GETTYSBURG, Pa. – While the Ursinus College football team's offense continues to get untracked, the defense is perfectly content to carry its own weight and then some.
The Bears racked up three defensive touchdowns (one on a pick-six and two others on fumble returns) among six turnovers and seven sacks in another singularly dominant performance, providing plenty of separation on the way to a 48-10 victory at Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference opener.
Noah Thomas opened the scoring by returning an interception for a score before Brett Capobianco and Jeff Lockwood returned fumbles for touchdowns in the second half as Ursinus (2-0, 1-0) steadily pulled away. The Bears limited Gettysburg to just 239 yards of offense while stifling the Bullets to a 1-of-14 effort on third down and stonewalling all five of the hosts' fourth-down attempts.
The Ursinus defense has already tallied 16 sacks through the first two games of the new campaign. Thomas had the first, dropping Gettysburg quarterback Matt Harris on the orange and blue's opening drive and forcing a fumble that was recovered by an offensive lineman.
It was a harbinger of things to come for Thomas, who picked off Harris' pass on 4th-and-1 on the next drive and took it 32 yards to the house to give Ursinus an early lead.
The Bullets came back with a field goal on their next possession and had the ball deep into Ursinus territory on the ensuing one, but Aaron Diamond grabbed his first career interception on 3rd-and-3 from the 39.
Ursinus caught a big break late in the second quarter, when Gettysburg muffed a punt and Danny Freeman fell on the ball at the Bullets' 26. The very next play, Samuel Ragland dashed into the end zone to make it 14-3 at the 5:12 mark.
Jacob McCain stuffed a 4th-and-1 keeper to set up another huge touchdown drive, with Thomas Garlick finding Ardashes Dulgerian from 21 yards out for the sophomore's first career touchdown reception with 39 seconds left in the first half. The Bears were forced to punt earlier in the march, but a roughing call on Mike Reilly gave the drive new life.
Armed with a 21-3 lead at the break, Ursinus went to work making it completely insurmountable in the second half. Garlick's 34-yard strike to Matt Gallagher – the pair's second connection in as many games – made it 28-3, and Capobianco extended the spread two plays later with a spectacular defensive play in which he stripped the ball from the running back and ran it back 26 yards for his first career touchdown.
Garlick used his legs on the next touchdown drive, picking up a 4th-and-6 with a scramble before taking it in himself from three yards out for a 41-3 lead to cap a 14-play, 73-yard drive.
After a Gettysburg touchdown, the Bears capped the scoring when Jeffrey McAbee strip-sacked Logan Edmond, allowing Lockwood to pick the ball up and carry it three yards into the end zone.
Marcus Weathers, who had three sacks in the opener, led the way with 1.5 sacks on Saturday. Thomas and McCain each had one, while McAbee, Brendan Shadle, and Ethan Belville each notched the first of their career. Brett Gross also added his first career interception.
McCain had 15 tackles to move over 200 for his career, becoming the 13th player in school history to hit that mark.
Garlick finished 11-of-24 for 126 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, also rushing 10 times for 40 yards and a score. Ragland had 65 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and caught a team-high four passes.
Though the Bears were just 3-of-18 on third down, the offense converted all four of its fourth-down tries and produced 195 yards on the ground.
Ursinus returns to Patterson Field on Saturday for a Homecoming date with Juniata.