Alliance, OH- The University of Mount Union Purple Raiders finally returned to Kehres Stadium to open the home slate of their 2023 season by welcoming OAC opponent Muskingum to town. Muskingum entered the game 3-0 overall and 2-0 in OAC play, with Mount entering the bout 2-0 and 1-0 in the conference following last weeks victory over the Marietta Pioneers.
It didn't take long for the Purple Raiders to get on the board, as Josh Jones returned an opening drive interception from 64 yards out to the end zone. Following a 3 and out on the ensuing drive, it was the Purple Raiders potent offense that would take the field with their sights set on 7.
On a 3 play, 44 yard drive, it was QB Braxton Plunk connecting with Tyrell Sanders from 17 yards out for the score, making it 14-0 with 7:58 on the clock. On the first play from scrimmage for the Fighting Muskies on the ensuing drive, it was another pick-6 for the Raiders defense, this time it was Brandon Yanssens hauling in the Doug Crawford attempt and running it in from 30 yards out.
Later in the opening frame, it was the familiar connection of Braxton Plunk and Wayne Ruby for the score, on a 31 yard pass and catch to extend the lead to 28-0 with 18 ticks left on the opening quarter clock. The Purple Raiders would add to their lead with 5:51 left in the 2nd quarter when Tyler Echeverry took a run in from the 1 yard line. Later in the 2nd quarter, it was Plunk calling his own number on a QB keeper from 3 yards out to extend the lead to 42-0 with 3:04 left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, a short line drive kick led to issues for the Muskies return man, leading to the offense taking the field with the ball on their own 2 yard line. The Purple Raiders defense swarmed, causing Doug Crawford to attempt to throw the ball away from his own end zone, but there was no receiver nearby resulting in an intentional grounding penalty and a safety, making the score 44-0 in favor of the Raiders. They would add a buzzer beating field goal to head into the half with a 47-0 advantage.
Echeverry would add his second rushing touchdown of the day 1 minute into the third quarter on a 5 yard scamper to extend the lead to 54-0. With many substitutions in on both sides, Muskies backup QB Jayden Young found WR Zuri Edmonsdson down the left sideline for a 80 yard touchdown to put the Fighting Muskies on the board.
Mount Union would add another Camron field goal with 2:15 left in the 3rd to extend the lead to 57-7. IN the 4th quarter, it was Darnell Williams rumbling down the right sideline for the Purple Raiders from 63 yards out for the touchdown. Camron would add another field goal, this time from 28 yards out to further extend the Purple Raiders lead to 67-7 with 9:55 left in the
Ricky Buggs hauled in another Purple Raiders interception with 4:47 left in the game, setting the Purple Raiders up at the Muskies 9 yard line. In an attempt to not run up the score, head coach Geoff Dartt opted to attempt a field goal on 2nd down. A botched snap led to a scramble, resulting in holder and punter Michael Franklin finding Drew Simms in the back of the end zone all alone. Following a successful PAT, the score read 74-7.
The four interceptions on the day for the Purple Raiders tied a school record for interceptions in a game, while the 74 points ties for #4 on the school list for most points in a single game.
The Purple Raiders are at home next Saturday for Homecoming as they welcome Ohio Northern with a 2:00 pm kickoff.