The Shippensburg University football team picked up their first win of the season in their opener, 25-17, over West Virginia State behind their stingy defensive play.
Eleven different Shippensburg defenders contributed to a tackle for loss (TFL) in the win as SU’s defense racked up ten TFLs, five sacks and forced three turnovers. Junior safety Mike Brewer led the team with eight tackles and senior linebacker Laron Woody followed behind him with seven. Sophomore lineman Jacoby Sherard had 1.5 sacks on the day.
The Raiders also got a boost from their special teams in the win as freshman kicker Jaxson Montross drilled four field goal, including a school-record 50-yarder in his collegiate debut.
Shippensburg started the game out slow offensively only scoring two field goals in the first half, one of which came at the end of the half, and falling behind 10-6.
The third quarter however saw SU put together an 11 play 58-yard drive that ended with junior quarterback Brycen Mussina throwing an eight-yard touchdown pass to sophomore fullback Jared Smith for a 13-10 lead.
An early fourth quarter Raider drive stalled in the red zone resulting in a Montross field goal and a 16-10 lead for SU. With West Virginia State driving, senior lineman Cameron Tinner stripped the ball from WVS quarterback Drew Chance, picked it up and rumbled all the way to the end zone for the score and a 22-10 Raider lead following a failed 2-point conversion.
The Yellowjackets would not go quietly however as the ensuing drive ended with quarterback Donovan Riddick throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to cut their deficit to five.
Both teams exchanged punts and Shippensburg got the ball with short field and a chance to ice the game. They could only convert one first down though on a Mussina 10-yard scamper. SU brought out Montross on fourth down with 1:24 remaining in the game and he calmly drilled the 50-yard field goal to make it an eight point game.
West Virginia State’s hopes came to an end on their final drive as a deep ball was picked by senior safety Trey Paul and returned all the way down to the 1-yard line. The interception was Shippensburg’s second of the day as junior Dante Witcher picked one in the first half.
Sophomore running back tandem Khalid Dorsey and Bill Williams carried most of the weight for the SU offense, combining for 151 rushing yards on 36 carries. Dorsey ran 21 times for 90 yards while Williams ran 15 times for 61 yards.
Mussina finished the game 13-21 for 106 yards and a touchdown after relieving redshirt-sophomore Grant Ferrauilo.
The Raiders will be on the road for their next two contests starting Saturday at Edinboro with kickoff starting at noon.