---- — By The Daily Item
ALLENTOWN -- Offensive struggles added up to a loss for Susquehanna, as the Crusaders fell 38-18 on the road at Centennial Conference opponent Muhlenberg.
Susquehanna (0-5, 0-4 CC) went up 5-0 early in the game but was outscored 38-13 over the remainder of the action.
The Muhlenberg defense held Susquehanna to just nine first downs all afternoon while the Mules (3-2, 2-2) had 17 first downs to go along with 165 yards passing and 146 yards on the ground.
Starting quarterback Cam Olson, making only his second career start, finished 9-of-19 for 71 yards. Tim Wade led the running game with 55 yards on 11 carries while also catching four balls for a total of 29 yards.
Despite what final score indicated, the SU defense had a solid day. Ian Murray led the team in tackles (12) in his first career start and also added 1.5 sacks. Jared Minori, meanwhile, tallied eight tackles, one sack, four tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
The game started out on a promising note when Minori forced a Muhlenberg safety less than five minutes into the game to give the SU offense a 2-0 lead with which to work.
The Crusaders were able to make it a 5-0 edge courtesy of Selinsgrove High grad Spencer Hotaling's 40-yard field goal with 2:46 to play in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, Muhlenberg would go on to put up 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, including a 39-yard field goal with just five seconds remaining that made it 17-5 at halftime.
The Crusaders came out of the locker room, though, and promptly put six points on the board thanks to a Duke Hyacinthe punt block, which he recovered in the Muhlenberg endzone. Unfortunately Hotaling missed the extra point but Susquehanna was still able pull back within six (17-11) of the lead.
The Mules countered with a touchdown of their own, though, on a nine-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a rushing touchdown from Kevin Van Laar for a 24-11 ballgame with 9:31 left in the third quarter.
Muhlenberg tacked on another seven points on its very next possession which ended with a three-yard rushing touchdown from Mike Harris to put SU in a 31-11 hole with just over six minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Crusaders fell into a 27-point hole, 38-11, after another Mules touchdown well into the fourth quarter. Susquehanna took advantage of what time was left, however, by adding a late-game touchdown when Minori recovered a fumble that Mason Spangler took and ran 20 yards into the endzone to make it 38-18 with 59 seconds remaining, which marked the final scoring of the game for either squad.
The team is off next weekend as the conference enters its bye week. The Crusaders return to action on Oct. 19 when they host Moravian on Homecoming Weekend.