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Juniata football falls to Ursinus, 44-26, in Centennial debut

(Posted September 15, 2007)

JUNIATA FOOTBALL FALLS TO URSINUS 44-26 IN CENTENNIAL CONF. DEBUT HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Juniata College couldn't hold a 20-19 halftime lead and fell to Ursinus College, 44-26, in the Eagles' Centennial Conference debut in front of 1,800 fans on Saturday afternoon at Knox Stadium in Huntingdon, Pa. Ursinus' three third-quarter touchdowns off the arm of quarterback Nicholas Dye gave the Bears' the lead, ending the see-saw contest and eventually blowing a tight game wide open. Dye's first scoring pass came just six seconds into the second half, when Dye hooked up with Mike Weyrauch on a 54-yard scoring play off the first play from scrimmage. Dye would connect with James Sproule and Shea Wisler on 14- and 22-yard TD passes later on in the third quarter. Juniata (0-2, 0-1 Centennial) opened the game with an impressive eight play, 66-yard march down the field after receiving the opening kick-off, closing the drive with Kyle McKechnie's (Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) two-yard touchdown run. Ursinus responded with scores on each of its next two possessions, with a 33-yard touchdown strike to Wisler and later connecting with Sproule on a 13-yard score. The two teams traded the lead throughout the second quarter. Juniata grabbed a 14-13 lead following another lengthy drive and eight-year TD catch by Chad Steiner (Frederick, Md./Frederick) from Jay Leonard (Newville, Pa./Big Spring). That drive was keyed by Chris Kolb's (Keymor, Md./Francis Scott Key) 16-yard rush on a fake punt play, on fourth-and-10 at the Ursinus 41-yard line. The lead didn't last long. Ursinus' Ryan Van Wright returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Bears still held a 19-14 lead with 2:28 left in the half. Leonard engineered yet another long drive to give Juniata the halftime lead, finally connecting with Lance Tippett (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) on a 13-yard TD reception with 33 seconds left on the clock. After Ursinus began to pull away from Juniata in the third quarter, the two teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Tippett pulled in a 51-yard TD catch from Leonard with 6:04 left in the final frame, cutting the Ursinus lead to 38-26. A two-point conversion attempt that would have cut the margin to 10 points failed, leaving Juniata two touchdowns behind the Bears. Ursinus' Eric Rembert closed out the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run with 4:49 left on the clock. Leonard finished the day 22-of-40 for 316 yards, with two interceptions - including a second quarter pick in the endzone - and three touchdown passes. Tippett had a career-high 192 yards receiving, surpassing his previous high of 154 yards in the 2006 FDU-Florham game. Tippett's TD catch in the fourth quarter also put him over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career, with 54 career receptions for 1,024 yards. McKechnie tallied 38 yards rushing on the day. Defensively, Matt Schmidt (Spring Grove, Pa./South Western) had a game-high 11 tackles, including eight solo stops. For Ursinus, Dye was 19-of-28 for 299 yards and five touchdowns, equaling the school single game record for TD passes. Wisler hauled in five of those passes for 104 yards receiving, while Rembert was Ursinus' leading rusher with 96 yards. Juniata will host Franklin & Marshall College next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Knox Stadium. -30-

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.