This Week in Lafayette History

Robert McKittrick

September 23, 1961- Lafayette Football vs. Muhlenberg College

graphic for sports

On September 23, 1961, in the first game of the season, the Lafayette football team defeated Muhlenberg College 14-13. The Leopards came from behind after trailing 13-0 heading into the fourth quarter. Lafayette quarterback Charley Zarelli (who entered the game in the third) led the team on a long drive that concluded with a touchdown to tight end Bob Gursky. However, the extra point was blocked, keeping the score at 13-6. Lafayette’s defense then held the Muhlenberg offense, forcing a punt. With 7:47 left in the game, Leopards running back Contarino broke out an 85-yard run to make the score 13-12. With the score at 13-12, Lafayette head coach James McConlogue boldly elected to go for the win by going for the two-point conversion instead trying to tie the game. Lafayette scored, and the Leopards won in comeback fashion.

The Leopards won despite the lack of a passing game. They used a total of four quarterbacks during the game, and only completed two total passes for a total of one net yard. Lafayette relied heavily on their running game. They had 266 yards on the ground, as compared to Muhlenberg’s 88. The defense also played well for Lafayette, holding the opponents two 162 total yards.