By JEFFREY ZUPANIC | The Alliance Review
ALLIANCE -- Mount Union's offense didn't spend too much time on the field but saw plenty of time in the end zone during a 72-14 win against undermanned Christopher Newport on Saturday afternoon.
The Purple Raiders (11-0) had the ball for just 11:06 in the first half while running 33 offensive plays, but managed to score 49 points. The scoring drives were efficient and quick. All seven touchdowns took less than seven plays while two of the drives saw just two plays before paydirt.
"We started fast on offense. We hit some big plays in the first quarter that allowed us to get off to a fast start," said Mount Union head coach Larry Kehres. "Then we were able to continue at that pace for the rest of the game."
Senior running back T.J. Lattimore had two touchdowns in the first quarter on runs of 10 and 16 yards, while gaining 69 yards on nine first-half carries. Senior wide receiver Jasper Collins also had a pair of scores from 11 and 26 yards, respectively, while Julius Moore had the biggest play of the game on his 55-yard touchdown reception.
Collins and Moore both went over the 100-yard mark in the first half as sophomore quarterback Kevin Burke completed 11-of-15 passes for 264 yards before halftime. Most of the starters did not play after the second quarter.
The Purple Raiders took a 14-0 lead with 9:56 left in the first quarter after an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Chris Denton. It was Denton's fifth punt return for score of the season, which tied the Division III record set in 2001.
"The coaches tell me which way to run, and I look at the blocks," said Denton. "I had some great blocks, especially by Shawn Riley downfield."
Christopher Newport (6-5) become the fourth straight team to score in the first quarter against Mount Union after the previous six opponents were shut out for the game. The Captains made it 21-7 with 1:31 left in the quarter with by far their best offensive series of the game. They moved the ball 76 yards on eight plays capped by sophomore quarterback Marcus Morrast finding fullback Zach Stevens in the middle of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.
Mount Union and Lattimore answered the score quickly and it was 28-7 after the first quarter. They put the game away with a 21-point second quarter highlighted by the big plays from Collins and Moore. The Purple Raiders amassed a season-best in yardage with 641 on 69 plays.
Christopher Newport had 100 total yards at the half and finished with 102 after a last-second touchdown made it 72-14. At one point during the second half, the Captains were held to minus-28 yards before they finished in positive numbers.
"The last couple of (regular season) games we got off to a little shaky of a start so we wanted to come out and set the tone right away," said Mount Union senior linebacker Charles Dieuseul, who led the team with seven tackles.
Minerva high school graduate Drew Prendergast scored his second touchdown of the season on a 4-yard run that made it 65-7 just five seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Purple Raiders won their 65th straight game at home and will face Johns Hopkins in the second round next Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.
MOUNT UNION 72, CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT 14
Christopher Newport 7 0 0 7 -- 14
Mount Union 28 21 9 14 -- 72
MTU --Lattimore 10 run (Almeida kick)
MTU -- Denton 80 punt return (Almeida kick)
MTU -- Collins 11 pass from Burke (Almeida kick)
CNU -- Stevens 17 pass from Morrast (Studer kick)
MTU -- Lattimore 16 run (Spearman kick)
MTU -- Moore 55 pass from Burke (Spearman kick)
MTU -- Collins 26 pass from Burke (Spearman kick)
MTU -- Simon 1 run (Spearman kick)
MTU --Skilliter 24 run (kick failed)
MTU --Spearman 18 field goal
MTU -- Prendergast 4 run (Spearman kick)
MTU -- Minnich 25 run (Spearman kick)
CNU -- Bertrand 8 pass from Garner (Studer kick)