Thirty four might be the magic number of this season.
For the second week in a row, the Muhlenberg football team rode its dominant offense to a victory while scoring 34 points, narrowly edging Thomas More College 34-31. In the previous week at Ursinus, the Mules had put a 34 spot as well, in their 34-14 win. The Mules now sit at a perfect 6-0 record and are tied for the twenty third spot in the American Football Coaches Association’s and the D3football. com polls. The Mules are tied in both of these polls with Centennial Conference rival Johns Hopkins.
The Mules traveled to the state of Kentucky for the first time in over 70 years, according to the Muhlenberg Athletics website. Playing at Thomas More College, located just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Muhlenberg earned the win as time expired, on a field goal by kicker Todd Spirt ’20.
“I could speak for most of the team in saying none of us have ever driven nine hours to play a football game in Kentucky. Playing Thomas More was an experience few teams get to have and it was awesome,” said tight end Ryan Curtiss, ’20, who caught eight passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in Crestview Hills, Ky. “The atmosphere was very different and our preparation for the game was very different. It was good to spend time with our team in the hotel and on two 9-hour bus rides and it only brought our team closer. Overall the trip was a lot of fun and very different then what we are used to and I am happy we came out with a win.”
Curtiss was also named to D3football.com’s team of the week.
The win in the bluegrass state marked the end of a successful road trip for a Mules team that is still sitting at the top of the Centennial Conference standings. Although the team has played nearly flawlessly this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball, everyone on the team has seemed to buy into the team philosophy that hard work still must be put in week in and week out, and nothing should be taken for granted.
“We’re just trying to get better every week,” said running back James Diggs, ’21, who continued his stellar sophomore season with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. “We are satisfied to be able to go out and compete at a high level each week, so we just are excited to be doing well.” Diggs’ touchdown came at a critical moment of the game, the Mules were down 24-31 and he was able to punch through a crowded goal line to equalize the game.
Both Curtiss and Diggs are two of the many contributors on offense that has allowed the team to put up an average of close to 40 points a game this year. In a sport such as college football, it takes all 11 guys on the field working together in order for plays to execute properly. And when plays are executed properly, points are scored, which leads to wins. It sees like a relatively simple equation, but it’s not remotely possible without each member of the Mules buying into the winning philosophy that Coach Milne preaches on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
“We just try to carry out the excellent game plan Coach Milne creates for us each and every week. We trust the game plan he draws up and as long as we execute we feel we can compete in any game we play in,” said Diggs. “We are just focused on the next game each and every week. All of our opponents are formidable foes and we know that, so we pride ourselves at being in our best shape to compete.”
As much as the team has succeeded on the gridiron, it might be their strong team bond that has led to such dominance in the win column. Whatever it takes to win, the next man steps up. This is a team that always employs a team-first attitude, and as Curtiss says, they are continuously striving to get better. The Mules might have no losses right now, but this team is not looking back. They’re simply looking ahead to their next scheduled opponent.
“We are 6-0 right now and we have a lot of football left to play. What is gonna keep this team heading in the right path is our ability to believe in each other on this team and work hard every practice, workout, and film session to get each other better each day,” said Curtiss. “We need to continue to play our game and worry about what we can do to go out and beat any team in front of us. Take everything week by week and not worry about who we are playing but worry about how we are going to play and put it up to us to keep this team winning.”
The Mules jump back into conference play on Saturday, Oct. 20th against McDaniel College.
Photo courtesy of Muhlenberg College Athletics.