Mount Union routs Muskingum
By JEFF ZUPANIC
The names and faces change but the script rarely follows suit. Mount Union won its 29th Ohio Athletic Conference title and clinched the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs following its 52-10 win over Muskingum on Saturday afternoon.
The Purple Raiders (9-0, 8-0) got off to a hot start with three touchdowns in the first eight minutes and never looked back against the Muskies. Junior quarterback D’Angelo Fulford continued his torrid streak and threw two touchdowns in that span to senior wide receiver Luke Herrington.
The Stuebenville High School grad had four catches for 112 yards in the first quarter alone. Herrington even showed some speed with a 78-yard catch and run that nearly became a third touchdown before he was tackled at the 1.
“They have a couple of really fast defensive backs so I wasn’t sure I was going to get a long gain there. Once I had the ball I just started taking off then I saw Jared [Ruth] on my left side so I went around him and that probably gave me an extra 10 yards,” Herrington said. “Those guys [Ruth and Justin Hill] command so much attention that it has been opening up holes for me.”
Sophomore Josh Petruccelli got the points on the next play and traded scores with Herrington as Mount Union led 28-3 at halftime. The Purple Raiders ran 11 fewer plays than the Muskies (4-5, 3-5) yet nearly doubled them up in yardage (272-126) in the first two quarters.
Mount Union put the game away with 10 points in the first five minutes of the second half to lead 38-3. Senior Lou Berry blocked a field goal and Gabe Brown picked the ball up and returned it for an 80-yard touchdown to make it 45-3.
Berry has blocked two FG attempts this year and both have been returned for scores by teammates.
“Lou almost got the first one and we saw their operations from the snap to the kick were running a little slow and we got the second block,” said Mount Union head coach Vince Kehres. “Lou has worked hard on making those plays and it gives us a nice weapon on special teams. Those kinds of plays are difference makers.”
Kehres pulled his starters in the third quarter. Fulford finished 14 of 18 for 236 yards and 3 TDs. Petruccelli had his 100-yard game streak stopped at 3 games as he finished with 68 yards on 16 carries.
Senior Danny Robinson had two sacks. Brown added an INT before his touchdown return.
“I think we left some things out there and we need to look at ourselves and clean them up,” Robinson said.
All of the Purple Raiders’ 30 playoff appearances and 29 conference titles have come since 1985. They’ll close out the regular season at home against Marietta on Saturday.
“I thought we were OK today. There were some things we did well and others that we need to address and clean up,” Kehres said.