The Shippensburg University football team extended its winning streak over East Stroudsburg University to six consecutive games after rallying for a 24-23 win on Saturday at Gregory Douds-Field at Eiler Martin Stadium.
SU’s (7-2, 4-2 PSAC) defense forced three turnovers and held the Warriors scoreless in the second half of the game to allow their offense to come from behind and take the victory.
Senior linebacker Laron Woody and sophomore defensive lineman Jacoby Sherard each finished with 11 tackles to lead the Raiders. Redshirt-sophomore linebacker Tyler Simon finished with a career-high nine tackles, last season at ESU he finished with a then career-high eight tackles.
Both squads each scored two touchdowns in the first half, but East Stroudsburg added three field goals in the first half as well.
The Raiders reached into their bag of tricks for the first half scores on the day before Halloween. Graduate receiver Evan Morrill threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Brycen Mussina and redshirt-sophomore Khalid Dorsey ran in a score out of the wildcat formation. SU still trailed 23-14 at half.
The third quarter of the game went scoreless as the Raiders punted three times and turned the ball over on a tipped interception. East Stroudsburg missed a field goal and had a turnover on downs in the quarter.
Junior safety Mike Brewer intercepted a pass on the fourth quarter’s first play, and returned the pick all the way to the 5-yard line.
Two plays later, redshirt-junior tight end David Balint III made a spectacular one-handed grab in the endzone to pull the Raiders within two points of the lead, 23-21.
Both teams then exchanged punts and ESU drove the ball down to the Shippensburg 27-yard line before redshirt-freshman defensive back Khi’on Smith delivered a big fit forcing a fumble. Senior safety Trey Paul recovered it giving the ball back to SU.
A 42-yard pass from Mussina to freshman Ian Sheehan on the ensuing drive set up a 31-yard field goal for freshman Jaxson Montross with 1:27 remaining, creating the final scoring margin 24-23.
Mussina finished 19-32 for 243 yards, throwing a touchdown, catching a touchdown and throwing an interception. Morrill had a team high six receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown throw. The Raiders managed just 35 yards on the ground with 30 carries.
This was the first Shippensburg football game decided by one point since a 44-43 double overtime loss at West Chester on Oct. 7, 2010.
With two weeks remaining in the 2021 season, the Raiders sit in third place in the PSAC East Division, behind Kutztown and Shepherd.
SU’s only two losses of the season came at the hands of those two teams.
Shippensburg will host the winless Bald Eagles of Lock Haven University this Saturday, Nov. 6, at 1 p.m. at Seth Grove Stadium.