COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – With the 126th season of Ursinus College football just 75 days away, head coach Peter Gallagher has announced the team's 2018 schedule.
For the third straight campaign, the Bears will open against Bethany (W.V.). The teams have split the last two meetings, each winning on its home field; a year ago, quarterback Thomas Garlick threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns and running back Stacey Gardner rumbled for 197 yards and a score on the ground in a 35-13 victory.
Ursinus opens its Centennial Conference slate at home against Gettysburg in a continuation of a series that has been remarkably even in recent years. The programs have split their last 10 meetings, including last year's 35-28 victory at The Battlefield in which Garlick hit Jacob Clifford for the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining.
League play continues at Juniata, where the Eagles have won two in a row in Huntingdon and four out of five overall against Ursinus. The Bears snapped a four-game skid with last season's 35-28 triumph.
Moravian comes to Collegeville the following week for the annual Homecoming game. A 35-17 defeat of the Greyhounds in Bethlehem pulled Ursinus to within 10-9-1 in the all-time series.
September 29 brings one of the biggest showdowns of the year as the Bears head to Baltimore for a battle with nine-time defending champion Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays received a pair of preseason national rankings from Lindy's (12th) and Street & Smith's (18th), but the perennial powerhouse will have revenge on its mind for this one; last season, Garlick's scramble touchdown in the final minute snapped Hopkins' 45-game overall winning streak and gave the Bears their first win in the series since 2010. Ursinus has not won in Baltimore since a 16-14 decision in 2009.
The final game before the bye week pits Ursinus against another team receiving some preseason pub in Muhlenberg. The Mules are slotted ninth in the Lindy's rankings and have won at least eight games in six consecutive seasons. Muhlenberg handed the Bears their first loss a year ago, a 21-14 final in Allentown, and has dominated the series; the Mules have won eight in a row and 17 of 18 against Ursinus, whose last victory came in 2009 on Patterson Field.
Following the bye week, the Bears resume CC competition at home against a rising Susquehanna program that dealt them a 21-14 defeat last season. Ursinus, however, has won seven of its last nine against the River Hawks and carries a five-game winning streak at Patterson Field.
Next comes a trip to Westminster to take on McDaniel, a squad the Bears have handled of late. Ursinus is 11-1 in its last 12 against the Green Terror, including last year's 28-21 triumph in which Gardner ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Ursinus caps its road gauntlet at a strong Franklin & Marshall squad that went 10-1 with a Centennial/MAC Series bowl win a year ago and also finds itself in the Lindy's preseason projections at No. 17. The Diplomats have won three in a row over the Bears, including a 42-28 shootout in Collegeville last season.
The Bears polish off the season at home against Dickinson, a program they had bested eight times in a row prior to last year's 40-17 setback in Carlisle.
As head coach Peter Gallagher enters his 18th season, Ursinus looks well positioned to return to the upper echelon of the Centennial Conference. In addition to Garlick, set to begin his third year as starting quarterback, the Bears return eight all-conference selections to the fold.
Rising senior offensive lineman Brett Highland was a first team All-CC performer in 2017, and will be joined along the offensive front by rising junior James Marinelli, a second team choice.
Gardner (second team) and sophomore Samuel Ragland (honorable mention) combine to form the most productive running game in the conference; Ragland is coming off a season in which he was named CC rookie of the year, the first player in Ursinus history to earn that distinction. Senior tight end Thomas Cardozo earned honorable mention a year ago.
On the defensive side, senior Charles Anderson is back to anchor the line after a second team all-conference season, and classmate Tyler Gordon (second team) returns to the backfield after grabbing four interceptions. Junior defensive end Noah Thomas (honorable mention) led the team with five sacks a year ago.
To view the full 2018 football schedule, click here.