COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – It took the Ursinus College football team a quarter to get going against Gettysburg in Saturday's home opener. Once the Bears started rolling, there was nothing the Bullets could do to stop them.
Samuel Ragland equaled the school record with four rushing touchdowns, Thomas Garlick threw two threw the air and reached a major milestone of his own, and the Ursinus defense put together one of its most dominant performances in recent history to propel Ursinus to a 42-7 rout in its Centennial Conference lid-lifter.
Garlick tossed touchdown passes to senior Tom Cardozo and junior Jared Johns-Lupold in a four-minute span early in the second quarter as the Bears overcame a 7-0 deficit and whitewashed the orange and blue over the final 45 minutes. Garlick eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark for his career, the eighth quarterback in school history to reach that benchmark.
Ragland, meanwhile, scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in each of the last two periods to join Bill Sedgwick as the only players in Ursinus history to score four in a single game. Sedgwick's record-setting effort came nearly 25 years ago to the day against Johns Hopkins.
While Garlick and Ragland were lighting up the scoreboard, the Bears' ruthless defense gave the Bullets no quarter. Gettysburg had a miserable afternoon, producing just 117 yards of total offense and six first downs, much of that coming in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. The visitors were 0 for 16 on third down, and three quarterbacks combined to go 5 for 26 for 24 yards and two interceptions – by junior Zach Goss and sophomore Danny Freeman. Ursinus picked up four sacks and also forced two fumbles.
After the teams exchanged punts and turnovers in the first quarter, a Bears miscue gifted Gettysburg its only points of the afternoon. Starting at the 10-yard line after an Ursinus fumble, the Bullets still struggled to get to pay dirt, ultimately opening the scoring on a 1-yard, fourth-down plunge by Andrew Howard that just carried him over the goal line.
A Gettysburg sack ended the next Ursinus drive, but senior Charles Anderson returned the favor and then some, knocking the Bullets' quarterback down and forcing a fumble that was pounced on by junior Marcus Weathers at the 27-yard line. Facing 4th-and-10 from the Gettysburg 16, Garlick dropped a pass right into the hands of Cardozo in the back right corner of the end zone for a game-tying score.
With a 3rd-and-long from his own 44, Garlick found senior Jacob Clifford for a 12-yard completion before hooking up with freshman Ryan Loughlin for 30 more. Three players later, Johns-Lupold scored his first career touchdown after taking a crossing route into the left corner of the end zone with 10:48 left in the half. That gave the Bears the lead for good, but they were far from finished.
Ursinus missed a short field goal after marching 72 yards in 10 plays on its first drive of the second half, but the defense forced one of its many three-and-outs and gave the ball right back to Garlick, who hit Cardozo twice (6 yards, 14 yards), junior Zach Gravelle (11), and Clifford (33) on four straight plays to set up Ragland's first jaunt into the end zone.
The next drive ended in the same fashion, a 35-yard strike to Gravelle putting the Bears on the Gettysburg 10 and Ragland taking it from there for a 28-7 lead with 3:07 remaining in the third.
Gettysburg tried a new quarterback to start the fourth, but he was picked off on his first throw by Freeman. Junior Stacey Gardner took an option pitch from Garlick and sprinted 40 yards down the left sideline before being tackled at the 8, and Ragland capped his trifecta on the next play.
Ragland polished off the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown with 8:03 to play. He finished with 87 yards on 12 carries, and backfield mate Gardner picked up 63 on nine totes.
Loughlin backed up his 124-yard, 3-touchdown debut with another big day, posting 113 yards on six catches. Clifford had five receptions for 75 yards and Cardozo added 51 yards on four catches and his third career touchdown.
Junior Jacob McCain led the defense with 10 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery. Senior Matt Hartigan tallied 7 tackles (2.5 for loss) and a sack for the second week in a row, while junior Keith Wagner and sophomore Blake Becker split a fourth-quarter sack. Sophomore Kyron Thomas had two critical pass breakups on deep passes down the left sideline.
The Bears finished with 506 yards of total offense and averaged 6.2 yards per play, holding the Bullets to just 1.8 per snap.
Ursinus aims to continue its perfect start at Juniata next Saturday.