The Shippensburg University football team picked up its first win over West Chester University in six years on Saturday, defeating the Golden Rams 34-18.
SU (5-1, 2-1 PSAC) was led by its defense that forced five turnovers in the game and the offense scored 17 points off those turnovers alone.
West Chester entered the game with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s (PSAC) No. 1 rushing offense and the No. 9 rushing offense in the nation.
However, the Raider defense managed to hold the Golden Rams to just 100 rushing yards and just 239 total yards on the day.
Shippensburg totaled eight tackles for loss (TFLs), forced three fumbles, intercepted two passes and broke up four other passes.
Redshirt-sophomore linebacker Tyler Petucci posted a team high nine tackles and forced a fumble, and senior Trey Paul had seven tackles and an interception — his fourth of the season.
Redshirt-sophomore Aaron Alphee also tallied seven tackles and led the team with three TFLs.
The Raiders had a successful day carrying the ball as fellow redshirt-sophomores Bill Williams and Khalid Dorsey combined for a net of 160 rushing yards. Williams ran 15 times for 96 yards while Dorsey had 19 carries for 74 yards.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Brycen Mussina was 12-21 on the day with 168 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Graduate Evan Morrill finished with three catches for 83 yards, with most coming on a 71-yard touchdown pass from Mussina in the fourth quarter.
WCU’s first fumble of the game came in the first quarter when the snap went over punter John George’s head and Raider redshirt-freshman Matt Feeney fell on the ball. Mussina found freshman fullback Jake Deluccia three plays later for a score.
The Golden Rams decided to enter quarterback Zach Gilbert with 90 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but on his only play of the game he fumbled after a Petucci hit.
The turnover led to Mussina scampering into the endzone from five yards out four plays later.
The game slowed entering halftime, but on the first drive of the second half junior Mike Brewer picked off a heave downfield from quarterback Desman Johnson.
The very next drive for West Chester resulted in another forced fumble from junior Dante Witcher, but the Golden Rams fell on it in the endzone.
With 13 minutes remaining in the game and West Chester hanging around only down five, Mussina found Morrill over the middle and Morrill did the rest, sprinting to the endzone to put SU up 31-18 and put the game out of reach.
Freshman kicker Jaxson Montross finished 2-3 on field goals and is now 10-15 on the season. He has the most field goals in a single season since Billy Deane was 12-21 in 2016.
Saturday, the Raiders will head to Kutztown for a 5 p.m. showdown with the PSAC Eastern Division-leading Golden Bears.