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Desiderio paces Ursinus to 43-18 win

Aaron Slaughter © 2010 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Aaron Slaughter © 2010 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

Bears tally 20 in final 3:44 of first half to overcome McDaniel

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Al Desiderio caught three passes – all for touchdowns – accounting for 161 yards to lead No. 24 Ursinus in a 43-18 victory over McDaniel in Centennial Conference (CC) football action on Saturday.

Justin Decristofaro completed 23 of 38 passes for 367 yards with five touchdowns for the Bears (7-0, 6-0 CC), who took over sole possession of first place in the conference standings after Franklin & Marshall defeated previously conference unbeaten Muhlenberg, 17-7.

Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) threw for 215 yards for the Green Terror (4-3, 3-3 CC), completing 17 of 45 attempts with a pair of touchdown passes.

Massucci went 4-for-9 for 75 yards in the first quarter, staking his team to a 13-7 lead through the game's first 10:44.

However, three Ursinus touchdowns in the final 3:44 of the first half gave the hosts a 14-point halftime advantage.

Taking over at its own 38 with 7:38 to play, Decristofaro guided his team down the field for the tying score.

Keyed by a 43-yard connection with Nick Giarratano, the Bears needed nine plays and 4:03 to even the game at 13 when Decristofaro dove over the goal line on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line.

After five Green Terror plays, Sean Whalen had a strip sack, setting up Ursinus at the Green Terror 39.

On the first play, Descristofaro found Desiderio for a 39-yard touchdown.

After a McDaniel three-and-out, it was a 52-yard connection between the same pair that stretched the lead to 27-13 with 18.8 seconds on the first-half clock.

A roughing the passer penalty and 22-yard pass play to Ray O'Hara (Yardley, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) keyed an eight-play Green Terror drive after the intermission that resulted in a 24-yard Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) field goal and 27-16 deficit.

Michael Bennett responded on the ensuing Bear possession with a 38-yard to stretch the lead back to 14.

A 70-yard catch-and-run by Desiderio pushed the lead to 36-16 but Aaron Slaughter (Baltimore, Md./Loyola) blocked the PAT and Chris Kolb (Keymar, Md./Francis Scott Key) scooped it up and returned it the other way for the two points – the first time a Green Terror pulled off the feat since Scott Stolzenburg did it against Susquehanna on Sept. 8, 2001.
Decristofaro's found Storm Miller for a fifth touchdown pass – an eight-yard connection with 8:16 to play in the fourth quarter set the final margin.

Ursinus took the opening kickoff 70 yards on 15 plays, consuming 6 minutes, 28 seconds and culminating with an 11-yard scoring strike to Kahlil Pittman.

Two drives later, the Green Terror responded.

Facing fourth-and-2 from the Ursinus 31, Massucci found Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.) on a crossing pattern that he turned up the right sideline to even the game with 4:42 to play in the first quarter.

Jesse Jarvis (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) knocked the ball loose on the ensuing kickoff to set McDaniel up at the Bear 24.

Two plays into the drive, Massucci hit Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) for a  24-yard touchdown and 13-7 advantage just 26 seconds after the Cahill score.

Slaughter led the Green Terror defense with 10 tackles while Bradley Akers (Wilmington, Del./John Dickinson) and Diego Weiner (Miami, Fla./Riverside Military Academy [Ga.]) each had nine.

The Green Terror returns to action at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.