Bears blank Juniata, 31-0

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Ursinus College football team got its Centennial Conference slate off a rousing start on Saturday by blanking Juniata, 31-0, at Knox Stadium.

The Bears pitched their first shutout since blanking Moravian, 27-0, on October 27, 2007.

"Certainly after the Lebanon Valley game where we threw the ball well and got some confidence, we knew Juniata's coverages and threw the ball effectively," said Ursinus head coach Peter Gallagher. "We are starting to form a little bit of an identity."

The Bears had 441 yards of total offense, balanced almost perfectly with 202 on the ground and 239 in the air. The Bears had minus-19 yards rushing in the loss to Lebanon Valley.

Junior quarterback Justin Decristofaro (Jenkintown, Pa./Father Judge) was 16-for-31 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another score in the second quarter.

Sophomore running back Travis Evans (Dallas, Pa./Northwest Area) rushed for a game-high 124 yards on 19 carries. The Bears' 202 yards on the ground was the first time Ursinus crossed the 200-yard line since October 13, 2007. Freshman running back Teddy Conrad (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) had 55 yards on 14 carries.

Sophomore wide receiver Kahlil Pittman (Willow Grove, Pa./Abington) had a team-high four catches for 47 yards, while sophomore wide out Al Desiderio (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) had a team and game-high 93 yards on three catches.

For Juniata, senior quarterback Alex Snyder had 27 yards rushing and 66 yards passing (8-for-27). Senior wide receiver Matt Dunker had a game-high six catches for 52 yards.

Defensively, six players had four tackles, with senior defensive tackle Mark Worrilow (Wilmington, Del./The Charter School), sophomore defensive back Mike Rissmiller (Hummelstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin) and sophomore defensive back Joe Henry (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) each having three solo stops. Sophomore linebacker Edward Cooney had eight stops for Juniata.  

Ursinus' first score came with 5:59 left in the first as Decristofaro threw a 2-yard strike to freshman wide out Nick Giarratano (Wapwallopen, Pa./Crestwood) for the 7-0 lead. The score completed an 8-play, 67-yard drive that took 3:13.

After a Juniata 3-and-out, Ursinus needed just four plays to score as on first-and-10 from the Bears' 33, Decristofaro threw a 67-yard pass to Desiderio for a 14-0 lead.  The lead expanded to 21-0 with 13:05 left in the first half when Decristofaro called his own number and ran from four-yards out for the score.

Ursinus' next score in the first half came at the end of a long 90-yard drive that took 18 plays. Sophomore kicker Keith Baker (Huntingdon Valley, Pa./Lower Makefield) kicked a 25-yard field goal for a 24-0 lead.

Juniata had one chance to score before halftime. Aided by a personal foul, the Eagles had an untimed down at the end of the first half from the Bears' 12, but, the Snyder pass fell incomplete.

In the second half, the lone score came when sophomore running back Evans scored on a ten-yard run with 5:18 left in the third. The Bears got the ball when the Eagles muffed the punt return and freshman defensive back Scott Gardus (Allentown, Pa./Salisbury Township).

The Eagles had one chance to score, but, freshman kicker Scott Andrews' 34-yard field goal was blocked by sophomore defensive tackle Tim Blaine (Alexandra, Va./Bishop Ireton). From there, Juniata would get no closer than the Bears' 21-yard line.

The Bears will take the week off and will host Gettysburg on October 3