COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Another heavy dose of defense and a few big plays at critical moments helped the Ursinus College football team hold off Moravian, 21-14, to extend its perfect start.
Despite outgaining their opponents by 200 yards, the Bears (4-0, 3-0) had to sweat out some anxious moments after the Greyhounds pulled within one score on a long touchdown pass with just over five minutes remaining. But the Ursinus offense closed it out with a 10-play drive that killed the clock for good, the dagger a 21-yard reception by senior Thomas Cardozo on 3rd-and-long.
Ursinus is off to a 4-0 start for the second straight season.
Though the Bears were able to move the ball on Moravian (2-2, 1-2), the breakthrough did not come until midway through the second quarter. A sack by junior Brett Capobianco pinned the visitors deep and allowed Ursinus to take over with great field position at its own 49. Seven plays later, junior Stacey Gardner darted into the end zone from 13 yards out to open the scoring.
The 7-0 score line remained until midway through the third quarter. Moravian put together a long march on the opening possession of the second half, but an incomplete pass on 4th down short-circuited a promising drive at the Bears' 25.
Ursinus capitalized immediately, with some help from back-up quarterback Steve Honick. Junior starter Thomas Garlick was forced to leave for a play after his helmet came off, but Honick stepped in and completed a first-down throw to junior Zach Gravelle on a big 3rd-and-3. Back in the fray, Garlick sold an option fake perfectly and pitched to Gardner, who rumbled 47 yards down the right sideline and all the way to the Moravian 3. Two plays later, Garlick bulled his way in from a yard out to make it 13-0.
The Greyhounds had an answer, as Doug Erney hit Nick Petros over the top for a 68-yard strike.
The squads traded empty possessions until about the 6:55 mark of the fourth, when Cardozo caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Garlick for a 21-7 Bears lead.
Moravian would not go quietly, getting to within 21-14 on Petros' 39-yard touchdown reception with 5:19 to go. But the Bears were able to kill off the remaining clock and celebrate another victory on Homecoming.
Sophomore running back Samuel Ragland 117 yards on 19 carries and caught five passes for 47 yards en route to winning the Kenneth E. Walker Memorial Trophy for the second year in a row.
Garlick finished 22 of 30 for 210 yards and a touchdown, while Gardner had 93 yards on 11 totes.
Cardozo hauled in five receptions for 69 yards, with Gravelle adding five catches and freshman Ryan Loughlin tallying four.
The Bears' defense continued its impressive start to the season, sacking Erney five times on the day. Seniors Charles Anderson and Matt Hartigan joined juniors Jacob McCain, Marcus Weathers, and Capobianco with a sack. Ursinus held Moravian to 251 yards of total offense.
Erney was 11 of 16 for 177 yards and two scores for Moravian, with Petros accounting for six catches and 138 of those yards.
The football team looks to continue its unbeaten start with a trip to Johns Hopkins next Saturday.