Feed Your Long. Feed It!

When Nick Palladino took over as Muhlenberg’s starting quarterback, it didn’t take “long” for him to establish who his favorite target was. Michael Long snagged eight passes against McDaniel in Palladino’s first career start and has caught at least four in every game since.

Michael LongBut the freshman quarterback and junior tight end took their connection to a new, historic level yesterday.

Long set a Centennial Conference record for catches by a tight end with 11 receptions for 114 yards in the Mules’ 27-7 win at Juniata. The previous mark was 10, set by Matt Knouse of Susquehanna vs. Wilkes two years ago. No CC tight end had ever reached double digits in receptions in a league game.

“It feels great,” said Long of breaking the record. “It’s ironic that it was 11 catches and I’m number 11.

“We were just running the same usual plays. They were just working better and better, and we kept going to them over and over again.”

They might have been usual plays, but the results were far from ordinary. Of Long’s 11 catches (10 from Palladino and one from Joe Carlucci), eight went for first downs, including five on third down and one on fourth down. Here’s a rundown of the record 11 receptions:

  • first and 10 – 12 yards, first down (first play of game)
  • third and 12 – 19 yards, first down
  • first and 10 – 4 yards
  • third and 2 – 4 yards, first down
  • third and 4 – 11 yards, first down
  • third and 8 – 14 yards, first down
  • third and 2 – 5 yards, first down
  • fourth and 3 – 21 yards, first down
  • second and 18 – 3 yards
  • second and 6 – 12 yards, first down
  • third and 10 – 9 yards

Michael LongSeven of the catches came on scoring drives, and another was in a drive that ended on a missed field goal.

Long, who leads Muhlenberg and is tied for fourth in the CC with 36 receptions, was the first Mule tight end to record a 100-yard receiving game since All-American Matt Johnson in 2007. With at least three games left, Long is within striking distance of Johnson’s CC and school tight end record of 54 catches in a season – especially if he has another day like yesterday.

Long’s productivity helped the Mules convert 14 of 23 third downs, hold the ball for almost 40 minutes and set a school record with 97 plays. And even when he wasn’t catching the ball, he was blocking for an offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage.

“He can block, he can catch, he can run. He does it all,” said classmate Cody Geyer, who combined with Long to give Muhlenberg two 100-yard receivers for the first time since 2004. “It’s great to have a guy like that that the quarterback can rely on.

“He came in as a starter as a freshman, and he just keeps improving. I’d put him up there as one of the best, if not the best, tight ends in the conference.”

Weekend Preview – October 26, 2013

weekend previewOne Muhlenberg team has already qualified for the Centennial Conference playoffs, and three others will try to improve their chances on the second-to-last week of the regular season in all sports except football – which travels halfway across the state for an intriguing matchup.

Field Hockey vs. Ursinus (Saturday, 1:00)

Pink will be all around in the only home event of the weekend as the Mules raise money for the National Foundation for Cancer Research. The game will be played with a pink ball, and Play4theCure bracelets and t-shirts will be sold.

Play 4 Pink

Although Muhlenberg (7-7, 5-3) is in hot pursuit of a CC playoff berth, this isn’t the key game it might seem to be. Win or lose, the Mules (barring an unexpected result elsewhere) will still have to defeat Haverford in next Saturday’s regular-season finale to nail down the playoff spot. A win would put Muhlenberg in better position to host a first-round game, and it would also give the Mules a strong confidence boost.

Easier said than done. Ursinus (11-3, 7-1) is ranked 15th in Division III and is coming off a 4-3 win against ninth-ranked TCNJ. The Bears’ only two Division III losses are by one goal to the teams ranked sixth and seventh, and they are second in the country in scoring, averaging five goals per game.

