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November 3, 2007

Wolverines blank Saint Vincent, 44-0

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College football team wrapped up the home portion of the 2007 schedule Saturday afternoon in record-setting fashion as the Wolverines earned a 44-0 victory over visiting Saint Vincent at Robert E. Thorn Field.

Grove City set a single-game school record with 37 first downs in the victory. The Wolverines (4-5 overall) also tied a single-game school record by executing 90 offensive plays.

Sophomore quarterback Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) became Grove City's all-time leader in career passing yardage with 3,023. DiDonato completed 19 of 27 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 1,469 yards this year, which is the fourth-highest season total in program history.

Meanwhile, junior tailback Brian Mercer (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) ran for a career-high 179 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Mercer also caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from DiDonato. As a team, Grove City gained 353 yards on the ground and 603 yards of total offense. The 603 yards are the third-most in program history.

Defensively, Grove City recorded its first shutout since a 9-0 win over Bethany Oct. 27, 2001. Grove City yielded just 127 yards of total offense. Grove City also had a season-high five sacks and forced two turnovers. Freshman safety Butch Kriger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) recorded two of the five sacks while junior cornerback Mike Baker (Harrison City, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) intercepted his fifth pass of the season. Senior end Ross McCracken (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) forced and recovered a fumble.

Saint Vincent's Marc Duncan returned the opening kickoff to the Grove City 28. The Bearcats then had first-and-goal at the Grove City 3. However, the Bearcats (0-9) managed just one yard and had to attempt a 20-yard field goal. Grove City sophomore Shane Mullins (Port Alsworth, Alaska/Tanalian) blocked the kick, however, to preserve the scoreless tie.

Following the block, Mercer capped a seven-play, 83-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run at the 8:52 mark. Mercer ignited the drive with back-to-back runs of 31 and 27 yards, respectively. The conversion failed.

With 44 seconds left in the first quarter, Mercer finished off an 11-play, 91-yard drive with his second three-yard touchdown run of the period. Saint Vincent intercepted the two-point attempt.

Grove City extended its lead to 18-0 at the 10:55 mark of the third quarter as DiDonato scored on a one-yard sneak. DiDonato ran for 44 yards on 10 attempts during the game. Less than three minutes later, DiDonato fired a nine-yard touchdown pass to senior split end Jay Yanak (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper Saint Clair), extending the lead to 24-0.

Yanak closed the first-half scoring with 19 seconds left in the half as he caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from DiDonato. Saint Vincent blocked the extra point, keeping Grove City's lead at 30-0 at halftime. Yanak caught five passes for 55 yards. Senior Ian Tobin (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) led Grove City with seven catches for 75 yards.

Mercer's third touchdown of the day -- a seven-yard run -- put the Wolverines up 37-0 with 12:45 left. Mercer closed the game's scoring with 11:04 left in the third quarter as he caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from DiDonato.

Grove City averaged 5.8 yards per carry and also converted 11 of 16 third-down opportunities. Mullins, sophomore linebacker Jesse Gill (Mahanoy City, Pa./Marian Catholic) and junior linebacker Ian Minster (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) all had sacks.

Logan Small led Saint Vincent with 52 yards rushing. Saint Vincent is in its first season of intercollegiate varsity action since re-introducing football to its athletic program. Saint Vincent previously discontinued football in 1962. The teams had not met since 1960. Saint Vincent leads the all-time series 2-1.

Grove City concludes the 2007 season Saturday, November 10 at Geneva. It is the Wolverines' first game with Geneva since 1983.

Box Score

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