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Juniata's ground game gets into high gear, but Eagles fall to Gettysburg in high scoring affair

(Posted October 16, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College amassed 386 yards of offense and jumped out to a first quarter lead before visiting Gettysburg College rallied to post a 56-21 Centennial Conference win over the Eagles, Saturday afternoon at Knox Stadium.

Juniata's (0-6, 0-6 Centennial) offense had its most productive day in recent years, especially on the ground.

Juniata's 386 yards of total offense was the most since the Eagles posted 530 yards against Dickinson College in the final game of the 2008 campaign. Juniata finished with 277 yards rushing, its best day on the ground since posting 306 yards rushing versus Gallaudet to close out the 2007 season.

Senior tailback Derek Kramer (Newville, Pa./Big Spring) carried 16 times for 139 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown scamper up the middle on Juniata's second play of its second possession to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead at the 11:53 mark of the opening quarter.

Kramer also had Juniata's last 100-yard rushing performance, carrying 26 times for 151 yards in last season's 59-14 loss to Gettysburg at Musselman Stadium. The 65-yard rush was also Juniata's longest play from scrimmage this season.

"We thought we could run the ball against Gettysburg, and we did do that," said Juniata head coach Carmen Felus. "It was nice to see a lot of explosion plays in the run game - we haven't had that in a while."

Juniata looked like it might add to that lead with a lengthy drive late in the first quarter extending into the second. The Eagles started out on their own 15-yard line and drove all the way down to the Gettysburg 36, before getting knocked back five yards on a delay of game call. On 3rd-and-7, quarterback Gino Ramires (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) hit tight end Dinambi Butler (Washington, D.C./Archbishop Carroll) for six yards but the play was wiped out as the officials flagged Juniata for offensive pass interference.

"That penalty had a direct effect on the first half," said Juniata head coach Carmen Felus. "We're just not a good enough football team to overcome something like that."

That penalty seemed to mark a momentum shift in the game. Juniata's drive ended two plays later with a punt, and Gettysburg went on a five-play, 73-yard drive scoring march that ended with Charles Curcio's 12-yard TD rush to tie the game at 7-7.

The Eagles were held to three-and-out on their ensuing possession, and the Bullets got the ball back on the Juniata 46. On the first play of the series, Gettysburg quarterback Kyle Whitmoyer hit receiver Brian Betley for what ended up being a 46-yard pass play and a second touchdown in the span of a minute-and-four-seconds. That left the Bullets with a 14-7 lead with 9:37 remaining in the first half.

Gettysburg tacked on two more touchdowns over the remainder of the second quarter - a Whitmoyer-to-Matt Brophy one-yard TD pass and a one-yard Whitmoyer scoring rush - and held a 28-7 lead at the half.

Penalties ended up being a huge factor in the opening half, as the two teams combined to rack up 19 penalties for 152 yards in the first two quarters alone. Gettysburg received the lion's share of those, drawing 11 flags for 97 yards. Overall, Juniata and Gettysburg tallied 28 penalties for 252 yards.

"I thought administratively, on both sides of the ball and special teams, we did a poor job of coaching and that's reflected in the penalties today. There were way too many penalties and that's something we can control as coaches. I'm upset with our lack of discipline - that's coaching, and that's reflective of me," said Felus.

Gettysburg scored on its opening possession of the third quarter to take a 35-7 lead, but Juniata answered on its ensuing drive.

The Eagles moved 70 yards on a nine-play drive, sparked by 19-yard and 14-yard carries by Kramer, before Ramires hit Julian Valdiserri (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) on a 19-yard touchdown pass to cut the Bullet lead to 35-14.

Gettysburg struck back with a 10-play, 62-yard scoring drive on the Bullets' next possessions, capped by Jamel Mutunga's 24-yard TD rush. The Bullets would also score touchdowns on their next two series, and stretched their lead to 56-14 by the 7:55 mark of the fourth quarter.

Juniata took a final bite out of Gettysburg's lead with a five-play drive, that included a 25-yard rush by Kevin Peoples (Forestville, Md./Archbishop Carroll) and ended with tailback Zach McCaulley's (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) 43-yard run for his first collegiate touchdown.

McCaulley nearly cracked the 100-yard rushing barrier, finishing with 91 yards on 12 carries.

Ramires finished the day 6-of-18 through the air for 81 yards, and carried three times for 19 yards on the ground. Valdiserri hauled in three passes for 43 yards, while De'Sean Popley (Philadelphia, Pa./Acad. of the New Church) had a pair of receptions for a team-high 48 yards.

Defensively, safety Chris Moss (South Fork, Pa./Forest Hills) paced Juniata with 12 total tackles including six unassisted. Lineman David Weiss (Middletown, Md./Middletown) had eight tackles, including Juniata's only sack of the day and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Lineman Brett Shippey (Bedford, Pa./Bedford) recorded seven tackles, while linebackers Noah Walstrom (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) and Kevin Gorman (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly Central) had six tackles each.

Gettysburg finished with 606 yards total offense, most allowed by the Eagles since the 2009 Juniata-Gettysburg matchup which resulted in 687 yards for the Bullets. Mutunga carried 21 times for 120 yards and one of Gettysburg's five rushing touchdowns. Ted Delia and Anthony DeSalva rushed for 68 and 60 yards respectively. Whitmoyer was 14-of-22 passing for 216 yards, with Betley hauling in seven passes for 123 yards and one touchdown.

Juniata remains at home next Saturday, Oct. 23, as it hosts Moravian College in a Centennial Conference contest. Kick-off at Knox Stadium is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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