CARLISLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College football team saw its season come to an end with a 40-17 Centennial Conference defeat at the hands of Dickinson.
Playing without injured starting quarterback Thomas Garlick, the Bears (6-4, 5-4) were unable to get anything going in the passing game and suffered their fourth loss in five games.
Dickinson (3-7, 3-6) limited Ursinus to two completions for 39 yards, went 11-for-19 on third down, and outscored the Bears 20-0 in the second half to break open a close game. The Red Devils intercepted Ursinus three times and scored on three drives that covered at least 12 plays and 70 yards, running 88 plays compared to only 37 for the Bears.
Senior Heath Hidlay racked up a career-high 16 tackles – the most by an Ursinus player since 2010 – in his final game, and classmate Carmen Fortino hauled in a 31-yard touchdown reception from junior Alec Vera, who made his first career start at quarterback. Hidlay had 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
The Red Devils scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions, which covered 12, 15, and 9 plays. Dickinson marched down the field on the first trip of the game, taking an early lead on a 10-yard strike from Robert Geiss to Chris Longo. Senior Cody Richmond blocked the extra point to hold the advantage to 6-0.
Richmond's block allowed the Bears to take the lead right away, as freshman Samuel Ragland found a seam and went a 62 yards to the house on the visitors' first play from scrimmage. The rookie's career-long dash and eighth touchdown of the season, combined with freshman Alex DeSpirito's extra point, handed Ursinus a 7-6 edge.
Dickinson made it two touchdowns in as many drives on Phillip Butler's three-yard plunge to polish off a 15-play, 80-yard jaunt. The Red Devils then capitalized on Vera's interception in their own territory with another extended matriculation that culminated in Geiss' 19-yard hook-up with Longo on a 4th-down play, giving the Red and White a 20-7 bulge with 8:04 left in the second quarter.
Vera atoned for his miscue right away. After he gained 15 on a keeper and Ragland picked up 11 for another first down, Vera hit Fortino for a 31-yard touchdown pass – the first of his career – to cut the margin to 20-14 at the 6:09 mark.
DeSpirito's 24-yard field goal – his third of the season and first since September 9 at Gettysburg – on the last play of the first half trimmed the Red Devil lead to 20-17.
That was as good as it got for the Bears. Dickinson took advantage of a short field on its first possession of the third quarter, which ended with Jeremy Walsh's short TD run. Walsh later scored on a 7-yard run on 4th-and-1 to finish a 17-play, 70-yard drive and stretch the lead to 33-17 with 14:37 left in the fourth.
Geiss' 6-yard scramble with 10:04 to play capped the scoring. The Dickinson signal-caller was 22-for-28 for 181 yards and two scores, while Walsh had 131 yards on 37 totes. Longo hauled in 11 catches for 96 yards and the two touchdowns.
Vera was just 2-for-8 with two picks, but did rack up 102 yards rushing on just nine takes. Ragland finished with 86 yards on 12 carries.
Fortino's touchdown catch was the 10th of his career. He finishes his tenure seventh in program history fifth in receptions (113) and seventh in receiving yards (1431). Senior Shawn Hackett had the other catch, the 60th of his career.
Seniors Kevin Wiesner, Alexander Skyrm, and James Gilette all had eight tackles, and Richmond added seven. Fellow seniors Jamie Casseus (6 tackles, pass break-up) and Demarcus Henry (5 tackles) also contributed in their last collegiate contest.