Muhlenberg beat Ursinus in the first meeting between the two schools in 1980 but is still looking for its second series win. Although the Bears have won all 11 meetings since joining the CC in 2003, the last two games (both 2-1) were close.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/fhlive/xlive.htm

Football at Juniata (Saturday, 12:00)

This is a very different Juniata squad from the one the Mules have defeated handily every year since the teams became CC foes in 2007. The Eagles, who won a total of 10 games the last nine years, are 4-2 and poised for their first non-losing season since 2002.

Muhlenberg (4-2, 3-2) comes in with a hot defense, having allowed only one offensive touchdown in the last two games, and will face a hot quarterback in Ward Udinski, who accounts for 75 percent of the Juniata offense. The three-time CC player of the week was responsible for all four touchdowns in a 28-7 win against previously undefeated Ursinus last week, and stopping him will be of paramount importance for the Mules.

In its last two games, Muhlenberg has used a long punt return by Cody Geyer to grab the momentum, and the Eagles are vulnerable in that area – they’re allowing a CC-worst 17.5 yards per punt return. The Mule offense, meanwhile, has scored at least 30 points in eight of its last 11 regular-season games. Juniata is second in the CC in sacks but gives up 28.0 points per game.

Live stats/video: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/juniata.portal

Men’s Soccer at Ursinus (Saturday, 12:00)

Muhlenberg (7-7-1, 2-4-1) is in dire need of a win to keep its CC playoff hopes alive. Ursinus (7-7-1, 3-3-1) has been one of the surprises teams in the CC this year, posting wins against nationally ranked Dickinson and Franklin & Marshall and tying nationally ranked Swarthmore earlier in the season. The Bears have tailed off a little, however, dropping three of their last four CC games.

Muhlenberg leads the all-time series, 47-10-5, and is 19-0-1 against Ursinus since the start of CC play in 1993. The Bears haven’t defeated the Mules since 1984.

Live stats/video:http://livestats.prestosports.com/ursinus/

Women’s Soccer at Ursinus (Saturday, 3:00)

The Mules (6-8-1, 4-4) are tied for fourth place in the CC and can clinch a home playoff game for the second straight year by winning their final two games – this one, and a home contest against Bryn Mawr (1-13, 0-8) next Saturday. A loss or a tie in Collegeville could lead to Muhlenberg missing the playoffs entirely.

Ursinus (6-8-1, 2-5-1) is out of the playoff picture and hasn’t won at home since August 30. But the Bears have three one-goal losses and a tie against playoff contenders, and they also lost by just one goal to regionally ranked Scranton.

Last year, Muhlenberg posted a 1-0 win at Ursinus in the final game of the regular season to clinch a home playoff game. The Mules lead the series, 14-6, but the Bears have won six of the last 11 meetings, and the last four were all decided by one goal.

Live stats/video: http://livestats.prestosports.com/ursinus/

Volleyball at E-town October Classic: vs. Elizabethtown (Saturday, 2:00); vs. Penn State Altoona or Stevens (Saturday, 4:00)

A playoff berth already in the bag, the Mules (17-8) take a break from CC play to compete in a four-team tournament. Host Elizabethtown is 15-12, while Penn State Altoona is 14-10 and Stevens is 22-5 and ranked second in the New York Region by the NCAA.

Live stats (Elizabethtown match only): http://www.sidearmstats.com/etown/wvball/

Athletes of the Week – October 14-20, 2013

Mariah AlstonFemale Athlete of the Week – Mariah Alston, Field Hockey

Alston came into the week with no goals on the season and only one in her four-year career but scored two big ones to help the Mules to a pair of important road wins. She scored late in the first half to break a scoreless tie in an eventual 3-0 win at Swarthmore. Two days later, after Gettysburg had stunned Muhlenberg with a goal just 2:11 into the game, Alston answered by netting the equalizer only 1:45 later, and the Mules went on to win, 3-2.

