Updated Sun, Nov 17, 2013 11:37 am
Senior Day for the Muskingum Muskies (2-8) proved to be more sweet than bitter, as they defeated the Marietta Pioneers (1-9), 24-14. Despite having more yards on offense and holding the ball longer, the Pioneers let their final game of the 2013 season slip away at McConagha Stadium in New Concord, Ohio.
A big special teams touchdown by the Fighting Muskies and Marietta’s inability to score in the second half highlighted the game between these bitter conference rivals. The Muskies retained the Shrine Trophy, as they captured their 50th win over Marietta in a rivalry that dates back to 1897.
Marietta quarterback Tom Fulton tied the game at seven late in the first quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kirby Harris. The Pioneers thought they had momentum going into the second quarter, but Muskingum kickoff returner Alvin Taylor had other plans. On the ensuing kickoff, Taylor caught the ball at the 3-yard line and proceeded to dash 97 yards for the touchdown, putting the Muskies up, 14-7, with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown gave Muskingum a lead it never relinquished.
Marietta outgained Muskingum with 368 offensive yards compared to the Muskies’ 341, but the Pioneers were unable to covert those yards into touchdowns. The Pios also had the ball on offense for nearly eight minutes longer than the Muskies, but could not make the most of their possessions.
Fulton went 15-for-26 with 202 yards passing, but the key stat was that he was sacked five times by a relentless Muskingum defense. Khalid Muhammed led the Muskies with two sacks. He was accompanied by linebacker Damond Goggins, who had 13 tackles on the day, giving him a total of 100 this season.
The Muskies did not have the same success through the air with only 80 yards passing on seven attempts. The running game, however, proved to be lethal, as quarterback Cody Williams and running backs Shane Dotson and Melvin Smith combined for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Muskingum had 40 more rushes than passes, but Marietta could not find a way to stop the Muskies’ ground game.
Neither team scored in the second half, sealing Marietta’s fate of having only one win in its past two seasons. The game closes out head coach Andy Waddle’s first season with the Pios, and he looks to turn the program around in his second year at the helm.