The Muhlenberg College football team scored twice in just under five minutes in the first half, and the Mules added a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to post a 28-0 win over Moravian College in Centennial Conference action Saturday at Scotty Wood Stadium in Allentown to close out the 2011 season.
The Mules finish the year at 7-3 with junior running back Terrence Dandridge earning the Bianco Award as the Muhlenberg Most Valuable Player after 22 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown and one reception for 23 yard. Moravian completes the season at 2-8, and junior defensive back Travis King was the Greyhounds' MVP with two interceptions, three tackles and a pair of kickoff returns for 38 yards.
Muhlenberg received the opening kickoff after Moravian deferred the coin toss. The Mules ran three plays before punting over to the Greyhounds. Moravian also ran just three plays before brining junior Tyler Thompson on to punt.
The Mules had a three-and-out on their second drive while the Greyhounds would get a first down on a nine yard run by junior quarterback Matt Johnson. Moravian's drive would stall and end with a punt to the Muhlenberg 19-yard line.
Muhlenberg would pick up its initial first down in the game on a Moravian penalty on the next possession. Sophomore quarterback Joe Carlucci ran for a pair of first downs before a long screen pass to Dandridge to get into the red zone. Three plays later Carlucci hit junior wide receiver Marcus Toomey in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Senior kicker Gregg Mercogliano added the extra-point to give the Mules a 7-0 lead with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
Moravian would start its next drive at the Greyhounds' 24-yard line but junior running back C.J. Billera was hit in the backfield by Mules' senior defensive lineman Kenneth Cobb, forcing a fumble that Muhlenberg senior linebacker Patrick McDonough covered at the Moravian 20-yard line.
Starting in the red zone, the Mules ended up facing a third down and seven when Carlucci attempted a pass to junior quarterback/wide receiver Dan Deighan. However, the pass was high and King made a diving interception at the three-yard line.
Johnson hit senior tight end Mike Zanoni with a pair of completions for first downs to move the ball up the field to the Moravian 31 yard line. However, Johnson was intercepted by Muhlenberg senior defensive back Chris Hartzell, who returned the ball 34 yards for a touchdown. Mercogliano's extra-point pushed the Mules' lead to 14-0 with 12:12 to go in the second quarter.
Billera ran for 22 yards on the first play of Moravian's next drive as the Greyhounds moved the ball past midfield for the first time in the contest. The drive would stall, and Moravian punted again.
Thompson's punt was downed at the Muhlenberg two-yard line. The Mules would get a first down on a run by Dandridge but Deighan ended up punting. The short punt was downed at the Muhlenberg 40-yard line but Moravian failed to pick-up a first down on a fourth-and-one play.
The Mules picked up a first down before King intercepted Carlucci at midfield. King appeared to return the interception for a touchdown but a penalty during the return put the Greyhounds' offense at the Muhlenberg 14-yard line. For King, it was his team leading fifth interception of the season and his second straight two interception game. On second down, another penalty pushed Moravian back to the 24-yard line, and the Greyhounds ended up turning the ball over on downs.
Muhlenberg ran one play before letting the clock run out and head to the locker room with a 14-0 lead.
The Greyhounds received the opening kickoff of the third quarter but would punt after three plays. The Mules started their first drive of the second half at their own three-yard line after a penalty on the punt. Junior running back J.T. Merklinger ran for 32 yards on the first play of the possession but three plays later, the Mules would punt.
Moravian picked up two first downs on its next drive on passes from Johnson to Zanoni before the drive stalled near midfield and ended with a punt by Thompson. The Mules also picked up two first downs before a punt on their next possession.
The Greyhounds started with the ball at their own 22-yard line late in the third quarter. Moravian picked up a first down on a pass from sophomore quarterback Robbie Moyer to Zanoni but the Greyhounds would punt. Thompson's punt came under pressure and was downed after five yards.
The Mules would need just two plays to extend their lead with Deighan connecting on a 30-yard touchdown pass with junior wide receiver John Gruver. Mercogliano made the lead 21-0 with 13:12 left in the fourth quarter.
On the first play of Moravian's drive, the snap sailed over Moyer's head and was recovered at the Moravian ten-yard line by Muhlenberg senior linebacker Matt Musick. Dandridge would score on a three-yard run. Mercogliano pushed the Mules' lead to 28-0 with 11:26 remaining in the contest.
Moravian was unable to move the ball and punted after three plays.
Muhlenberg took over at its own 25-yard, and the Mules put together a long drive to the Moravian seven-yard line but the Greyhounds' defense would hold. Mercogliano attempted a 25-yard field goal but it was wide right.
The Greyhounds started their next drive at their own 20-yard line. Johnson found junior wide receiver Albie Moran with a first down but three plays later, Johnson was sacked from behind by Cobb and fumbled. Mules' freshman defensive lineman Greg DeLade covered the ball at the Moravian 36-yard for the Muhlenberg.
The Mules turned the ball over on downs with Moravian taking over with 23 seconds left in the game. A run by Billera would end the game.
Muhlenberg ran 66 plays in the game for 320 yards, and the Mules held onto the b all for 34:10. Carlucci completed five of 13 passes for 29 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and he ran for 18 yards on three attempts while Deighan was two-for-five for 53 yards and a touchdown, and Deighan added 35 yards on 11 carries, caught one pass for two yards and punted four times for an average of 34.2 yards. Merklinger added 52 yards on seven carries to go with Dandridge's 126 yards. Muhlenberg had seven different players each make one reception in the game.
Moravian had 139 yards on 55 plays in the game with Johnson completing 11 of 20 passes for 85 yards and an interception. Zanoni caught six passes for 50 yards in his final career game while Moran, Billera and senior wide receiver Ray Olivo each had two catches. Billera led the Greyhounds' rushing attack with 27 yards on seven carries while Johnson had 22 yards on 17 carries after being sacked four times. Junior running back Joe Tegan had ten yards on six carries while Moyer had three yards on two rushing attempts and completed one of two passes for six yards. Thompson punted seven times in the game to finish the year with 71 punts, one shy of the school record, for 2,327 yards, which is a new Moravian record.
McDonough led the Muhlenberg defense with ten tackles and a fumble recovery while Cobb had six tackles with one and a half for loss, one and a half sacks and two forced fumbles. Freshman linebacker Ian Gimbar also had six tackles for the Mules with one and a half for loss while junior defensive back Shane O'Connor added five stops.
Senior defensive back D.J. Wacker led Moravian's defense with ten tackles while sophomore defensive back Brandon Lesko added six stops. Senior defensive linemen Allen Petros, Seth Payne and Patrick Gordon each had five tackles in the game as did senior linebacker Stephen Kircher. Gordon added a sack while Petros was held without a tackle for loss for the first time in ten games, since playing Muhlenberg in 2010, and just the second time in 34 games. Petros finishes his career with a school record 63 and a half tackles for loss and second in school history with 28 sacks. Senior linebackers Ryan Hartzell, Evan Bauer and Douglas DiMattia all had four tackles in their final career game with Hartzell and Bauer making one tackle for loss