Andrew OnimusMale Athlete of the Week – Andrew Onimus, Football

Onimus led a Mule defense that stymied a potent Gettysburg offense in a 35-10 win on Saturday. The Bullets came in ranked in the top 10 in Division III in total yards but were held to 295 thanks in large part to the play of Muhlenberg’s senior cornerback. He recorded a team-leading 13 tackles (11 solo), including two for loss, and he also broke up a pass. In a second-half stretch in which the Mules pulled away, Onimus made two third-down stops two yards short of a first down and also broke up a third-down pass.

Athletes of the Week

Weekend Preview – October 18-19, 2013

weekend previewFootball and cross country return to action after a week off, and the other fall teams gear up for a playoff push two weeks before the end of the regular season.

Field Hockey at Gettysburg (Friday, 3:30)

The Mules have it all in front of them as they seek to earn a postseason berth. Muhlenberg (5-7, 4-3) and Gettysburg (8-4, 3-3) are tied in the loss column (along with 3-3 Haverford) for fourth place in the Centennial Conference, two games behind third-place Ursinus. The last three CC opponents for the Mules? Gettysburg, Haverford and Ursinus.

Gettysburg is second in the CC in scoring, averaging 3.8 goals per game, and has scored at least four in every game of its current five-game winning streak. Muhlenberg has allowed only 12 goals in its last 10 games, with three shutouts in the last four.

Gettysburg leads the all-time series, 17-6, and has won the last five meetings since Muhlenberg’s 2-1 overtime victory in the last game of the 2007 regular season. Three of those five games were decided by one goal.

Live stats/video: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/gettysburg.portal#

Volleyball vs. Gettysburg (Saturday, 12:00); vs. St. Lawrence (Saturday, 4:00)

Muhlenberg (15-7, 5-1) and Gettysburg (12-10, 5-1) are tied for second place in the CC. If Johns Hopkins beats Haverford Friday night, that will become a three-way tie. The Mules have won nine of their last 11 matches, while the Bullets bring in a three-match winning streak.

Gettysburg holds a 26-2 series lead. The Mules’ lone wins came in their two playoff seasons. In 2001, they defeated the Bullets in the regular season but lost to them in the CC championship match, and in 2009, they pulled out a five-set win in the regular-season finale.

The second match has less riding on it but is interesting for the fact that Muhlenberg will take on St. Lawrence (located in Canton, N.Y., near the Candadian border) exactly one week after facing Millsaps (located in Jackson, Miss.). To drive from one school to the other would take about 22 hours.

Live stats (both matches): http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/vblive/topview.htm

Women’s Soccer vs. Gettysburg (Saturday, 1:00)

Even though the Mules (6-7-1, 4-3) lost to Swarthmore on Wednesday night, they should be in good position for a playoff berth if they can win two of their last three games. The first one won’t be easy: Gettysburg (10-1-3, 5-1-1) has outscored its opponents by a 31-5 margin this year and received two votes in this week’s D3soccer.com poll.

Gettysburg holds a 15-7-2 series lead and has won the last three meetings, all by shutout. Muhlenberg’s last series win was a 2-1 home victory in 2009.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/wsoclive/xlive.htm

Men’s Soccer vs. Johns Hopkins (Saturday, 7:00)

Far and away the top two programs in the 21-year history of the CC, Muhlenberg (7-5-1, 2-2-1) and Johns Hopkins (5-6-2, 2-2-1) are two of the five teams in a logjam in the middle of the CC standings. The Mules, playing their final home game of the season, are coming off a stretch in which they went 3-1-1 while playing four teams that were regionally ranked at the time of the game.

These two teams are no strangers to each other. The Blue Jays lead 15-10-4 in a series that includes eight postseason meetings. All but one of the Mules’ 10 wins have come in Allentown, including a 2-0 shutout last year.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/msoclive/xlive.htm

Football at Gettysburg (Saturday, 1:00)

All 10 CC teams return to action after the league-wide bye, and Muhlenberg will try to repeat its second-half effort of last year, when it averaged 40.0 points a game in winning its last five regular-season contests.

