CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Mount St. Joseph University football team opened its season yesterday by welcoming the Golden Tornadoes of Geneva College to Delhi. This was the first time the two teams had matched up in program history. The game pitted teams with about as big of a contrast in styles as one could imagine against each other. Geneva and its triple option, ball control offense against the Lions air raid system. While Geneva was successful in running against the Lions defense, the Lions offensive firepower was too much for the Golden Tornadoes. The Lions passed for 385 yards and four scores, winning 41-27 in front of the Schueler Field crowd.
Geneva won the coin flip to open the game and differed to the second half, putting the Lions offense on the field to open the game. The Mount took the opening kickoff and rolled down the field, with a 10 play 74 yard drive that took just 4:12. The drive was capped off by Chaiten Tomlin (Mt. Orab, Ohio/Western Brown) hooking up with Chase Pankey (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
On Geneva's first possession of the game the Lions defense stood tall, forcing a three-and-out. Troy Speakman (Grove City, Ohio/Central Crossing) returned the Geneva punt 24 yards setting the Lions up with great field position. The high-octane Lions offense was able to strike quickly on their next possession, as Tomlin found Nick Murphy (Dawsonville, Ga./Dawson Co.) on the teams first play for a 44-yard touchdown.
Geneva scored the games next two touchdowns, knotting the score at 14 all with just 4:49 to go in the first half. The Lions would turn their next possession into a touchdown, regaining the lead. The drive was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Tomlin. The big play on the drive was again a Tomlin to Murphy connection as they hooked up on a 45-yard pass.
With just 2:18 left on the first half clock and Geneva's methodical offense, the half seemed destined to end with the Lions ahead 21-14. The Lions defense would give the offense one more crack at the endzone in the half. Sean Sullivan (Covington, Ky./Holmes) forced a fumble, with just 57 seconds left in the half, setting The Mount up with the ball at the Geneva 24-yard line. With under a minute to play and three timeouts, the Lions went to work trying to put the game away. After Tomlin hooked up with Cornell Beachem (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods) twice on the drive, he would again find Murphy in the endzone. Which would have the Lions enter half leading 28-14.
The Lions offense would sputter a little bit in the second-half as they were unable to run the ball with much effectiveness. The would do enough though to secure hard-fought 41-27 victory.
Offensively the standout for the Lions was their senior quarterback Chaiten Tomlin who was extremely efficient. He was 25 of 37 passing for 385 yards and four touchdowns, he was able to add a rushing touchdown for good measure.
Defensively Sean Sullivan led the way with a career-high 19 tackles, 2 tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble.
In a game with very solid special teams senior place kicker Spencer Dufresne (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade Julienne) was the standout, going 5 for 5 on extra points and 2 for 2 on field goal attempts, including a 44-yarder.
The Lions will have a bye week in week two before welcoming the Ravens of Anderson to Schueler Field. Despite being an HCAC foe, the game will not count toward conference standings. Due to Earlham College's decision to drop their football program each team was searching for a 10th game for the 2019 season. The game is scheduled to get underway on September 21st at 1:30 PM, tune into MSJsports.com for all of your live game covereage.