Ursinus Football won the Centennial/MAC Bowl on Nov. 17 over Misericordia College. The victory capped off the Bears fourth straight win to end the season. The most exciting victory in the stretch came against Franklin and Mar- shall College (F&M).
On Nov. 3, Ursinus football fought a war of strategy, toughness, and collective willpower. There was a comeback from a 17 point deficit, a counter from a conference rival, and a game winning kick from a linebacker. It was a unique football game, the likes of which you’re unlikely to see again.
The team went into its first game of the month knowing that this was a special, different game. Junior quarterback Tom Garlick was set to become Ursinus’ all time leader in passing yards. Ursinus was traveling to face its notorious Centennial Conference rivals, F&M.
“This was the first time that my class of seniors has beaten them, so it felt great to have a part in making that happen for our team,” senior Kirk Cherneskie said.
It would have been easy to expect that this time, F&M would once again take down the Bears. According to Ursinus Athletics, the score was 17-0 at one point. By halftime the Bears managed to chip away at the deficit, narrowing it to 17-7.
It was 17-10 after three quarters of play, then the Bears were able to go up 17-24 with eight minutes remaining in the game.
“Our defense went out there and shut F&M down in the second half and the offense consistently chipped away at the F&M lead,” said Cherneskie.
However, F&M wasn’t going to just fold. It was 24-24 late into the 4th quarter after F&M scored a touchdown to cap a 13-play, 92- yard drive, leaving just a little over a minute for the Bears to try to avoid overtime.
Ursinus put itself in position to finally put the game away when they drove down the field and lined up for a 38-yard field goal attempt with just six seconds remaining. It was Cherneskie’s time to shine.
The linebacker-turned-kicker was now in the prime position to define his short kicking career.
“The kick was with 6 seconds left in the game. With just over a minute, our offense did a great job getting the ball into field goal range after starting on our own 25 yard line,” Cherneskie said.
Despite the clutch offensive play, the Bears knew that with the nature of this game they would have to play until the final whistle.
“As soon as the ball went through, I was really excited but looked back at the game clock and saw that there was still 1 second left. Everyone on the team was coming onto the field to celebrate with me but all I could think about was that I still had to kickoff. It was not until Matt Gallagher snatched one of F&M’s attempted laterals on our kickoff that I really felt like we could celebrate,” Cherneskie said.
The total team effort by the Bears made it a game to remember.
“It is important to remember that this kick just capped off an amazing team comeback. I would have never hit a game-winning field goal without the tremendous effort by everyone else who allowed me to have that opportunity,” Cherneskie said.
Ursinus ended the regular sea- son on a high note with one more victory against Dickinson on Senior Day (Nov. 10), which they won 31-0. Their three straight wins to close out the regular season – they also defeated McDaniel on Oct. 27 – qualified Ursinus for a bowl game.
“It is important to remember that this kick just capped off an amazing team comeback. I would have never hit a game- winning field goal without the tremendous effort by every- one else who allowed me to have that opportunity.” — Kirk Cherneskie Kicker/Linebacker Class of 2019
Ursinus competed in the fourth annual Centennial/MAC Bowl on Nov. 17. They squared up to play Misericordia in Dallas, Pa.
The Bears went on to trounce the Cougars in a blowout: 70-14.
Ursinus scored at least two touchdowns in each quarter while shutting out the Cougars in the second half of action.
Tom Garlick threw for 365 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions to put a nice finish to his season and clinch the victory for Ursinus.
Sophomore running back Sam Ragland rushed for a season-high 203 yards. He also scored a whopping five touchdowns (four rushing) in the affair.
After winning the Centennial/ Mac Bowl, the Bears’ season is over. They will now go into the off- season trying their best to get to the top of the Centennial Conference next year.