On the surface, it looks like the Mules (3-2, 2-2) have a good chance to put up a lot of points against a Gettysburg (3-2, 2-2) defense that is allowing 35.0 points and 504.2 yards per game. But Muhlenberg, which is averaging 37.8 points per game, has had notorious trouble offensively at the Battlefield, scoring only 30 points in its last four visits.

Gettysburg leads the all-time series, 43-33-1, but Muhlenberg has won 10 of the last 13 meetings.

Live stats/video: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/gettysburg.portal#

Cross Country at Gettysburg Invitational (Saturday, 11:00)

This will be the first race in two weeks for the men’s team and the first in nearly a month for the women. For both teams, it will be the final tuneup for the November 2 CC Championship meet.

Men’s Golf at RU-Camden Scarlet Raptors Fall Invitational (Friday, 12:30)

Muhlenberg closes out its fall season with a trip to South Jersey. Last month, Rutgers-Camden won the Muhlenberg Invitational.

Play of the Week – September 30-October 6, 2013

Cody GeyerThe temperatures on Saturday made it feel more like July than the first week of October, and the hottest play of the week was a sizzling punt return by junior Cody Geyer of the football team.

With the Mules trailing 5-0 six minutes into the second quarter and desperately needing a spark, Geyer provided it, racing 82 yards from the Muhlenberg 10 to the Susquehanna 8 to set up the game’s first touchdown two plays later. The Mules closed out the half on a 17-0 run and went on to win, 38-18.

Geyer set a school record in the game by averaging 35.0 yards on four punt returns, and he was named Centennial Conference special teams player of the week.

For a video of Geyer’s punt return, and other highlights of the football game from Service Electric TV2′s live broadcast, click here: http://youtu.be/YwIPRRnNKjo

Here’s another “MuhlBox exclusive” view of the punt return from TV2′s broadcast:

Cody Geyer punt return

The football win was one of several successful results for the Mules over the weekend. Field hockey, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer all defeated Washington College and men’s cross country won a 42-team race, making for a near-perfect weekend, even if the weather was less than ideal for this time of year.

To see some more top plays from men’s soccer, volleyball and field hockey, click here: http://youtu.be/Inn6ynz10tk

Athletes of the Week – September 30-October 6, 2013

There were many great performances in a strong week for Mule teams. Top honors go to …

Joanne JosephsonFemale Athlete of the Week – Joanne Josephson, Volleyball

Josephson made the most of her hits in a 3-0 week for the Mules, hitting .406 with only three errors in 32 attempts. In the two Centennial Conference matches against Bryn Mawr and Washington, she hit .524, recording six kills in only nine attempts in the former. Josephson also had 8 blocks and 4 service aces in the three matches.

Jeremey ThomasMale Athlete of the Week – Jeremey Thomas, Football

Thomas filled up the stat sheet in the Mules’ 38-18 home win against Susquehanna on Saturday. He had five tackles for loss among his seven stops for a Muhlenberg defensive unit that allowed only 144 yards, nine first downs and three points. One of his tackles for loss was a sack that forced a fumble on a third-down play, and he also intercepted a pass.

Athletes of the Week - Oct. 7, 2013

Weekend Preview – October 4-6, 2013

weekendpreview_smallThe first weekend of October includes a Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday in addition to a full slate of home events.

Field Hockey vs. Washington College (Friday, 7:00)

Muhlenberg’s Homecoming was two weeks ago, but this is the field hockey team’s homecoming. The Mules (3-6, 2-2) haven’t been at home in three weeks, playing five consecutive road games.

Their return to Scotty Wood Stadium is for a key game. Washington (3-5, 2-1) has been to the Centennial Conference playoffs each of the last three years. The Shorewomen have won the last three games against Muhlenberg to take a 12-9 series lead.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenbeg.edu/sports/fhlive/xlive.htm

Live video: http://www.livestream.com/muhlenberg

Volleyball vs. Washington College (Saturday, 4:00); vs. Hood (Saturday, 4:00)

Dig for a CureMuhlenberg will be hosting a tri-match while Digging for a Cure: All of the Centennial Conference volleyball teams are joining forces again this year to raise money for Tanner’s Touch, a non-profit organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research. Teams are collecting pledges for each dig recorded in a preselected match.

