The University of Mount Union football team proved to be just as good as advertised Saturday night as the top- ranked Raiders rolled to a dominating 52-0 victory over the Marietta College Pioneers in an Ohio Athletic Conference contest at Don Drumm Stadium.
The Raiders got of to somewhat of a sluggish start in the first quarter before scoring three times in three minutes in the second period to pull out to a 24-0 halftime lead.
"They are number one for a reason and they have very few weaknesses," said fifth year Pioneer head coach Jeff Filkovski. "We were in the football game in the first half but a missed assignment led to some quick points and certainly you can't give a team like that points."
The Raiders got on the board first when running back T.J. Lattimore capped an eight-play, 65 yard drive with a five- yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.
As was the case in their first two games, the Pioneers struggled to get any kind of a ground game going against the Raiders and combined with a strong wind blowing that affected the passing game, it proved to be a long night for quarterback Tom Fulton.
The Pioneer signal caller was sacked no less than nine times in the game by the tenacious Mount Union defense.
Mount Union 52, Marietta 0
MA (0-3) 0 0 0 0 - 0
MU (3-0) 7 17 14 14 - 52
MU: T.J. Lattimore 5 run (Tyler Almeida kick) 5:20, 1st
MU: Almeida 22 field goal 10:39, 2nd
MU: Jasper Collins 40 pass Kevin Burke (Almeida kick) 9:10, 2nd
MU: Chris Denton 23 pass Burke (Almeida kick) 7:38, 2nd
MU: Lattimore 4 run (Almeida kick) 9:58, 3rd
MU: Shannon Stewart 31 pass Burke (Almeida kick) 5:03, 3rd
MU: Roman Namdar 4 run (Almeida kick) 12:05, 4th
MU: Jack Nicholls 45 pass Namdar (Almeida kick) 7:10, 4th
Marietta: First downs: 10; Rushes-yards: 32-0; Passing yards: 90; Total yards: 90; Passing: 10-25-0-2; Punts: 9; Fumbles-lost: 1-1; Penalties-yards: 3-25
Mount Union: First downs: 23; Rushes-yards: 45-259; Passing yards: 237; Total yards: 596; Passing: 12-19; Punts: 3; Fumbles-lost: 2-1; Penalties-yards: 7-71
Marietta: Quincy Bell 7-19; Passing: Tom Fulton 10-25, 90 yards; Receiving: Kirby Harris 6-62, Sean Munfield 1-13
Mount Union: T.J. Lattimore 18-102; Passing: Kevin Burke 8-14, 163 yards; Receiving: Chris Denton 6-89
Next game: Marietta at Heidelberg Saturday
A short 22-yard field goal by Tyler Almeida increased the Mount Union lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter and Raider linebacker Charles Dieuseul intercepted a Fulton pass in Pioneer territory to set up a 40-yard pass from Kevin Burke to Jasper Collins to make it 17-0.
Minutes later, the Mount Union defense caused another Pioneer turnover when Nick Driskill sacked Fulton from his blind side forcing the ball loose, and after Frank Orteca recovered the fumble the Raiders were in business once again.
It would not take the Raider offense long at all to capitalize as Burke found Chris Denton wide open down the middle of the field for a 23-yard touchdown and a 24-0 lead.
Any hopes of a Pioneer second-half comeback were dashed rather quickly by the Raider offense as Mount Union scored on each of its first second-half possessions.
Lattimore accounted for the first Raider second half score on a four-yard run and when Burke connected on a 31-yard touchdown strike with Shannon Stewart on a fourth-and-25, the rout was on.
"We are playing a lot of young guys in a new defense," said Filkovski of the fourth down breakdown. "We had a guy that was supposed to blitz that didn't and that just gave him (Burke) too much time to find an open guy."
The Pioneers were able to manage next to no offense against the Raider defense as they compiled zero rushing yards on the day and only 90 yards of total offense in the game.
A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns rounded out the scoring for the Raiders and gave head coach Larry Kehres his 320th career victory, good enough to pass the legendary Pop Warner for fifth place in college football history.
"Certainly he has done a great job up there," said Filkovski of Kehres, who is now just three wins away from tying Paul "Bear" Bryant for fourth place. "He's a great man and to take that program from where it was in the late eighties to where it is today is magnificent."
Things will not get much easier for the Pios next week as they travel to Heidelberg to battle the Student Princes in another conference tilt.
"I told our kids that these two weeks will be our toughest two weeks of the year," said Filkovski. "Heidelberg is another physical team that will get right after it. We'll come up with a game plan and go complete our tails off."
Mount Union improved to a perfect 3-0 with the win, while the Pioneers slip to 0-3.