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Late Juniata rally not enough to get past Gettysburg

(Posted October 13, 2007)

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - A Juniata College fourth-quarter rally proved to be too-little, too-late, as the Eagles fell to Gettysburg College, 42-21, in front of 3,381 Homecoming weekend fans at Musselman Stadium in Gettysburg, Pa. Juniata (0-6, 0-5 Centennial) totaled 353 yards of offense against the Bullets, including 246 yards off the arm of junior quarterback Jay Leonard (Newville, Pa./Big Spring). Senior Lance Tippett (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) was Leonard\'s favorite target during the afternoon, pulling in seven receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown. Freshman tailback Derek Kramer (Newville, Pa./Big Spring) rambled for 63 yards on 13 carries, while fellow rookie tailback Kyle McKechnie (Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) rushed 20 times for 43 yards, including a pair of TD runs. Defending against the run again proved to be a issue for the Eagles, who allowed the Bullets to rush for 364 yards on 53 carries - an average of 6.7 yards per carry. Gettysburg also managed 104 yards through the air, and finished the day with 457 yards of total offense. Defensively, Tyler Hall (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) led the Eagles with 12 tackles, including seven solo stops, to go with 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, a fumble forced and a fumble recovered. Safety Brandon Spayd (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon) finished the day with eight tackles, five of which were solo. Trailing 35-7 following a Gettysburg touchdown with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter, Juniata began its comeback drive with a 10-play, 67-yard scoring march that was capped by McKechnie\'s one-yard TD rush. The drive was propelled in part by a 22-yard Leonard-to-Tippett pass that put the ball on the Gettysburg one-yard line, as well as a Bullet personal foul penalty that moved the ball out of Juniata territory and into the Bullet end of the field. After forcing the Bullets to go three-and-punt on their next possession, Juniata took over at its own two-yard line. Five plays later, Leonard found Tippett on an 82-yard TD pass play that cut the Gettysburg lead to 35-21 with 4:30 remaining. Gettysburg recovered the ensuing on-side kick, and went on a scoring drive that managed to consume 3:08 while traveling only 38 yards. Bullet running back Tom Sturges finished the drive with a six-yard TD rush, one of his two touchdown carries on 181 yards rushing during the day, that expanded the Gettysburg lead to 42-21. Leonard efficiently moved the Eagles back down field, aided by a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, but had a potential touchdown pass intercepted by Gettysburg\'s Nick Duerr in the endzone. Gettysburg initially built a 14-0 lead in the first half, thanks to a 36-yard TD catch by Matt Welsh and a 25-yard scoring run by Charles Curcio. Juniata trimmed the lead to 14-7 in the final minute of the half, thanks to a two-yard touchdown rush by McKechnie. The Eagles squashed Gettysburg\'s opening drive of the second half, after Spayd forced a fumble that was recovered in the Juniata end zone for a touchback. Gettysburg forced the Eagles to go three-and-punt on its next possession, and the Bullets\' Curcio returned the punt 56 yards for a touchdown to widen the Gettysburg lead to 21-7 Touchdown rushes by Sturges and Rick Manigat would eventually put Gettysburg ahead 35-14, setting the stage for Juniata\'s fourth-quarter surge. The Eagles will be on the road against next Saturday when they travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to face Moravian College. -30-

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