September 1, 2012

Misericordia Drops Football Debut at Gettysburg

The first football game in Misericordia University history is in the books.

While the 70-0 final score wasn't in the Cougars favor, they'll learn from it and move on.

"We certainly were hoping for a better result," said Misericordia head coach Mark Ross.  "But, I thought we played hard for the entire game.  We'll look at the film and see what we can do better next week."

Things didn't go MU's way from the outset as Gettysburg won the coin toss and took the opening kickoff 89 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown just 15 seconds into the game.  After a bobbled snap, the Bullets converted the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

Following a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Robin Custodio ran for five yards on the first offensive play from scrimmage in MU history.  The drive then stalled deep in MU territory, but the Cougars picked up the first first down in school history on a roughing the kicker penalty.

Quarterback Jeff Puckett connected with tight end Thomas Stelzer for a nine-yard gain for a first down and the first completion in school history with 11:15 to go in the opening quarter.

The Bullets went down the field on an eight-play, 82-yard drive for a 15-0 lead with 6:52 left in the first quarter.  Later in the opening period, the Bullets converted a fourth-and-one to extend a 12-play, 76-yard scoring drive and a 22-0 lead with 2:06 remaining.

Despite the outcome, Ross was encouraged by his team's effort.  "We asked our kids to play hard for the full 60 minutes and I thought they did that," said Ross.  That's a tough offense to go up even for an experienced team.  We kept the penalties and the negative plays to a minimum."

Gettysburg made 29-0 on the first play of second quarter as they finished off a four-play 50-yard drive.

On the next offensive possession, MU put together one of their best offensive series with a nine-play drive.
After a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Cougars a first down at their own 38, MU quarterback Jeff Puckett rolled to his right and found Paul Brace down the right sideline for a 22-yard gain to the Gettysburg 41.

Puckett, a freshman, was impressive in his collegiate debut with 113 yards on 13-21 passing.  "We like what we see in Puckett," said Ross.  "He made some positive plays and made good decisions with the ball."

Brace was on the receiving end of five of Puckett's throws and led MU with 52 yards, including the 22-yarder reception.
After Gettysburg scored to make it 36-0, Puckett led the Cougars into Gettysburg territory again with a 10-play drive that ate up more than four minutes.

Puckett rolled left and found tight end Thomas Stelzer over the middle for a first down and Brace hauled in a tipped ball for a 17-yard gain and a first down in Gettysburg territory.

Puckett picked up nine yards on the ground and found Kurt Kowalski for a seven-yard gain, but the Gettysburg defense picked up a sack on a fourth down to take over with 3:28 to go in the first half.

Gettysburg tacked on two touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters for the final margin.

Brandon Salazar led the MU defense with six tackles while Michael Comerford and Michael Craig both had five stops.

Jake Livingston had two tackles and forced a fumble while Tanner Bulkley had two tackles and recovered a fumble.

Misericordia will open its MAC schedule next Saturday at Lebanon Valley and will host Widener in the first home game, September 15.
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