Shippensburg University football celebrated a 17-10 victory over Gannon in its final game of the season on Senior Day thanks to a dominating performance by the defense on Saturday in Seth Grove Stadium.
In a pre-game ceremony, the seniors of the team were honored for their efforts as Raiders.
The Raiders defense was the highlight of the game with a season-high of four turnovers, and it only allowed Gannon to score three points offensively. Two of the four turnovers were interceptions by graduate student Mike Brewer, who returned one of them for a touchdown.
In the opening drive, the Raiders offense earned a couple of first downs that put them far enough into Gannon territory so that senior Jaxson Montross could convert a 31-yard field goal for the early 3-0 lead.
The lead, however, would not last long, as Gannon first tied the score with a second-quarter field goal, before the Golden Knights took the lead off a scoop and score by their defense with a little over 2 minutes left in the first half.
With less than a minute in the first half to go, Brewer intercepted a Gannon pass and raced down the sideline for a 59-yard touchdown return. Montross converted the following kick, and the game was tied 10-10 at halftime.
After halftime, the defense showed up strong to keep the game tied with a stop of Gannon at fourth and goal inside the 1.
Also in the third quarter, a strip sack by senior Chisom Ifeanyi was recovered by redshirt junior Ray Jones at the Gannon 5-yard line.
SU’s offense took the field, and redshirt-freshman Josiah Leonard ran the ball into the endzone from the 1-yard line to put the Raiders ahead of Gannon 17-10.
Brewer´s second interception came with 2:22 left on the clock and near the endzone pylon to help the Raiders maintain their lead.
Gannon got possession of the ball once more in the final 2 minutes, and a 49-yard pass play within the final seconds gave the Golden Knights the chance to tie the game. Once again, the Raiders defense stepped up and forced an incompletion in the endzone as time ran out.
The SU defense finishes the 2023 season as the second-ranked defense in the PSAC with only 287.4 yards allowed per game.
Freshman quarterback Sam Stoner had 11 completions on 19 attempts for 78 yards.
Redshirt sophomore Tanner Hess finished the game with 59 yards on 21 carries. Despite starting in only eight games, Hess rushed for 681 yards this season, the most by a Raider since Luke Durkin in 2019.