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Juniata football drops 41-0 decision to Centennial-rival Ursinus College

(Posted September 18, 2010)

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. -- A pair of promising first quarter Juniata College drives did not produce any points while Ursinus College was able to score on two of its first four possessions on its way to a 41-0 win over the Eagles, Saturday afternoon at Patterson Field.

Juniata's (0-3, 0-3 Centennial) opening drive gained 14 yards before stalling out at midfield. A bad snap on the Eagles' punt attempt at their own 38 allowed the the Bears to take over on downs in Juniata territory.

Ursinus moved down to the Juniata 8 on three plays, but he Eagle defense held off the Bears on three attempts to punch the ball into the endzone. Ursinus was forced to settle for a 20-yard Michael Bennett field goal.

The Eagles' ensuing possession started at their own 39-yard line, and quickly moved to the Ursinus 24 on a 29-yard pass hookup between freshman quarterback David Smyers (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic) and fullback Carrington Jones (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora). That was followed by a seven-yard pass play from backup QB Andrew Gilford (Taneytown, Md./Westminster) to Smyers on first down.

Juniata was able to gain only two yards on the second- and third-down plays and Smyers' fourth-down rushing attempt was unsuccessful, and the Eagle drive ended on the Ursinus 22 as the Bears regained possession on downs.

Ursinus responded with a 12-play, 78-yard drive to score the game's first touchdown, with quarterback Justin Decristofaro completing a three-yard pass to Nick Giarratano for the score at the 14:54 mark of the second quarter. The Bears tacked on another touchdown midway through the second quarter on a 41-yard TD strike from reserve quarterback Matt McHugh to Giarratano, giving the Bears a 17-0 lead at the 7:32 mark of the second quarter.

Juniata had a chance to put some points on the board late in the first half, when freshman Shane Yuhas (West Mifflin, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic) picked off a Decristofaro pass at the 50-yard line with 42 seconds left in the second quarter. Smyers was unable to connect on three attempts at a big yardage pass play, and Ursinus regained the ball in the waning seconds of the frame.

Ursinus scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter, to give the Bears a commanding 27-0 lead. A punt return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and an Ursinus interception that led to a fifth touchdown capped the scoring for the Bears.

Juniata finished with 109 yards of total offense, led by freshman Gino Ramires' (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) 5-of-10 effort for 58 yards. Smyers was 4-of-12 for 28 yards, while Gilford connected on both his pass attempts for 23 yards. The three Juniata quarterbacks were sacked a combined five times on the afternoon.

Junior wideout Dominic Bornman (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) hauled in five passes for 69 yards, including a 33-yard hookup from Ramires in the fourth quarter. Ramires and Bornman connected on a 19-yard play later in the drive, which was halted at the Ursinus 40 on Ramires' second intercepted pass of the day.

Defensively, freshman linebacker Kevin Gorman (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly Central) led Juniata in tackles for the third straight week. Gorman tallied seven tackles, including five solo stops, with 1.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles-for-loss. Junior cornerback Andrew Masullo (Bellefonte, Pa./Bellefonte) matched Gorman with seven total tackles, while junior lineman Brett Shippey (Bedford, Pa./Bedford), freshman safety Chris Moss (South Fork, Pa./Forest Hills), and senior safety Jordan Baird (Sayre, Pa./Athens Area) all had five total tackles.

Ursinus (3-0, 2-0 Centennial), who received votes in last week's D3football.com Top 25 poll, tallied 331 yards of offense, with 119 yards off the arm of Decristofaro. Bryan Ellis rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries, while Giarratano had five receptions, three for touchdowns, and 96 yards receiving.

Juniata plays its third-straight road game of the season next Saturday, when it travels to Lancaster, Pa., to face Franklin & Marshall College. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Sponaugle-Williamson Field.

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