Palladino Passes Football to Fifth Straight Win

Saturday, November 8, 2014 - page 3

Senior Day for the Muhlenberg football team turned into quite a day for a sophomore.

Nick Palladino threw for a career-high 375 yards and broke two school records to lead the Mules to a 41-27 win against Ursinus in their final home game of the regular season.

John Feaster With their fifth straight win, the Mules (8-1, 7-1) clinched no worse than a second-place finish in the Centennial Conference for the fifth straight year. Muhlenberg can tie for the CC championship with a win against Moravian next week if Johns Hopkins loses to last-place McDaniel.

Palladino completed 32 of 44 passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions in becoming the first Mule quarterback with three consecutive 300-yard games. He came into the game needing 16 completions to break the school record of 187 in a season and flew past that with ease, coming up one short of the school record for completions in a game.

Seniors who enjoy milestones were Connor Winter, who kicked four extra points to break the school record of 124 in a career; Cody Geyer (5 catches, 63 yards), who caught his 100th career pass; and Ian Gimbar, who broke the school record for career sacks (which he had tied earlier in the season).

Junior Nick Lamb became the eighth different Mule to reach double digits in receptions in a game, hauling in 10 passes for 102 yards and a pair of scores.

Muhlenberg held Ursinus (6-3, 5-3) to 49 rushing yards and held possession for more than 40 minutes.

The Mules took a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Winter, capping a 12-play, 61-yard drive – one of three drives of at least 12 plays they had in the game. Muhlenberg’s next possession was a 13-play, 71-yard march that ended with Palladino hitting Lamb for a 7-yard scoring strike that made it 10-0 with 12:13 left in the half.

The Bears scored their first points before getting their first first down, taking advantage of a fumble at the 5-yard line to punch in a touchdown with 8:55 left in the second quarter.

Nick Palladino The next three possessions all ended in touchdown passes. Palladino hit junior Mike Harris for a 29-yard score before Ursinus answered. Muhlenberg took over with 2:12 left in the half and executed a two-minute drive that ended with Palladino’s 9-yard TD pass to Michael Long (6 catches, 83 yards) with 25.7 seconds left.

Ursinus stopped Muhlenberg on third down on the opening drive of the second half, but a rare penalty for roughing the snapper gave the Mules a first down. Two plays later, Palladino hit Lamb from 36 yards out to make it 31-13.

Freshman Max Cepeda returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown following the next Bear possession, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. Three plays later, Palladino completed his most creative pass of the game (left), flipping the ball to Cepeda for a 10-yard gain just before he hit the ground.

After Winter’s second field goal extended the lead to 34-13, the Bears closed to within two scores on a scoring pass with 10:11 left.

On the next drive, Palladino was sacked on back-to-back plays to bring up fourth down, but Ursinus was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving Muhlenberg an automatic first down. Later in the drive, the Bears were given two unsportsmanlike penalties on the same play, and Cepeda capped the drive six plays later with a 1-yard run for the clinching TD.
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pictured at right: Sophomore John Feaster makes one of his three tackles.