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September 5, 2009

Dickinson tops Grove City

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College football team opened the 2009 season with a 52-47 setback against visiting Dickinson Saturday afternoon in non-conference action at Robert E. Thorn Field.

Senior quarterback Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) accumulated a school-record 400 yards of individual total offense and also became Grove City's career leader in touchdown passes with 34 in Saturday's game.

As a team, Grove City gained 449 yards of total offense and 27 first downs. However, Dickinson scored 28 fourth-quarter points in erasing Grove City's 34-24 lead.

Dickinson scored a pair of touchdowns in a three-minute span in the fourth quarter to take a 38-34 lead. However, the Wolverines regained the lead with 6:24 left on a one-yard touchdown run from sophomore tailback Blaine Miller (Lancaster, Pa./Donegal).

Dickinson reclaimed the lead just 16 seconds later on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Ian Mitchell to Austen Steele. With 2:05 left, Mitchell's 45-yard touchdown run gave Dickinson a 52-41 lead.

Grove City slashed the lead to 52-47, though, by moving 67 yards in just three plays. After DiDonato fired a 52-yard strike to junior wide receiver Zach Summy (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central), sophomore wide receiver Will McCoy (Newark, Ohio/Newark) caught a seven-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed.

Dickinson recovered Grove City's subsequent onside kick attempt and successfully used up the remaining clock.

Dickinson jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on Tim Smith's one-yard touchdown run and Gordon Craig's 39-yard field goal. Grove City rebounded to take the lead as DiDonato fired a five-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Luke O'Hara (New Castle, Pa./Shenango) and a 14-yard scoring pass to Summy.

Mitchell capped a 19-play, 90-yard drive with a one-yard run at the 3:33 mark of the second quarter but Miller put Grove City back ahead, 21-17, with a one-yard touchdown run with 1:08 left.

Grove City regained possession in the closing moments of the half as senior cornerback Randy Santina (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) intercepted a Mitchell pass and returned it 27 yards to the Dickinson 37. Junior kicker Craig Bicehouse (Prospect, Pa./Slippery Rock) closed the first half with a 40-yard field goal that gave Grove City a 24-17 halftime lead.

The Wolverines doubled the lead to 31-17 on their first drive of the second half as DiDonato scored on a seven-yard touchdown run. Bicehouse would then open the fourth quarter with a 28-yard field goal that capped a 15-play, 59-yard drive.

DiDonato completed 32 of 41 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 109 yards on 22 attempts. Miller added 35 yards on a dozen carries.

Summy gained 96 yards on his six catches while McCoy had six catches for 55 yards. O'Hara had five catches for 41 yards while Miller gained 35 yards on five receptions. Sophomore Clayton Hall (North Canton, Ohio/Massillon Jackson) added four catches for 23 yards.

Mitchell completed 21 of 27 passes for 288 yards. He also ran for 149 yards on 14 attempts. Dickinson out-gained Grove City 504-449. The Wolverines did have a seven-minute edge in time of possession. Grove City also went 7-for-7 in the red zone.

Junior cornerback Mark Rossol (Waterville, Ohio/Toledo Christian) also had an interception for Grove City. Sophomore linebacker Jason Ferguson (Mineral Ridge, Ohio/Mineral Ridge) recorded 11 tackles while junior safety Butch Kriger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) had 10 stops and a forced fumble.

Sophomore linebacker Tim Irwin (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) had a sack while senior linebacker Chris Joseph (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and sophomore linebacker Marc Shamley (Orlando, Fla./Pine Castle Christian) combined on a sack.

It is Grove City's first-ever loss when scoring more than 40 points. All-time, Grove City is 119-4-1 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. The 99 total points represent the most scored in a Grove City football game since the College joined the NCAA in 1956.

Grove City will visit Carnegie Mellon next Saturday at 12 p.m.

Box Score

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