The Mules’ designated match is against Washington, and it’s an important one between two teams looking to reach the upper echelon of the CC. The upstart Shorewomen (12-5, 2-1) have already swept two 2012 CC playoff teams (Gettysburg and Swarthmore). With a win, Muhlenberg (9-5, 3-1) will improve to 4-1 at the midpoint of the CC season for the first time since 2001.

Muhlenberg leads the all-time series against Washington, 18-2. Hood, the Mules’ second opponent, brings a record of 4-10.

Live stats (Washington match only): http://washcoll.prestosports.com/sports/wvball/live_stats

Football vs. Susquehanna (Saturday, 1:00)

Last year, Muhlenberg lost at Susquehanna, 17-0, for its first shutout loss in a Centennial Conference game since 1996. The Mules hope to avoid a repeat and head into the bye week on a winning note.

Even though the Crusaders are winless, they were leading in the fourth quarter of one of their losses and tied in another. They have already used three starting quarterbacks this season and rolled up 544 yards of total offense at Gettysburg last week.

Muhlenberg (2-2, 1-2), which has scored at least 58 points in each of its two home games, will try to take advantage of a Susquehanna defense that is allowing more than 480 yards per game. The Mules lead the all-time series, 11-10.

Live TV: Service Electric TV2

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/livestats/xlive.htm

Live video: http://www.livestream.com/muhlenberg

Women’s Soccer vs. Washington College (Saturday, 1:00)

Muhlenberg is playing at home for only the third time this season, and the first in two weeks. The Mules (4-5-1, 2-1) have never lost to the Shorewomen (3-4-2, 0-2), outscoring them by a 50-3 margin in 15 meetings.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/wsoclive/xlive.htm

Men’s Soccer vs. Washington College (Saturday, 4:00)

It’s been a very balanced season in the Centennial Conference; only a third of the way through, no team has an unblemished record and every team has at least one point. Of the 15 league games to date, only one was decided by more than one goal.

So even though the Mules (5-5, 1-2), coming off back-to-back games against teams ranked in the top 20 in Division III, have a 23-1-2 series lead against Washington (5-4-1, 0-2-1), expect a close game. The Shorewomen lost only 1-0 to nationally ranked Franklin & Marshall and tied regionally ranked McDaniel.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/msoclive/xlive.htm

Live video: http://www.livestream.com/muhlenberg

Cross Country at Paul Short Run (Saturday)

One of the largest cross country meets in the country, the 40th Paul Short Run will include more than 6,000 runners from over 450 teams in 14 races. It will be largest field the Mules have run in this year, and it will be on the same course as their other big meet, next month’s NCAA Mideast Regional.

Men’s Tennis at Oneonta State (Saturday, 12:00); Men’s Golf at Mason-Dixon Classic (Saturday-Sunday)

Men’s tennis wraps up its fall season with a trip to New York, while men’s golf heads south for a two-day tournament hosted by McDaniel.

Weekend Preview – September 28-29, 2013

weekendpreview_smallMuhlenberg faces nationally ranked opponents in football and men’s soccer on the last weekend in September.

Men’s Soccer vs. Franklin & Marshall (Saturday, 7:00)

This is not what the doctor ordered for the Mules (4-4, 0-1), who have lost three in a row and scored only one goal in their last 280 minutes. Franklin & Marshall (7-0-1, 1-0) is ranked in the top 15 in both Division III polls and is one of only two teams in NCAA men’s soccer that is unscored upon this season. (The other is Division II Lander.)

The Diplomats lead the all-time series, 30-27-5, but the Mules have the upper hand since the start of Centennial Conference play, 13-7-2, including two postseason wins. F&M’s last win in Allentown came in 2005.

