In what was an exciting game from start to finish, the Lions’ came up just short against the Ursinus College Bears, getting edged on a late touchdown by the score of 24-20.
Ursinus junior quarterback Chris Curran connected on a wild 45-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Ryan Lynady with just under three minutes to play to give the Bears the lead. The Lions’ final drive looked promising at first, but came up short and Ursinus clinched the win.
“I think we just have to be more consistent,” senior linebacker Michael Lambert said. “It’s the big plays that are going to hurt us. I don’t think there are many teams that can consistently go down the field on us.”
The game couldn’t have started off any better for the Lions, who had a near perfect opening drive. Senior quarterback Dan Dugan was five-for-five, hit senior tight end Pat Chirchirillo on two big pass gains and handed it off to senior running back Justin Doniloski for a one-yard touchdown run, giving the Lions a 7-0 lead.
“We wanted to come out strong and show that we’re a good offense, so capitalizing with a touchdown helped with that,” Dugan said.
On the College’s second drive, it was more of the same. Dugan threw consecutive completions to senior wide receiver Matt Rosati and broke free on a 41-yard run. He then concluded the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, getting the Lions out to a 14-0 lead.
The defense was dominant early, but the Bears finally got on the board after a punt return to the College’s 15-yard line. Just as two incompletions made it seem like another three-and-out was imminent, Curran tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Darius Jones to make the score 14-7.
Getting right back at it was Dugan, who threw two passes for 22 yards to senior wide receiver Glenn Grainger and a 28-yarder to junior wide receiver Fred Sprengel. The Lions were halted at the two-yard line, where senior kicker Derrick Hughes successfully made a 19-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-7.
Lambert intercepted Curran on the next drive, but the Lions gave it right back when Dugan threw a pick himself.
That turnover proved to be deadly. Curran threw both a 35-yard and 46-yard pass to Jones, the latter of which was a touchdown, resulting in a 17-14 score heading into the half.
In the second half, the Lions’ defense did it’s best to slow down the Bears’ offense, but an eventual 31-yard field goal by freshman kicker Eric Boyer tied the game at 17.
A 40-yard run by Doniloski seemed to jump-start the offense, but they still couldn’t break through the plane, settling for a 28-yard Hughes’ field goal — putting the Lions ahead by three.
The College’s defense continued to make plays when senior defensive back James Siracusa collected the team’s third interception. Junior linebacker Sean Clark also had one.
“We’re a defense that’s built on turnovers, so it’s good to see that in our first game we came out here and had a couple,” Lambert said.
However, the offense wouldn’t get any more points and the big play to Lynady proved to be the game-winner.
“We need to feel how bad this loss is and motivate ourselves to work harder in practice next week,” Dugan said.
It seemed as though the Lions had this one in the bag but were unable to seal the deal. The team played very well at the start and looked to maintain that level of play for the entire game.
“I think we definitely saw some good things, it’s just that we made a few mistakes that let them win the game,” Lambert said. “I think if we can take this, build on it and go into NJAC play, we’ll have a pretty good shot to have a good season.”
The team travels to Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham this Friday night for their next game.