Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dutchmen Run Over Misericordia, 31-14

Lebanon Valley photo by Tim Flynn '05
DALLAS, Pa. - Four touchdowns by Austin Hartman spurred a smashmouth ground attack as Lebanon Valley beat Misericordia 31-14 to maintain a share of first place in the Middle Atlantic Conference.

The Dutchmen (6-1, 5-1 MAC) maintained pace in the MAC title race, staying in a tie for first with Widener and Lycoming. The four-way knot for first is down to three, however, after Delaware Valley - next week's opponent - lost in overtime to King's. The win was the 99th for coach Jim Monos, who will have a chance to be LVC's first 100-game winner next week.

LVC had the second-best rushing day in program history, going off for 441 yards led by Hartman's 228 and Brendan Irving's 154. Hartman's total was the fourth-most ever in a game, and he and Irving both went for 100+ yards for the second time this season. LVC's line was dominant in both phases, not allowing a sack while pushing LVC to its highest rushing total since 1989.

Misericordia (0-7, 0-6 MAC), the MAC's top rushing offense heading into the game, was held to 166 yards on the ground and just 91 yards after their long opening drive. The Cougars had come in averaging 293 yards per game rushing out of their spread option scheme.

LVC completed only one pass - a 12-yarder to Jake Zeigler - and did not punt, scoring five drives, turning it over three times, and running out the clock twice. Misericordia's Jeff Puckett completed 10 of 18 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.

The Cougars marched 75 yards downfield and scored on Puckett's finisher to take the lead on their opening drive, but Hartman answered back with his own one-yard plunge to tie the game later in the first quarter. The Dutchmen drove deep but were stopped to start the second, setting up Sean Fakete's 25-yard field goal, and Hartman made it 17-7 later in the quarter with a 16-yard run to cap a 72-yard, seven-play drive.

The second half started sloppily for LVC, which turned the ball over on three straight possessions to begin the third. Brian Murphy was picked off twice but Misericordia couldn't capitalize; after the second, however, Matt Richmond couldn't handle the ensuing punt, and Puckett found Juwan Petties-Jackson for a 31-yard strike two plays later to cut the lead to 17-14.

Hartman answered on the next drive, scoring from two yards out to go up 24-14, and after the defense forced a punt, the run game again set up a three-yard touchdown, Hartman's fourth, to finish it at 31-14 midway through the fourth quarter.