Live stats: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/msoclive/xlive.htm

Live video: http://www.livestream.com/muhlenberg

Field Hockey at Dickinson (Saturday, 11:00)

The Mules (2-5, 1-1) are playing the fourth of five consecutive road games and will try to reverse the outcome of the first three, all of which they lost 2-1. Dickinson (5-2, 2-0) has already matched its Centennial Conference win total from a year ago, including a 1-0 defeat of 2012 CC finalist Haverford. Muhlenberg won last year’s game, 4-0, to extend its series lead to 18-12-1.

Football at Johns Hopkins (Saturday, 2:00)

These two teams have dominated the Centennial Conference since 2000, with Johns Hopkins going 70-24 (.745) and winning or sharing eight titles and Muhlenberg compiling a record of 66-28 (.702) with seven titles. No other CC team has a higher winning percentage than .553 during that span.

Hopkins (3-0, 2-0), ranked 13th by the AFCA and 16th by D3football.com, has won 23 of its last 24 CC games and is averaging 537.7 yards per game while allowing just 236.3. The only negative stat for the Blue Jays is their minus-4 turnover margin. The Mules are a CC-best plus-7.

Muhlenberg leads the all-time series, 23-21-1, but Johns Hopkins has won the last two meetings.

Live stats: http://www.hopkinssports.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mfootbl.html?event=1258893

Live video: http://www.hopkinssports.com/allaccess/?media=398643

Volleyball at Dickinson (Saturday, 2:00)

The Mules (7-5, 1-1), coming off Wednesday’s sweep of Scranton, will try to avenge a disappointing five-set loss to the Red Devils last year. Muhlenberg leads the all-time series, 18-14, but has not won in Carlisle since 2001. Dickinson (5-8, 0-2) was swept by Haverford and Swarthmore in its first two Centennial Conference matches of the season.

Women’s Soccer at Dickinson (Saturday, 2:00)

One of Muhlenberg’s biggest victories last year en route to the playoffs was a 1-0 win in Carlisle. Dickinson had defeated the Mules five straight times, once in the 2009 CC semifinals. This year, Muhlenberg (3-4-1, 1-1) will try to snap a two-game losing skid against a Red Devil (4-3-2, 0-0-2) squad that has been shut out in its last three games.

Men’s Tennis at ITA Southeast Regional (Saturday-Sunday)

Muhlenberg travels to Mary Washington for a weekend tournament.

Tournament site: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=143809

 

Play of the Week – September 16-22, 2013

Kevin Cellary

Kevin Cellary

The late author Michael Crichton was a master of suspenseful, thrilling novels. There wasn’t much suspense in the Muhlenberg football team’s 58-0 Homecoming win against McDaniel on Saturday, but senior co-captain Kory Crichton (no relation) was involved in a thrilling, one-of-a-kind play.

The combined 72-yard return by Crichton and Michael Long of Kevin Cellary’s blocked field goal was an easy choice for the Play of the Week.

And it was all planned. Sort of.

Kory Crichton

Kory Crichton

The Mules led, 14-0, late in the first quarter when the Green Terror lined up to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Crichton’s job on the field goal block unit was to wrap around the end to guard against a fake.

“I really wasn’t expecting it to be blocked,” said Crichton. “On the film you can see I looked back to see if the kick was good.”

But Cellary did block the kick, and when Crichton looked forward again he saw the ball bouncing in front of him. So did junior defensive end Greg DeLade, who had come around on the other side of the line.

Michael Long

Michael Long

“I looked at him, and he looked at me, and I was like, I’ll take it,” said Crichton. “I think he was acknowledging that I was faster than him.”

In high school, Crichton was an offensive lineman and did score a touchdown as the fullback in a goal-line situation, but he hadn’t played running back since his Pop Warner days. His only previous time carrying the ball as a Mule was out of the end zone on an interception return of a Hail Mary pass as time expired against McDaniel in 2011.

