Seven days after scoring just five points in a road defeat against Kutztown University, the Shippensburg University football team more than doubled its season high in points scored in a 65-32 romp over Lock Haven University on Saturday afternoon at Seth Grove Stadium.
The Red Raiders (3-6, 3-3 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East) racked up 541 yards of offense on the hapless Bald Eagle (1-8, 0-6) defense, including 350 yards through the air.
The high-scoring affair was close for the majority of the first half, as the Red Raiders led just 23-20 with under four minutes remaining before halftime.
But SU piled on three more touchdowns in the final three minutes of the second quarter, extending its lead to 44-20 at the break.
The rout was on from there, as the Red Raiders continued to pour it on before pulling most of their starters early in the fourth quarter.
Touchdowns came in bunches for Shippensburg. Redshirt sophomore Brycen Mussina threw four of them, three in the direction of redshirt junior Winston Eubanks and one to redshirt sophomore David Balint III.
Graduate student Luke Durkin rushed for two scores, and even redshirt senior receiver Kyle Haines found the end zone on the ground on a gadget play.
The Red Raider defense earned itself a score of its own when redshirt senior Dennis Robinson returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown.
The Mussina-led offense was more inclined to take downfield shots — particularly to star receiver Eubanks — and coach Mark Maciejewski was blunt in his explanation of the enhanced aerial assault.
“Listen, one of the best players on our team, we hadn’t been getting the ball to,” Maciejewski said. “So we gotta make an effort to do that. Nobody worries about the long ball [against] us, because we don’t throw the damn long ball. So, we were gonna make sure we were doing it today.”
The two-time PSAC Eastern Division First-Teamer Eubanks ran circles around the overmatched Lock Haven defense, tallying 10 receptions for 129 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
Balint III continued to cement his name in Red Raider history, breaking the program’s single-game record for receptions in a game by a tight end for the third time this season. His 13 receptions broke the record he set just a week ago and went for 168 yards and a touchdown.
Durkin led the ground game with 21 carries for 105 yards, while redshirt sophomore Jaelen Thompson picked up 43 yards on five carries.
Defensively, Shippensburg allowed a decent chunk of yards but was able to escape trouble often enough by forcing five turnovers.
“The turnovers were huge for us, to tell the truth,” Maciejewski said. “Because they led to those 21 unanswered points before halftime, which we needed when it was 23-20 at one point in the second quarter.”
In addition to Robinson’s pick-six, redshirt sophomore Trey Paul made a leaping interception in the second quarter. Paul’s nine tackles paced the Raider defense in the win.
The Red Raiders recovered three Lock Haven fumbles, all three of which freshman Jacoby Sherard had a hand in. He forced two of them and recovered the third.
Redshirt freshman Tyler Petucci forced the other one, while redshirt sophomore Cameron Tinner and redshirt freshman Roland Norfleet each had a recovery.
Sitting in fifth in the PSAC East at 3-3 in conference play, the Red Raiders travel to East Stroudsburg University (5-4, 2-4) next Saturday for a 6:05 p.m. battle at Eiler-Martin Stadium.