September 6, 2003
Roberts scores 5 as Grove City rolls in opener, 68-20
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Senior halfback Steve Roberts (East Petersburg, Pa./Hempfield) scored five touchdowns and the Wolverine defense held visiting Hiram to just seven rushing yards as Grove City stormed to a 68-20 victory over Hiram in both teams' season opener at Robert E. Thorn Field Saturday afternoon.
The 68 points is the most for Grove City on Opening Day since a 90-0 win over Morris Harvey in 1930. It is Grove City's biggest offensive output since a 71-21 win over Bluffton in 1997 and the Wolverines' largest margin of victory since a 56-0 win over Thiel in 1999. It is Grove City's biggest win at home since a 55-0 win over Thiel in 1998.
Grove City rushed for 337 yards and had 465 yards of total offense, including 307 total yards on 32 first-half plays. Meanwhile, the Wolverines forced four turnovers and sacked Hiram quarterbacks seven times.
Grove City (1-0) scored on its first five possessions in the first half, jumping out to a 34-0 lead. Roberts, who gained a game-high 96 yards on 17 carries, scored from the 1 with 9:35 left in the first quarter to put the Wolverines up 7-0.
Following a Hiram fumble, the Wolverines marched 34 yards in eight plays as Roberts picked up a pair of 12-yard gains. He then capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead to 13-0.
The Wolverine defense forced a three-and-out and Roberts fielded Brandon Savage's short punt at the Hiram 35 and sprinted to the end zone for his first career punt return touchdown. It is the first time a Grove City player has returned a punt for a touchdown since Scott Henry's 80-yard return against Bethany in 1994.
After another Hiram punt, the Wolverines needed just one play to boost the lead to 27-0 as senior quarterback Sam Mowrey (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) fired a 54-yard scoring strike to wide-open junior split end Dave DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette).
Mowrey finished the afternoon 5-of-8 for 127 yards in his first collegiate start. DiDonato finished with two receptions for 63 yards.
Junior halfback Brandon McGlothlin (Freedom, Pa./Freedom) sparked Grove City's next possession with a career-long 22-yard run while sophomore halfback Adam Wargo (Champion, Ohio/Champion) gave Grove City a goal-to-go situation with a 37-yard sprint. Wargo finished with a career-high 80 yards on seven carries.
Sophomore fullback Ken Roudybush (Worthington, Pa./Kittanning) capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.
Leading 34-6, Grove City closed its first-half scoring with 3:40 left in the second quarter as Mowrey pitched a 38-yard touchdown pass to senior split end Bo Danton (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) on third-and-3.
Twenty third-quarter points from Grove City completely sealed the win. Roberts returned a punt 48 yards to the Hiram 3 and then scored on the first play of the subsequent possession. The lead grew to 54-12 less than two minutes later as senior nose tackle Monte Bell (Blairsville, Pa./Blairsville) sacked Hiram quarterback Tom Roszell, forcing a fumble. Sophomore defensive end Steve Weary (Fredonia, Pa./Reynolds) recovered the loose ball at the Terrier 13.
Roberts scored on an eight-yard jaunt two plays later, his fifth score of the game.
Another Hiram turnover set up Grove City's next scoring drive as junior cornerback Gene Iannuzzi (Port Jervis, N.Y./Minisink Valley) picked off a Roszell pass and returned it to the Hiram 33. Wargo's 19-yard touchdown on fourth-and-7 closed the six-play drive. Freshman Matt Campbell (Canton, Ohio/Canton McKinley) booted the extra point.
Sophomore fullback Anthony Giuliani (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) closed the game's scoring with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:30 remaining.
Junior linebacker Mike Choby (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) had a career-high three sacks on the afternoon while Bell had a sack and a half. Weary and frosh Richard Welch (Dryden, N.Y./Dryden) each had sacks, as did senior linebacker Jake Tobolewski (Girard, Pa./Girard). Senior cornerback Dan Roseum (Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga) ended a Hiram drive with an interception at the goal line while junior middle linebacker Mike Prioletti (Harmony, Pa./Seneca Valley) had seven total tackles.
Roszell completed 17 of 39 pass attempts for 224 yards.
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