NEW CONCORD, Ohio—The Heidelberg University football team scored 11 unanswered points in the second half to deal previously unbeaten Muskingum University a 17-7 loss today in an Ohio Athletic Conference game in front of 2,543 fans at McConagha Stadium in New Concord, Ohio. Three field goals by junior kicker Dan Kilger (Novi, Mich./Novi) and three fourth-quarter turnovers on the Student Princes’ half of the field keyed the victory.
The win improves the Berg to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the OAC for the first time under fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett and extends its winning streak to three games. The Fighting Muskies fall to 4-1 and 3-1 in the OAC.
“The defense answered the call today and led the charge with five turnovers and that was outstanding,” said fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett. “It gave our offense a lot of opportunities.
“They rallied in the fourth quarter and had a huge stop, which let us kill the clock.
Despite its lowest scoring output of the season, Hallett’s high-powered offense totaled 381 yards, but did not commit a turnover or give up a sack against a Muskingum defense that led the nation with 6.5 sacks per game and was nationally ranked in several other categories entering the game.
Freshman quarterback Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) was 14-of-30 passing for 194 yards and one TD.
“Offensively, we sputtered a little bit in the first half, but I think we got going in the second half,” added Hallett. “Two things we keyed in on this week were protecting the football and pass protection.”
The offense tallied 187 rushing yards, including a game-high 136 from sophomore second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward), his third consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and fourth of the season.
Senior linebacker Andy Fadenholz (Grafton/Keystone) returned the opening kickoff 25 yards to the Muskingum 38-yard line, leaving the Student Princes an opportunity to strike first. At the 12:24 mark, Kilger placed a 20-yard field goal attempt between the uprights, capping a seven-play, 35-yard drive.
After the teams traded possessions, Kilger increased the Berg lead to 6-0 with 1:13 left in the first period with a season-high 39-yard field goal to end a nine-play, 45-yard drive that took 3:20.
It took until 5:15 left in the first half before either team could score again. Quarterback Dalton Smith put the Muskies on the board with an 18-yard touchdown run and Caleb Carpenter’s point-after-touchdown was good to give Muskingum a 7-6 lead. Smith ran the ball or dropped back to pass on all six plays of the 59-yard drive.
Late in the second quarter, the Muskies started a drive at the Student Prince 42-yard line and went to the 11-yard line in just four plays, but junior defensive back Tyler Levanduski (Elyria/Amherst Steele) neutralized the threat with his first interception of the day.
On Heidelberg’s ensuing drive, Mees directed an 11-play, 88-yard jaunt, but Kilger’s 28-yard field goal attempt was blocked with the first half clock winding down
In the second half, the Student Princes regained the lead, 14-7, with 8:38 on the clock in the third quarter when Mees capped a lengthy 15-play, 80-yard drive with a seven-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver CJ Powell (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Foley), his team-high fifth TD reception of the season. Mees keyed the drive by going four-of-four passing for 45 yards, not including his two-point conversion to senior wide receiver James Sheahan (Painesville/Lake Catholic).
Powell led the receiving corps with five catches for a game-high 94 yards.
Smith was intercepted on each of Muskingum’s next three possessions, first by Levanduski—his second pick of the day—then by junior linebacker Craig Sykes (Centerburg), who returned the ball 39 yards before being tackled at the Muskie 26-yard line. Both turnovers occurred on Heidelberg’s half of the field.
Following Sykes’ interception, his third in the last two games, Kilger added an insurance field goal from 28 yards out, giving the Berg a 10-point lead with just 7:38 left in the game.
Smith was intercepted in for the third consecutive drive in the fourth quarter when he misfired into the hands of junior defensive back Larry Massey (Royal Oak, Mich./Wylie E. Groves) that ended all hopes for a Muskingum comeback.
Defensively, Sykes made a team-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss. Sophomore defensive back Chadd Williams (Land ‘O Lakes, Fla./Land ‘O Lakes) had nine stops. Sophomore linebacker Adam Cepik (Lodi/Cloverleaf), Fadenholz and junior defensive lineman Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna) were each in on sacks. In addition to Levanduski, Sykes and Massey, senior cornerback Tony Gordon (Euclid) had an interception.
The Student Princes return to the gridiron Saturday, Oct. 15 when they host the University of Mount Union in an OAC game at Mayer Field in Tiffin. The No. 2 Purple Raiders (5-0, 4-0 OAC) defeated Marietta, 62-0, earlier today. Live stats will be available at the following URL: http://www.heidelberg.edu/statcrew/msoc/xlive.htm.