WESTERVILLE — Any concerns about Mount Union suffering a victory hangover from last week's showdown were put to rest in the first 10 minutes of Saturday's game at Otterbein.
After back-to-back emotional victories over Baldwin Wallace and John Carroll, the Purple Raiders came out aggressive and impressive in all phases to rout the Cardinals 56-14, extending the nation’s best current winning streak to 19 games.
In fact, within the first five minutes of the game, Mount Union (4-0, 3-0 OAC) scored twice on DeAngelo Fulford touchdown passes and the defense forced a fumble, recovered by Nick Brish.
"We came out and had a good start which is what we hoped to do," Mount Union coach Vince Kehres said. "We wanted to put last week behind us. It was a good win, but an emotional win, and I wanted to see us be aggressive right from the start."
After another three-and-out by Otterbein (1-4, 0-4), Justin Hill received a punt over the shoulder at his 15, ran into trouble near the right sideline, reversed his course and sprinted along the other sideline. The official measurement on the return was 85 yards, but Hill covered about twice that by the time he reached the end zone.
That made it 21-0 with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter and the rest of the game was a formality, though it was spiced up by junior wide receiver Ernie Burkes making his first appearance in four seasons as the Mount Union backup quarterback and leading the Purple Raiders on a touchdown drive in the second quarter.
"We've always preached each week is like any other," Kehres said. "There's not a different feel, at least for me. But you want to get off to a fast start in every game and get rolling."
Defensively, the Purple Raiders employed a high risk, high reward attack blitzing style that had Otterbein on its heels from the first play. Mount Union finished with 10 sacks of quarterbacks Steve Irwin and Bryce Hall, led by junior Trey Williams, who played at nearby Cardington-Lincoln.
Williams had three sacks and a forced fumble in the first 13 minutes of the game and finished with seven tackles.
The defense finished with 16 tackles for loss, including 10 quarterback sacks.
Fulford completed 16-of-21 passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Luke Herrington. The first came in the final minute of the first half and on the heels of Otterbein's only score in the first 30 minutes. The second connection concluded a four-play, 60-yard drive that opened the second half and made it 49-7.
Burkes finished with 28 yards rushing on six carries and he completed 1-of-2 passes for 10 yards.
"We had him playing receiver but he worked all week at quarterback," Kehres said. "We wanted to try a different dynamic and see if we get our running game going, give it a spark. I thought [Burkes] did a good job when he was out there; we had a couple different guys in there who did a good job."