NEW CONCORD, OHIO, September 24, 2011 - The Muskingum University football team stunned ninth-ranked Ohio Northern University Saturday afternoon, 27-7.
The win, the first for Muskingum over a team ranked in the top 25 since 1995 when it beat #25 Baldwin-Wallace College 17-0, moved the Muskies to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Muskies are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the league with Capital University and the University of Mount Union. The last time Muskingum started a season at 3-0 was in 1996. Muskingum hits the field next at Wilmington College on Saturday, October 1. Game time is slated for 2:00 p.m.
Muskingum scored 27 unanswered points to notch the huge upset victory. Ohio Northern grabbed an early 7-0 lead at the 11:21 mark of the first quarter on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Rue to Justin Wilson. The scoring drive was set-up by a Muskingum fumble on its opening possession.
Muskingum tied the game a 7-7 with a 10-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with sophomore quarterback Dalton Smith's four-yard touchdown run with 5:51 on the clock in the first quarter. Smith ended the game going 7-of-12 for 160 yards, one interception and two touchdowns. He also added 45 yards on the ground with a pair of scores.
The Muskies extended their lead to 13-7 (missed extra point) in the waning seconds of the first quarter on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Smith to senior running back Demetrius Bailey.
The Muskie offense continued its aerial assault early in the second quarter with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Smith to senior wide receiver Antowan Logan. Following sophomore kicker Caleb Carpenter's extra point, Muskingum led 20-7.
Muskingum capped off the scoring with a nine-play, 58-yard drive late in the third quarter that ended with Smith scampering in from three-yards out. The touchdown gave the Muskies a 27-7 lead.
The Muskingum defense, which leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss, registered seven sacks for 44 yards, 10 tackles for loss for 48 yards and two interceptions for 61 yards. Senior linebacker Ethan Wetzel led the charge with 11 tackles and one sack. Senior linebacker Alex Thomas added eight hits and junior defensive lineman Steve Stooksbury racked up seven hits with one sack. Junior safety Tyler Richardson and freshman defensive back Ricardo Burks each had an interception.
Senior running back Palmer Smith led all rushers with a game-high 86 yards on 18 totes. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Bailey led the receivers with a game-best 81 yards on three receptions with one score. Sophomore James Washington had two grabs for 28 yards and Logan had one catch for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Ohio Northern was led by quarterback Tyler Rue who went 16-of-29 with one interception for 131 yards and one score. Justin Buenger, who entered the game as the third leading rusher in the OAC averaging 117 yards a game, was held to just 41 yards on 15 carries. Frank Thien led all receivers with seven receptions.
Joe Powell paced the Polar Bear defense with a game-high 12 stops, while Chad Coward added nine hits.