Football: #1 Mount Union Battles the Berg Saturday at Home

Josh Petruccelli (Photo by Steven Kachilla)
Josh Petruccelli (Photo by Steven Kachilla)

#1 Mount Union Purple Raiders vs Heidelberg Student Princes

 
The Matchup: The No. 1 ranked Mount Union football team hosts Heidelberg in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1:30 p.m. at Mount Union Stadium.
 
The Purple Raiders (6-0, 5-0 OAC) took the nation's longest active win streak to 21 games with a 77-3 win at Capital last week in Columbus.
 
Mount Union quarterback D'Angelo Fulford (Miramar, Fla.) threw a career-high six touchdown passes – five in the first half – as he was 14-of-16 for 276 yards while running back Josh Petruccelli (Perry) had a career-best 140 yards on the ground with two scores.
 
Three of Fulford's touchdown passes were to Jared Ruth (Indianapolis, Ind. / Pike) as he had six catches for 124 yards as the Raider offense cranked out 563 yards. 
 
The defense forced a Capital fumble and had three interceptions. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns by Louis Berry (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Shady Side Academy) and Skyler Scott (Carroll / Canal Winchester).
 
Special teams also had a big day as placekicker Cory Barnett (Grove City / Teays Valley) set a Mount Union single-game record with 11 extra points.
 
Heidelberg (4-2, 3-2 OAC) retained the Rhine River Cup with a 21-7 victory over Otterbein last Saturday. 
 
On the offensive end,  Heidelberg quarterback Trace Reynolds completed 18 of 26 passes, for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Both passing scores for the Berg were hauled in by Maceo Matthews. 
 
Defensively, the Berg allowed their fewest points in a game all season while getting three turnovers. Zach Blackiston had a fumble recovery along with six tackles, including two sacks. Heidelberg also got interceptions from Dylan Marder and Jordan Green.
 
The Series: This is the 62nd meeting between the teams with Mount Union holding a 48-13 lead in a series that dates back to a 34-10 Raider win in 1910. Mount Union has won the last 29 meetings with Heidelberg's last win coming in 1988, 24-14 in Tiffin. 
 
A year ago, Mount Union scored on the first play of the game when D'Angelo Fulford hit Jared Ruth on a 70-yard touchdown and the Raiders were on their way to a 63-7 win. Fulford finished the day with 403 yards of total offense (341 yards passing + 62 yards rushing).
 
Team Captains: Mount Union has five team captains in wide receivers Luke Herrrington (Wintersville/Steubenville) and Jared Ruth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), safety Nick Brish (Milford, Mich./Brighton), linebacker Danny Robinson (Massillon/Massillon Washington) and defensive back Louis Berry (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shady Side Academy).
 
Up Next: Mount Union takes its final two road trips of the regular season over the next two weeks going to Ohio Northern next Saturday, Oct. 27 then to Muskingum on Nov. 3. Both games have a 1:30 p.m. kickoff time.
 
Scouting the Student Princes: Heidelberg is 4th in the OAC in total offense (428.8 yards per game) and 6th in total defense (402.3 yards per game).
 
Senior quarterback Trace Reynolds accounts for 75-percent of Heidelberg's total offense and is 13th in the nation with an average of 323.3 combined passing and rushing yards per game. He has completed 63-percent of his passes (100-for-158) for 1,332 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is also the team's leading rusher with 608 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
 
Senior wide receiver Braden Jerome leads the team with 39 receptions for 513 yards along with four touchdowns, while sophomore Maceo Matthews has a team-best six touchdown receptions.
 
In the backfield, sophomore tailback Jace Grossman had a career-high 95 rushing yards last week.
 
On defense, freshman linebacker Zach Blackiston, a Massillon Perry grad, ranks ninth in the country in sacks per game with 1.42. He leads the league in total sacks on the season with 8.5 and is the Berg's top tackler with 58 stops.
 
Senior defensive back Jordan Green has a team-best two interceptions.
 
Titletown: All three of Mount Union's national championship teams from last year -- football, men's indoor track and field and men's outdoor track and field will be honored at halftime.
 
Senior wrestler Jairod James (Bedford) will also be recognized for winning the 174-pound NCAA Division III title.
 
Three other Raiders will be recognized for leading NCAA Division III in a statistical catagory last season. Sophomore faceoff specialist Chris Motter (Hudson) led all of NCAA Division III men's lacrosse in faceoff percentage. D'Angelo Fulford led the nation in pass efficiency, passing touchdowns and points responsible for while Justin Hill (Circleville) led the nation in receiving touchdowns.
 
Six Pack: D'Angelo Fulford (Miramar, Fla.) matched his career-high with six touchdown passes at Capital and he now has 20 TD passes on the season.
 
Fulford is also second in NCAA Division III in passing efficiency with a rating of 197.4. He led all of college football in that category a year ago.
 
Three of a Kind: Jared Ruth (Indianapolis, Ind. / Pike) matched his career-high with three touchdown receptions. He leads the team with seven touchdown catches on the season.
 
Petro on the Run: Josh Petruccelli (Perry) had a career-high 140 rushing yards on 15 carries last week which was his second game of the season with over 100 rushing yards. It was his fifth game of his career over the 100-yard mark as his previous best was a 27-carry, 132-yard performance at UW-Oshkosh last season.
 
White-Out: Safety Austin White (Wadsworth) forced and recovered a fumble on the one-yard line that stopped a 17-play Capital drive. White leads the team with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries this season.
 
Extra, Extra: Cory Barnett (Grove City / Teays Valley) set a Mount Union single-game record by converting 11 extra points last week at Capital. It bested the previous record of 10 which was held by five former Raiders.
  • Lloyd Bletzer vs. Wooster, 1914
  • Jim Brauncher vs. Wilmington, 1969
  • Rodney Chenos vs. Capital, 1999
  • Mike Zimmerman vs. John Carroll, 2005
  • Ed Ruhnke vs. Wesley, 2014
In the Zone: Mount Union's defense scored two touchdowns at Capital last week and now leads the nation with six defensive touchdowns this season. The Raiders have seven non-offensive touchdowns as they also blocked a field goal and returned it for a score.