Allentown, Pa. – The Muhlenberg College football team scored touchdowns on eight of nine possessions in a span from the first through third quarters and went on to defeat The Apprentice School, 59-6, in its home and season opener.
The 59 points were the most scored by the Mules in their first game of the season since a 67-0 shutout of East Stroudsburg in 1924.
Senior Joe Carlucci, making his first Opening Day start for Muhlenberg, accounted for four touchdowns, passing for two and running for two. After throwing incompletions on his first two attempts, he finished 11-of-15 for 167 yards.
Muhlenberg outgained the Builders, 542-213, with 289 of their yards coming on the ground. Kevin Van Laar rushed for a career-high 72 yards, while Thomas DiCarlo added 61 and backup quarterback Nick Palladino, a freshman, rushed for 55 and a touchdown while passing for 46 yards and a score.
The Mules punted on their first two possessions before taking over at the Apprentice 44 on their third. Van Laar caught a 5-yard pass on third-and-4 for a first down, then carried the ball the remaining 33 yards on six consecutive plays.
Carlucci's 48-yard pass to Joe Hogh set up the second score, with the same two players hooking up on a 5-yard TD pass with 24.6 seconds left in the first quarter.
A 3-yard pass from Carlucci to Michael Long and scoring runs of 1 yard by Palladino and 25 yards by Carlucci accounted for the three Muhlenberg second-quarter touchdowns. The Builders' lone score came on a 14-yard pass from Jonathan Whelan to Kyle Elmore with 7:22 left in the half. Prior to that scoring drive, they had managed just one first down.
Short TD runs by Van Laar and Carlucci extended the lead in the third quarter. Palladino threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Mike Harris with 2:40 left in the quarter, and a 27-yard field goal by Casey Fosbenner five seconds into the fourth ended the scoring.
Receiver Cody Geyer accounted for 122 all-purpose yards for the Mules, including a 53-yard kickoff return following the Apprentice touchdown. He also threw a 40-yard pass to Harris.
Jeremey Thomas had two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Brock Bullock led the Builder defense with 14 tackles.