The Shippensburg University football team was able to hold off Lock Haven University Saturday afternoon to capture its third overall victory of the season, winning 30–24.
The Raider defense set the tone early for SU, forcing the Bald Eagles to go three-and-out on their first drive of the game.
SU’s defense did a stellar job throughout the game on Saturday, holding the LHU offense to very few big plays, something that plagued the Raiders early on this season.
“I thought they did a tremendous job. They were confident and excited. They had a great goal-line stand,” Raider head coach Mark Maciejewski said.
The first offensive series ended when Raider kicker Drew Newcomer knocked in a 27-yard field goal, putting SU up 3–0 early.
SU’s defense stepped up once again when it forced a punt—the Raider defense forced eight punts throughout the game.
The Raiders added to their lead when senior quarterback Zach Zulli connected with junior wide receiver Trevor Harman for a 13-yard touchdown pass, taking the Raiders’ lead to 10–0.
Harman recorded 15 catches for 122 yards and one touchdown. Harman now has five consecutive 100-plus receiving-yard games this season, dating back to Sept. 14, 2013.
SU scored just once during the second half when Zulli found junior wide receiver Quran Kent in the back right of the end zone. Newcomer’s extra point attempt was no good, but the Raiders still had a commanding 16–0 lead.
Zulli finished the day completing 30 of his 41 passing attempts, recording 280 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
The second half started off well for SU when junior running back Blair Brooks capped off a six play, 55-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown run, extending the Raiders’ lead to 23–0.
It seemed as if the Bald Eagles had no chance of a comeback but LHU strung together two-straight scoring drives, one resulted in a 32-yard field goal from Alex Boumerhi and the other ended in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Walton to Jeremy Cornelius, closing the Bald Eagles deficit to 23-11.
The Raiders answered when sophomore quarterback Chris Lawshe scored off a 1-yard touchdown run. The touchdown gave SU some breathing room as it took its lead to 30-11.
SU’s defense became a little lackluster when it allowed LHU to score on two consecutive drives, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 30–24.
The Raider offense got the ball back with 5:13 left in the game and needed to run out as much time as possible or potentially score.
SU, unfortunately was unable to score but held onto the ball until the end of the game.
The biggest moment in the final drive for the Raiders was when Brooks picked up 14 yards on a second-and-five play, allowing SU to take two consecutive knees, which ran out the clock, solidifying the Raiders’ victory.
“We were just trying to run down the clock, everyone knew we were trying to run down the clock. We practiced that all week, we knew what we had to do,” Brooks said. “The offensive line toughed up and I just got the first down which ended the game.”
Brooks finished the game with 145 yards rushing and one touchdown.
SU will now prepare to take on PSAC rival Kutztown University next Saturday at Seth Grove Stadium in Shippensburg.
Kutztown has struggled recently but always seems to give the Raiders problems. SU will need to have a good week of practice and be ready for whatever the Golden Bears send their way.