Two Mules stand out in takedown of Ursinus

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While most of the student body was home for the college’s Fall Break on Oct. 7, the Muhlenberg football team was dominating at Scotty Wood Stadium in front of a smaller crowd than usual. Coping with the tragic loss of long time Head Coach, Mike Donnelly, just three days before game day the Mules were set to face Centennial Conference rival Ursinus, who was tied for first place in the conference entering play with a perfect 5-0 record.

Preparation for this game was a bit different as Muhlenberg was victorious beating Ursinus 21-14 which yielded two Mules earning special honors from the conference for their stellar play. Both Mickey Kober (Defense) ‘20 and Joseph O’Hagen (Special Teams) ‘20 received Centennial Conference Player of the Week.  “The passing of Coach Donnelly was a huge motivation for the entire program this week. The whole team just wanted to play in Coach Donnelly’s honor and make him proud on and off the field,” mentioned Kober. “The defensive attempted to emulate Coach Donnelly’s work ethic and longstanding tradition of physical defensive play throughout the practice week and on game day,” Kober added.

Kober’s defensive impact was no surprise for the Mules.  As a freshman, he started all 11 games for the Mules, and so far this season he has picked up right where he left off.  So far in his sophomore campaign, Kober is 2nd on the team in tackles. “Coming into this week, we knew Ursinus had intended to establish a running game early,” said Kober. His box score for the Ursinus matchup included 11 tackles, featuring 1.5 tackles for a losses totalling six yards. Kober added, “The defense and myself took a lot of pride in limiting their ability to move the ball on the ground.” The 11 tackles and five solo tackles were also both career highs for the inside linebacker who has been leaving his mark on the gridiron for the Mules since he has stepped onto campus. Overall, Kober was impressed with the defensive unit’s performance as a whole over Ursinus. “I think our ability to get off blocks and blitz clean throughout the entire game helped us attain a solid conference win.”

Another critical piece of the victory was the Mules ability to pin Ursinus into bad starting field position. Ursinus was forced to start drives within of their own 20 yard-line five separate times because of coffin-corner punts off of the foot of O’Hagen. Previously, O’Hagen had never had to punt the ball more than six times in a game, however this defensive battle called for the Mules to punt eight times, a career high for the Mules punter. The special teams also capitalized one punt of over 50 yards, and another punt that Ursinus muffed, resulting in a Mules touchdown. O’Hagen also thought the Mules were determined to do more than just win a football game against Ursinus. “I feel like the whole team was a lot more focused and determined to play well and win against Ursinus in memory of Coach Donnelly. It gave us all a great incentive to play well and win.”

Looking forward, the two have a similar mentality to maintain success in a critical time of the season for the Mules. “I am grateful for being named Centennial Conference Player of the Week and being able to make my team, family and friends proud.” Kober said. “In future weeks, I hope that I am able to continue do my job and play within the defensive scheme,” he added. O’Hagan agreed, “For future weeks I am going to try and play to the best of my ability to help the team win on Saturdays.”

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