BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team dropped a 35-17 decision to visiting Ursinus College in Centennial Conference action Saturday at Rocco Calvo Field as the Greyhounds celebrated Homecoming.
"The reality is that with a bunch of first year players, not just freshmen but a bunch of guys that are seeing the playing field for the first time, you hope to see improvement, which we are just not in the win column," stated Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn. "The good thing is that you saw a team that gave a lot of effort. We made some mistakes that hurt us and you can't afford to do that is this conference."
Junior running back Eli Redmond picked up his fourth career 100-yard game and first since 2015 with 135 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries Saturday afternoon to go along with two receptions for 13 yards. Freshman quarterback Doug Erney was 21-for-33 throwing the ball for 177 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and he also picked up seven yards on eight rushing attempts.
Senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson became the tenth player in school to reach 100 career receptions with his fourth catch of the game, and Hudson finished with five receptions for 48 yards to increase his career totals to 101 catches for 1,220 yards, which is 17th in program history. Hudson also had one carry for two yards and returned one kickoff for 31 yards. Freshman wide receiver Ricky Tate led the Greyhounds with six catches for 57 yards while freshman wideout Nick Petros had two receptions for 27 yards and a score.
Senior fullback Jorden Stout caught two passes for 14 yards and added one rushing attempt for two yards while sophomore wide receiver Alex Pierce added two receptions for seven yards. Freshman running back Tavion George rushed the ball once for 12 yards, and he caught one pass for three yards while senior tight end Aaron Brown had one catch for eight yards and punted five times for an average of 40.6 yards. Senior defensive back Justice Anderson returned four kickoffs for 73 yards.
"Aaron Hudson was all over the place doing some really good things for us," noted Pukszyn. "I thought our offensive line showed a big improvement today, handling a lot of things well. Nick and Ricky did a really good job and Aaron Brown is working his butt off."
Junior safety Nick Zambelli led the Moravian defense with 12 tackles to go with a pair of pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Junior linebacker Dallas Owen made ten tackles with one and a half for loss. Freshman linebacker Brady Hornbaker contributed nine tackles with a half a tackle for loss while sophomore linebacker Joseph Milano and junior defensive lineman Vincent Pianoforte both had six tackles with a half a tackle for loss.
Freshman defensive back Jackson Buskirk ecorded five tackles while freshman defensive lineman Shane Mastro added three stops and a pass break-up. Junior linebacker Steve Ewald had three tackles with one for loss while senior Stanton Santos recovered a fumbled punt for the Greyhounds.
"Nick Tone is playing at a really high level for our defense," Pukszyn said. "Nick Zambelli is an incredible leader on this team and Jackson is becoming a good college football player as a freshman. We moved Valentine to a cornerback position this year and he is continuing to show improvement. Mastro played a lot of snaps today so those are all good things that we need to build on as we continue and get ready for next week. The guys have a great work ethic and effort, which you want and not have to try and coach."
Ursinus received the opening kickoff and needed eight plays to cover 70 yards to the end zone with sophomore quarterback Thomas Garlick completing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Clifford for a 7-0 lead with 11:28 after the first quarter.
The Bears would get the ball back after the Greyhounds picked up one first down when senior quarterback Kordell Theadford fumbled. Ursinus turned the miscue into another score as Garlick rushed in from seven yards out for a 14-0 lead with 4:41 remaining in the opening quarter.
Moravian was forced to punt after picking up a first down but the Greyhounds would get the ball right back as Zambelli stripped and recovered the ball at the Ursinus 36-yard line. The Blue and Grey's offense would capitalize four plays later when Redmond scampered in from 23 yards out. Junior Jon Miller added the extra-point to cut the Ursinus lead to 14-7 with twelve seconds left in the opening period.
The next four possessions all ended in punts with the second punt by the Greyhounds being fumbled by the Ursinus returner. Santos fell on the ball at the Ursinus 41-yard line. Moravian picked up a first down on an Erney pass to Hudson and another on a run by Erney to get into the red zone. The Greyhounds would settle for a 22-yard field goal by Miller with two seconds left in the half to send the teams to the locker room with Ursinus leading 14-10.
Moravian received the opening second half kickoff and picked up four first downs to move into the red zone; however, on a third-and-11 play, Erney overthrew Brown and was intercepted in the end zone. The Bears again turned the miscue into points, driving 80 yards in 11 plays with running back Asa Manley running in a 15-yard touchdown to give the Bears a 21-10 lead with 4:05 left in the third.
Ursinus added another touchdown on a 15-yard rush by Stacey Gardener with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter for a 28-10 advantage.
Moravian answered back as Erney found Petros with a 19-yard scoring strike over the middle that Petros bobbled but caught with his back on the turf. Miller's PAT made it 28-17 with 2:48 remaining.
Miller attempted an onside kick that Buskirk recovered at the Moravian 46-yard line after the ball bounced around. Erney found Hudson with a 17-yard reception on a third down play, and a penalty would put the Greyhounds back in the red zone. However, on a third-and-2, Erney had a pass tipped and eventually intercepted by Ursinus' Jacob McCain, who returned the ball 85 yards for a touchdown to set the final score at 35-17 with 1:20 left on the clock.
Moravian is slated to return to action on Saturday, September 30 in a Centennial Conference game at Gettysburg College with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.