NEW CONCORD, Ohio — Senior quarterback Darrien Fields threw for three touchdowns leading Marietta College to a 46-20 win over rival Muskingum University Saturday (Sept. 15) in the annual Shrine Trophy game.
The Pioneers improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. This is Marietta's first 3-0 start to a season since 1972. The Fighting Muskies fall to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the OAC.
"I'm really excited to the get the win versus a tough physical Muskie football team and keep the Shriners Trophy in Marietta," marietta head coach Andy Waddle said. "I thought we had a much better week of practice and it showed throughout the game. Especially on defense being able to create the number of turnovers that we had and that was huge towards the overall team success."
Junior running back Tanner Clark, the reigning OAC Offensive Player of the Week, set the tone for the day when he took the opening kickoff back 90-yards for a touchdown. Clark would provide the Pioneers with good field position most of the afternoon with kick returns of 36 and 51 yards to go along with the opening touchdown.
Muskingum got within a point, 7-6, when Marvis Hood ran it in from the 3-yard line with 6:45 left in the first quarter. The Muskie extra point attempt was off the mark.
Marietta responded with 16 straight points to take a 23-6 lead into halftime. Fields connected with Ryan VanMeter on a 7-yard scoring strike and then hooked up with Andrew Barker for a 31-yard touchdown. Jimmy Embrescia added a 30-yard field goal for the final points of the first half.
Fields completed 22-of-34 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Barker added a touchdown reception in the second half and finished with five catches for 134 yards and two scores. Maguire Morris had nine receptions for 93 yards.
"I thought they did a good job of slowing down our running game but that opened up the opportunity for Darrien and our receivers to be more involved in the game and that's what we want to be as a football team with a balanced attack," waddle said. "We're excited about where we are right now but understand that we have a lot of work in front of us to continue to reach the goals that we have worked for this season."
Following a Muskingum touchdown to start the third quarter, Clark picked up his second score of the day when he ran it in from four yards out with less than a minute left in the third. Clark finished the day with 80 yards rushing on 16 carries.
If it wasn't Clark's kick returns setting up the Pioneer offense, it was Marietta's defense. The Navy Blue and White picked off five Muskie aerials with sophomore Khaleel Danzy grabbing a pair of interceptions. Fellow sophomore Tay Pryor provided the final blow of the day with a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the game.
Muskie quarterback Brody Hahn completed 17-of-36 passes for 24 yards. But he was picked off four times. Jordan Garrett was 4-of-12 passes for 44 yards and 1 touchdown with one interception.
Garrett was Muskingum's leading rusher with 56 yards on 8 carries. Cameron Near ran for 45 yards on 10 carries. Amin Shaheed caught five passes for 109 yards.
Jake Tracewell led all tacklers with 11 stops for the Pioneers. Garrett Davis added 10 tackles. Nehemiah Bowie and Brandon Schon each had 10 tackles for Muskingum.
Following a bye week, Marietta returns home to host Ohio Northern University on Saturday (Sept. 29). Kickoff at Don Drumm Stadium is set for 1:30 p.m.