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College Football: McDaniel mauled by Muhlenberg as losing streak hits three straight

For the second straight week, McDaniel’s football team was overwhelmed by a Centennial Conference opponent.

Last week it was a 34-0 road loss at Dickinson, and Saturday a 49-7 loss to No. 6-ranked Muhlenberg at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium.

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The Green Terror (3-4, 2-4 in the Centennial Conference) struggled on both sides of the ball and were outgained 550-153. That disparity would’ve been greater if not for McDaniel’s improbable 85-yard touchdown with 6:14 remaining in the second quarter.

Green Terror quarterback Tyler Palermiti’s pass was deflected by Mules defensive back Joseph O’Hagan right into the hands of Javon Hamilton, who sprinted down the sideline for a touchdown. It was McDaniel’s longest passing play since 2013.

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Muhlenberg (7-0, 6-0) overpowered McDaniel’s offensive line all afternoon, holding the Green Terror to 28 rushing yards. Quarterback Tyler Palermiti also struggled, completing just eight of 17 passes for 125 yards and was sacked five times.

“They don’t hide anything,” McDaniel senior linebacker Jarius Ransom said. “They’re just going to dominate you. There’s nothing hidden about what they were going to do and they just go straight at you.”

The Mules set the tone early, blocking Peyton Denlinger’s punt following a three-and-out on the Green Terror’s opening drive and recovering at McDaniel’s 26-yard line. Five plays later, James Diggs ran for an 8-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Following another three-and-out, the Mules went right back to work, going 79 yards in nine plays, with Michael Hnatkowsky finding Max Kirin (Liberty) for a 20-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

Muhlenberg punt returner Sean Jansson muffed and lost a punt at his own 27 following another McDaniel three-and-out, but the Green Terror couldn’t capitalize. The Green Terror went backward four yards, and Denlinger’s 48-yard field goal hit the left upright. On the ensuing drive, Cole Draghi’s fumble was recovered by Kofi Siga at McDaniel’s 17. The Green Terror failed to capitalize again, going three and out.

Muhlenberg added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, with Hnatkowsky in command of its hurry-up offense. Diggs had a 20-yard scamper for his second touchdown of the game with 6:32 remaining in the second quarter, and Hnatkowsky found Kirin again for a 21-yard touchdown with 57 seconds left in the half and a 28-7 lead.

Hnatkowsky finished 18-for-30 with 273 yards and three touchdowns in just three quarters.

“He makes great decisions,” McDaniel coach Demarcus White said of Hnatkowsky. “That young man does a really good job of being a leader within their offense and really getting everybody where they need to go and need to be and keeping everybody calm.”

The Mules added three more touchdowns in the second half, including a 93-yard catch-and-run by Ryan Dimmick with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter.

McDaniel hits the road against next week to face Ursinus, looking to avoid its fourth straight loss. The Bears have beaten the Green Terror the last two years, including a 30-14 win on the Hill last season.

“For us, the game come downs to make a play and we just couldn’t,” White said. “That’s what’s been going on the last couple weeks, teams are forcing us to win their one-and-one matchup our guys are playing and we just can’t.”

NOTE: Max Kirin is one of three Carroll natives on Muhlenberg’s roster. The senior caught six passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while his brother, junior linebacker and fellow Liberty alum Spencer Kirin, had six tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. Junior Sam Rothstein (Century) started at right guard.

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