yards and one score. Mario Escalante had four grabs for 49 yards.

Craig Sykes paced the Berg defense with 13 tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception for 39 yards. Chadd Williamson added nine stops and Dawson Gore had six hits.