The Shippensburg University football team outplayed Seton Hill University Saturday afternoon as it tied a school record for most offensive points in a game enroute to its dominating 73–27 victory over the Griffins.
Despite the huge victory the game did not start out as the Raiders had hoped. Quarterback Zach Zulli fumbled the ball on just the second play of the game that turned into a Griffin touchdown, putting the Raiders down 7–0 early in the game.
“I just lost control of that ball. I don’t know, maybe I just was-not in the game yet because I had-not gotten hit yet. I had to get my confidence back,” Zulli said.
The senior quarterback indeed regained confidence as the game went on. Zulli came back onto the field for the next drive and completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Maura, tying the game at 7–7.
The Raiders scored four consecutive touchdowns after the Zulli-to-Maura connection.
The first score came from a Zulli one-yard touchdown run, putting the Raiders up 14–7.
The preceding drive ended when Zulli connected with Trevor Harman for a 2-yard touchdown pass, extending the Raiders’ lead to 21–7 with just under three minutes left in the quarter.
The Raiders added another touchdown right before the end of the first quarter when Sheldon Mayer completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Quran Kent, taking the Raiders lead to 28–7.
The second quarter started strong for the Raiders as well when Zulli found Mayer wide open in the back right of the end zone, taking the Raiders’ lead to 35–7.
Mayer finished the day with 48 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown and one passing touchdown.
SHU did manage to find the end zone after an 89-yard kick return by Norman Darden. Griffin running back Trae Cook scored on a two yard touchdown run. The Griffins’ extra point attempt was no good but cut the Raiders lead to 35–13.
SU answered with another 1-yard touchdown run from Zulli, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive, lengthening the Raiders’ lead to 42–13.
The Griffins mustered a 5-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Lenny Dowell to wide receiver Erik Kerns’ six seconds before the end of the half. The touchdown pass finished off a four play, 80-yard drive from the Griffins.
The Raiders held onto the ball until the half ended and went into the locker room with a commanding 42–20 lead.
“I was really upset at halftime–we have to be stronger in the red zone. I was not happy with those big plays we were giving up,” head coach Mark Maciejewski said.
The Raider defense limited the number of big plays that the Griffins had in the second half. SU’s defense stepped up and shut down the Griffin offense.
SHU managed just seven points and 117 yards of total offense in the second half.
Senior Jake Metz ended up with 11 total tackles and three sacks throughout the course of today’s game.
Junior Brian Sourber performed well on the defensive side of the ball as well for the Raiders, recording six total sacks.
SU scored the first points of the second half when Chris Lawshe and Harman connected for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Lawshe finished the day with 98 yards rushing, one rushing touchdown, 22 yards passing and one passing touchdown.
SHU scored its only points of the second half when Jarvis McClam finished a seven play, 90–yard drive with a 24–yard rushing touchdown, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 49–27. The 90–yard drive was the Griffins’ longest of the day.
It was all SU from there. The Raiders scored four more times to finish the game.
One score came from a 47–yard touchdown run from Blair Brooks. Brooks finished the afternoon with 57 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Zulli found Harman one last time for an 18–yard touchdown pass.
Zulli finished the game with 27 yards rushing, two rushing touchdowns, 395 yards passing and four passing touchdown’s.
Harman finished with 13 catches for 128 yards and three touchdown receptions, taking his receiving touchdown total to nine on the season.
Lawshe added his one-yard touchdown to SU’s lead, taking the game to 70–27.
Maciejewski realized that the game was in the hands of the Raiders and decided to get the backup players some in-game experience.
“We were able to get a lot of people in the game,” Maciejewski said. “It is only going to help us down the road. It will pay off in the future.”
The Raiders added one more score to their total when Drew Newcomer knocked in a 35–yard field goal, solidifying the victory.
SU will be back in action as it travels to Lock Haven University next Saturday in a crucial PSAC East matchup, kickoff is set for noon.