The 225-pound inside linebacker picked up the ball cleanly at the 28 with plenty of open field ahead of him and took off.

“Once I got to midfield, I knew some wide receiver was going to track me down,” he said. “So I started looking around.”

Michael LongEvery Friday in practice, Muhlenberg does a “witcha, witcha” drill, in which a defensive player runs the ball and players behind him say “witcha” – “I’m with you” – so the returner knows where to lateral the ball.

Long was with Crichton, behind him on the right, but that’s not who Crichton targeted. It was sophomore running back Kamal Kendrick, who was just off his left shoulder.

“I figured we practice it, so we might as well use it,” said Crichton. “As I was throwing the ball, [the McDaniel tackler] got my left arm.”

Instead of going to Kendrick, the ball bounced to the turf – right into the arms of Long, who ran it in the remaining 40 yards.

The play gave the Mules a 21-0 lead and was as deflating for McDaniel as it was uplifting for Muhlenberg.

“It would’ve been cool to score myself,” admitted Crichton. “I’m glad we scored because it was an unselfish play. I think that was kind of the dagger, and it gave our special teams some momentum that hopefully we can carry forward.

“It was a very awesome play.”

Click on the picture below to watch the video of that awesome play.

blocked field goal for TD

Upon Further Review …

Some tidbits from the football team’s 58-0 Homecoming win against McDaniel yesterday:

  • The win was the Mules’ second by more than 50 points this season – they knocked off The Apprentice School, 59-6, two weeks ago in their opener. The last time Muhlenberg won two games by 50+ points in a season was 2002, when it opened with a 54-3 victory against Kings Point and made its NCAA Tournament debut with a 56-6 defeat of Mass.-Dartmouth. The last time the Mules had three 50-point wins in a season? 1947.
Senior Kevin Van Laar dives for the first of his two touchdowns.

Senior Kevin Van Laar dives for the first of his two touchdowns.

  • Another reference to the 1947 team: The Mules have scored 138 points in their first three games – the most since that 1947 squad put up 158 points in its opening three games.
  • Tyler Cerbo brings back one of the Mules' three interceptions. McDaniel's quarterback threw for only 61 yards on 28 attempts.

    Tyler Cerbo brings back one of the Mules’ three interceptions. McDaniel’s quarterback threw for only 61 yards on 28 attempts.

    Freshman Nick Palladino quarterbacked Muhlenberg to the big win in his first career start, accounting for 334 yards of total offense on 264 passing and 70 rushing. Although he fell a little short of the school record for passing yards by a freshman in a game (290), he’ll get other chances this year. Something he won’t get another shot at: Palladino was the first Mule freshman to win his first start since Doug Donovan in 1990.
  • The defense kept McDaniel off the board for the second straight year and the third time in the last four years, marking the fifth straight season that the Mules have recorded at least one shutout. That’s the longest streak since Muhlenberg had at least one shutout for six straight years from 1999 to 2004. The Mules can match that next season, but to get to the school record they’ll have to keep going for a long, long, LONG time. Muhlenberg recorded a shutout every year from 1905 to 1943 in an era when (presumably) the offenses were less sophisticated.
  • Unquestionably, the play of the game was a 72-yard combined blocked field goal return for a touchdown in the first quarter. McDaniel was trying to cut its deficit to 11 points but instead found itself in a three-touchdown hole.

blocked FG returnJunior Kevin Cellary blocked the kick (1) and senior Kory Crichton recovered (2). Crichton returned the ball (3) into McDaniel territory and, as he was being wrapped up, tossed it back to junior Michael Long (4), who ran it the final 40 yards for the first of his two touchdowns (5).

The touchdown was the Mules’ 25th on special teams since 1999, and they have come in all different manners:

  • kickoff return – 11
  • blocked punt recovery/return – 7
  • punt return – 2
  • fake punt – 2
  • fake field goal – 1
  • recovery of fumbled kickoff return – 1
  • blocked field goal return – 1