HUNTINGTON, Pa. – The Ursinus football team traveled to Central Pennsylvania on Saturday to take on Centennial Conference rival Juniata on Saturday. The Bears were unable to hold on to a 10-point half time lead and were defeated 38-27.
Freshman quarterback Thomas Garlick completed his first 11 passes and finished 25-of-44 for a career-high 348 yards - a school record for a freshman - with two touchdowns and an interception for the Bears (0-6, 0-5), matching his previous career high for completions. One of those scoring passes was a 70-yard strike to junior Carmen Fortino, who caught seven passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, registering his second straight 100-yard receiving game and third of the season. Freshman Stacey Gardner had a rushing and receiving touchdown for Ursinus, which led 24-7 late in the first half before the Eagles (4-2, 3-2) mounted a rally.
Ursinus got a big gift on the first play, as Juniata muffed the opening kick-off and sophomore Asa Manley was there to fall on the ball at the 8-yard line. The Eagles' defense stood tall, however, and limited the visitors to a 19-yard field goal by senior Nicholas Ford after three runs yielded only six yards.
The home side answered back two plays later, with Matt Lehr following a 50-yard completion to Kirby Breault with a 10-yard touchdown run. Back came the Bears, Garlick finding Gardner wide open in the flat for an 18-yard touchdown to cap a 63-yard drive that took only three plays to complete. The scoring reception was the second of the season for Gardner, and was just the beginning of an explosive first half for the Ursinus offense.
After forcing a punt, Garlick went right back to work, converting a third down deep in his own territory before hitting Fortino behind the defense for a 70-yard touchdown that stretched the lead to 17-7 with 5:49 to play in the opening quarter. Garlick's pass was dropped perfectly into the hands of his top receiver, who outran the Juniata secondary for his second touchdown of at least 70 yards and his fifth overall.
Garlick's remarkable tear continued throughout the half. The rookie completed his first 11 passes of the afternoon, including a 29-yard strike to Fortino on an out route that picked up a 3rd-and-10 and set the Bears up with a first-and-goal at the Eagles' 2. Garnder bulled his way into the end zone on the next play, his second touchdown of the day, to stretch the lead to 24-7 midway through the second quarter. Garlick was effective with his legs on the drive, picking up gains of 16 and six yards to keep the chains moving.
Juniata marched to the Ursinus 30 on the next possession, but the Bears forced an incomplete pass from Hank Coyne on fourth down to negate the threat. After a three-and- out, the Eagles got a touchdown back right before the half on a 25-yard connection between Coyne and Breault, who had 10 catches for 155 yards in the first half alone.
Unfortunatley, the Bears were unable to hold on to their half time lead and were outscored 24-3 in the final two quarters of play. Ford connected on a 42-yard field goal with just over five minutes remaining for the Bears lone points in the half. The field goal kept Ursinus on top 27-21, but Lehr's 1-yard plunge in the final minute of the third quarter put the Eagles ahead to stay.
Coyne completed 23 of 36 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns, two of them going to Breault. The nation's ninth-ranked wideout in receiving yards entering the day, Breault went off for 13 catches covering 213 yards. Lehr carried 28 times for 177 yards and a pair of scores for Juniata, which racked up 554 yards of total offense.
Ursinus returns to action on Saturday, October 22, a Homecoming match-up with Susquehanna. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.