Football Starts Fast, But Bullets Take Control in CC Opener

Football Starts Fast, But Bullets Take Control in CC Opener

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – A dream start from the Ursinus College football team prompted a major awakening from Gettysburg on Saturday afternoon, as the Bullets outscored the Bears 42-3 after two early touchdowns by the home side and rolled to a 42-17 triumph in the Centennial Conference opener for both.

Gettysburg's two-headed quarterback monster of Danny Thompson and Justin Davidov combined for 360 yards and five touchdowns through the air and another score on the ground for Gettysburg (1-1, 1-0), which rolled up 476 yards of total offense. Thompson finished 10-of-15 for an even 200 yards and two touchdowns, while three of Davidov's five completions resulted in scoring plays and he added a 16-yard rushing tally to boot on a scorching afternoon in Collegeville.

Ursinus (0-2, 0-1) could hardly have drawn up a better start. The Bears scored on back-to-back plays from scrimmage, a 14-point burst in just 17 seconds that put them in the driver's seat just six minutes in. After freshman quarterback Thomas Garlick capped a 13-play, 79-yard march with an 18-yard toss to junior Carmen Fortino, who dove and stretched the ball across the goal line for the opening score, the Ursinus defense rose up to double the advantage on the very next play. Gettysburg's Ryan Thompson caught a short out, but was stripped by freshman Jack Spingler. The ball came free and was scooped up by senior Prince Patterson, who returned it 32 yards to paydirt, giving Ursinus a 14-0 lead exactly six minutes into the first.

It was all Gettysburg from there, starting with a fourth-down conversion that started their nearly uninterrupted barrage. Facing 4th-and-8 from the Bears' 31, Danny Thompson went up top for a scoring strike to Matt McFadden, closing an 8-play, 77-yard drive and cutting the Ursinus lead to 14-6 after Gettysburg mishandled the snap on the extra point.

After the Bears turned it over on downs at the Gettysburg 36, Davidov found Ryan Thompson behind the secondary for a 64-yard touchdown, pulling the Orange and Blue within 14-13.

Ursinus briefly regained momentum when senior Nicholas Ford was on the money from 34 yards out on his first career field-goal attempt, but Davidov's next long scoring pass – a 33-yarder to Andrew Major – gave the Bullets the lead for good. After Ursinus went three and out, Danny Thompson was next in line to engineer a long drive, this time finding Johnny Davis from 32 yards out to make it 26-17 after a missed extra point.

The game turned on its head just before halftime. With the Bears all set to pick up a touchdown just before the break, Jake Fioretti stripped Garlick at the 10-yard line, and Mike McKnight rumbled 42 yards with the recovery, giving Gettysburg the ball back in plus territory. The Bullets took full advantage, using a pass interference penalty to set up a 16-yard scramble by Davidov that stretched the lead to 32-17 and completed a potential 13-point swing.

Gettysburg wasted little time extending its momentum after the break. Ty Abdul-Karim outleaped a Bear defender on a jump ball, coming down with it and stepping into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown on 4th-and-6. That made it 39-17 at the 12:22 mark of the third quarter, and neither team scored until a Bullets field goal provided the final margin with 4:45 to play.

Five different players caught touchdown passes for Gettysburg, which had 360 yards passing on the day. Jake Skinner finished with nine tackles and a sack to lead the defense, and McKnight had a 53-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

Garlick finished 25-for-43 for 173 yards and a touchdown for the Bears, which got 73 yards on 13 carries from senior Corey Kelly. Fortino led all players with seven receptions – matching a career high he set in the season opener – for 47 yards and the first-quarter touchdown. Sophomore Alec Vera collected a team-high 50 yards on three receptions, with junior Shawn Hackett and sophomore Jacob Clifford each registered four grabs for 23 yards. 

Freshman running back Stacey Gardner rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries after a 105-yard effort in the 2016 opener.

Senior linebacker Robert Glanville was a force all afternoon, getting into the backfield at will for a sack and 6.5 tackles for loss, a school record that also equaled the conference mark set in 2003 by Muhlenberg's Dan McCall. He finished with a game-high 12 stops and also forced a fumble. Classmate Zachary Tharp had the other sack for the Bears, and Patterson broke up two passes in addition to his fumble recovery touchdown.

The Bears will look to regroup with a CC battle at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday, September 17.