BEREA, OHIO -- Senior All-American wide receiver Cecil Shorts III caught a pair of touchdown passes and returned a kickoff for a TD as the No.2-ranked University of Mount Union football team defeated host and rival Baldwin-Wallace College, 41-13, today (Sunday, November 6) on Tressel Field at The George Finnie Stadium before 5,985 fans on Seniors' and Parents' Day in Berea.
Shorts caught TD passes of 12 and 16 yards and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score in his first action in three weeks due to an injury. For the game, he caught four passes for 45 yards and the two TD.
The victory was the 52nd straight during the regular season for the Purple Raiders, 9-0 overall, who also clinched at least a tie for the OAC title at 8-0. The regular season title tie is Mt. Union's 19th straight and 22nd overall.
With its loss, B-W falls to 7-2 overall and 6-2 in the OAC and ends its regular season next Saturday in University Heights against OAC and Cleveland cross-town rival John Carroll University in the Annual Battle for the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy.
The Purple Raiders and the Yellow Jackets were tied 13-13 after one quarter, Mt. Union led 20-13 at halftime and 27-13 after three stanzas. Overall, Mt. Union outgained the Yellow Jackets, 337-200.
In the first quarter, B-W opened the scoring when freshman wide receiver/defensive back Kevin Johnson (Garfield Heights/ St. Ignatius) caught a 50 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Ryan O'Rourke (Avon) and senior placekicker Brad Pollock (Broadview Heights/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 12:59 remaining. The drive capped a four-play and 80-yard drive.
Mt. Union quickly responded to tie the score at 7-7 when Cecil Shorts took the ensuing kickoff 80-yards for the TD just 18 seconds later and sophomore PK Tyler Almeida hit the extra point.
The Purple Raiders took their first lead of the game at 13-7 senior tight end when Kyle Miller caught an 11-yard TD pass from sophomore QB Neal Seaman at the 4:12 mark of the first stanza, but Almeida's kick was blocked by Johnson. The play capped a 9-play and 52-yard drive in 3:39.
The Yellow Jackets tied the game at 13-13 with 1:18 left in the first quarter when junior running back Tim Miker (Parma/ Senior) scored on a one-yard run, but Pollock missed the PAT kick wide left. The play capped a 5-play and 50-yard drive in 2:44. The drive was set up by a 49-yard kickoff return by Johnson.
Mount Union regained the lead at 20-13 with 8:36 left in the first half when Shorts caught a 12-yard TD pass from Seaman and Almedia added the PAT. The score was set up when the Purple Raiders recovered a fumbled punt at the 12-yard line.
In the third quarter, Mt. Union extended its lead to 27-13 at the 12:20 mark when it marched 71 yards with the kickoff and Shorts caught his second TD pass from Seaman, this one a 16-yarder. Almedia added the PAT.
The Purple Raiders extended the lead to 34-13 when sophomore running back Jeremy Murray capped an 18 play, 93-yard drive that took 10:14 off clock when he ran three yards to the end zone and Almeida added the PAT.
Mt. Union scored its final TD when sophomore defensive back Nick Driskill picked off his fourth pass of the season and returned it 45 yards for a score. Almedia's PAT kick made the final score 41-13.
In addition to Shorts for Mt. Union offense, Seaman completed 16-of-24 passes for 203 yards with three TD and one interception. The game's leading rusher was Mt. Union's Murray with 170 yards in 32 attempts with a TD. Miller led the receiving corps with five grabs for 85 yards and a TD. The defense was led by Driskill and senior linebacker Sam Kershaw with 10 tackles each. In addition, sophomore defensive end Charles Dieuseul had nine stops and three quarterback sacks and OAC sack leader, senior Lambert Budzinski, had seven tackles and two sacks. The Mt. Union defense forced four turnovers and sacked O'Rourke six times.
B-W was led offensively by Miker and O'Rourke. Miker ran for a team-high 56 yards in 17 attempts with a TD. O'Rourke completed 12-of-22 passes for 166 yards with a TD but was picked off three times. The Jacket defense was led by junior linebacker J.J. Laseak (Mentor) with 13 tackles, including three tackles for loss, a QB sacks and a forced fumble. In addition, senior All-OAC linebacker Ryan Kish (Amherst/ Steele)had seven tackles and now stands 10th all-time in school history with 260 in his career.
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