Records Fall as Football Bowls Over Misericordia

Records Fall as Football Bowls Over Misericordia

DALLAS, Pa. – If Saturday was any indication, the Ursinus College football team could certainly get used to this postseason thing.

Thomas Garlick accounted for four touchdowns and added a package of new records to his historic junior season, Samuel Ragland put up 340 all-purpose yards and five scores of his own, and the Bears offense went buck-wild in a 70-14 rout of Misericordia in the Centennial/MAC Bowl Series. A frigid field flanked by snow did nothing to slow Ursinus, which established new program records for points and yards (703) in a game.

Garlick finished 17-of-25 for a career-high 365 yards to break the all-time mark held by Frank Vecchio '00 with 2,772 and earn MVP honors. Garlick set a Centennial Conference record with 341 yards in the first half, eventually edging past Vecchio's standard on a 29-yard strike to senior Alec Vera late in the second quarter.   

Ragland, meanwhile, racked up a career-best 203 yards and four touchdowns on the ground to match his own school record for rushing touchdowns in a game and became the sixth player in school history to rush for over 200 yards. The sophomore sensation added five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown and a 42-yard kick return to finish the season with 1801 all-purpose yards (954 rushing, 645 receiving, 202 returning). His 18 rushing touchdowns are one short of the record set by Shearrod Duncan in 2001, and give Ragland 26 for his career to rank tied for second in Ursinus history.

Ursinus (8-3) made a run at the all-time conference record for yards in a game before falling just shy of the 733 logged by Gettysburg in 1999. The offense averaged 10.7 yards per play, and the Bears' 70 points are tied for the third-highest single-game total in CC history. Senior Kirk Cherneskie took advantage of the fireworks, making all 10 of his extra points to set a new record of his own with 41 on the year.

Garlick completed passes to seven different receivers. Junior Zach Gravelle had three catches for a career-high 90 yards, and seniors Jacob Clifford (75 yards) and Vera each hauled in a touchdown in their final game as a Bear.

Garlick opened the scoring by keeping it himself on a triple-option to the right, bulling his way in for a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 at the 9:30 mark of the first quarter.

The Cougars answered right back on the next play as David Cromwell found a seam off the left side and sprinted 65 yards to pay dirt. But Garlick made it three touchdowns in as many plays (and just 28 seconds), capping an incredible see-saw of scoring with a 75-yard strike to wide open senior Jacob Clifford, who had gotten well behind the secondary as Garlick faked a toss to Ragland.  

The Bears cooked up a third straight scoring drive thanks in large part to some quick-hitting passing plays, the first a shallow cross to Gravelle for a gain of 20 on 3rd-and-9. Garlick sniffed out a blitz and fired a dart to Ragland, who took the slant and knifed his way into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown and a 21-7 advantage with 3:40 still left on the first-quarter clock.

After forcing a Misericordia punt, the Bears traversed 91 yards in just six plays to seize a 28-7 lead on Ragland's 1-yard touchdown run. Garlick connected with Gravelle for 27 yards before finding Loughlin wide open across the middle for a 36-yard gain down to the Cougars' 1, and Ragland punched it in on the next play.

Pressure up the middle led to a big turnover on the next possession, with freshman Shane Jones recording his first career interception on a pass through the hands of the receiver. That set up Garlick and the offense at the Cougars' 28, but a busted double reverse resulted in a loss of 23 yards seemed to kill any scoring opportunity. Garlick somehow pulled a Houdini, picking up 22 yards on 3rd-and-33 on a dump-off to Ragland and then dropping his record-breaking pass right into the breadbasket of Vera on 4th-and-11.

The Cougars picked off Garlick for the second time on a tipped ball and scored three plays later on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Barry to Sam Gillison. A pair of penalties backed the ensuing kickoff back to the 15, and sophomore Kyle Wiggins' return gave Ursinus the ball at the plus-41. Ragland took a screen pass to the Cougars' 3 and scored his second touchdown of the game on the next play to make it 42-14 just before half.

The Bears were unstoppable in the first half, piling up 405 yards of total offense. Garlick had 347 through the air, a conference record for a half, and the 42 points were already the team's most in a single game since a 47-31 victory over Dickinson in the 2014 season finale.

Ragland added another electrifying play to his ledger early in the third, breaking through the left side and dashing down the sideline for a 92-yard touchdown run. The sophomore matched his own program record for touchdowns in a game on a 13-yard option pitch from Garlick that made it 56-14 with 6:12 left in the third.

Freshmen Aidan Klassan and Quaran Davis each registered their first career touchdowns to close out the scoring.  

Junior Noah Thomas had a sack and two tackles for loss to lead the defense. Junior Jacob McCain posted four tackles to finish with 112 for the year, good for sixth in program history. Ursinus held Misericordia to 283 yards on the day.