The Shippensburg University football team picked up its first win of the season in a 30-15 home rout of Bloomsburg University on Saturday afternoon at Parents and Family Day from Student Association Field at Seth Grove Stadium.
Shippensburg (1-3, 1-0 PSAC East) dominated all facets of the game on Saturday afternoon, more than doubling the Huskies in total yardage (454-208).
SU came out firing on all cylinders, opening the game with a nine-play, 71-yard drive capped off by a 38-yard strike from redshirt sophomore Brycen Mussina to redshirt junior Charles Headen III.
“Even if we won the coin toss, we were gonna choose to take the football,” coach Mark Maciejewski said. “But they won it, deferred and gave it to us, and we were able to go down and score. I think that was very important to our entire football family.”
Less than four minutes later, redshirt freshman Bill Williams punched it in the end zone from a yard out to extend the Red Raiders’ lead to 14-0.
After a missed Bloomsburg field goal, Mussina led a methodical 14-play, 76-yard touchdown drive to make it three scores in three tries for the Red Raiders. The drive ate up almost seven minutes of clock, and was capped by a 10-yard touchdown grab by redshirt freshman Tyrese Dargan — the first catch of his collegiate career.
Late in the second quarter, Bloomsburg got on the board with a 12-yard touchdown run by Khalil Nelson and SU tacked on three points with a David Shank field goal.
Shippensburg maintained its 23-7 halftime lead throughout most of the second half before it extended the margin with another touchdown run by Williams.
The Red Raider defense continued to swarm the Bloomsburg offense, keeping it from the end zone until a meaningless 16-yard touchdown with under a minute remaining.
Although Williams tallied the two Red Raider rushing touchdowns, graduate running back Luke Durkin did most of the heavy lifting for the SU ground game in a career-best effort. Durkin carried the ball a whopping 31 times for 172 yards, also adding three receptions for 40 yards.
The 172 rushing yards were the most in a game by a Red Raider since 2012.
The decision to start Durkin at running back was unexpected, but Maciejewski’s reasoning was sound.
“It was really to bring some physicality to our backfield with some guys who have some size and can get those extra yards,” Maciejewski said. “He ran really hard and was really hard to bring down. So we’ll keep building off that.”
Mussina — who had struggled through Shippensburg’s first two games before missing the third due to injury — was efficient through the air. Mussina completed 16-of-25 passes for 225 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.
The Red Raider defense that struggled mightily through three games looked refreshed, limiting Bloomsburg to just 61 rushing yards (2.3 yards per carry) and piling up six sacks.
Redshirt freshman Aaron Alphee notched two of the Red Raiders’ six sacks, the first two of his SU career.
“Each level — defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs — took care of their responsibilities for the most part,” Maciejewski said. “And when you do that, good things happen.”
The Red Raiders will take the win, but things won’t get easier next week when they host nationally-ranked West Chester University at 1 p.m. at Seth Grove Stadium.
“We gotta continue to get better,” Maciejewski said. “This is one step today, and we gotta take the next step next week.”