Chuck Bitner

PSAC Week Six Headlines

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Warriors Rise Up

To quote myself from last week, East Stroudsburg is never an easy out. When facing a ranked opponent, the Warriors are rarely the more talented team. They may not be as fast, as physical or as big, but there is one thing the Warriors know how to do as well as any team, and that is fight for 60 minutes. On Saturday, when it looked like ESU had blown a two touchdown lead, and the game, they fought back and found a way to make the plays they needed to come away with a remarkable victory in front of their home crowd.

The outcome of this game was notable for both teams. Just one week after West Chester picked up its biggest win in four years, East Stroudsburg earned the PSAC headlines by knocking off the Golden Rams. It was probably ESU's biggest victory since winning at Farrell Stadium by a single point in 2009.The victory boosts ESU to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Eastern division, placing them firmly in the hunt for the divisional crown. Freshman quarterback Matt Soltes was an amazing 30-37 for 366 yards in just his second start. More on him later in the week.

The loss is very damaging for a West Chester team that, just a week ago made an authoritative statement with a win at then #6 California. As I cautioned last week, the Cal victory was fantastic, but the reality was that it was the least important game that remained in the Golden Rams' schedule. The divisional loss drops them to fourth place in the eastern division standings. How West Chester responds will be very interesting to watch. In the next four weeks, the Rams face LIU Post, Shippensburg and Bloomsburg.

Last week I wrote a blog about West Chester QB Mike Mattei's outstanding performance since stepping back into the starting role. Mattei tossed three interceptions in the loss to ESU, doubling his season total. Have I already started a jinx, like the Sports Illustrated or EA Sports covers?

Tuck N Roll
Harvie Tuck brutalized the Slippery Rock defense in IUP's homecoming victory over their rival. The senior workhorse carried 36 times for 233 yards. Teammate De'Antwan Williams chipped in 158 yards on 16 carries. The passing game for IUP was very modest, but the rushing attack rolled up 388 yards on what was supposed to be a very strong SRU defensive line. IUP would like to have finished more drives with touchdowns, but they made four field goals in five attempts and were never seriously threatened by the Rock.

Small victories
Cheyney had one of its best drives of the season in the fourth quarter of its home game with Kutztown last week. The Wolves marched 83 yards on 16 plays and punched the ball in the endzone. It was an impressive drive for the Wolves. Unfortunately they were already down 56-0 so the score did little more than avoid a shutout.

Records fall in Clarion loss
California rebounded in a big way with a convincing 41-22 win at Clarion. Quarterback Peter Lalich passed for over 300 yards and star receivers Trey Johnson and Mike Williams both had over 100 receiving yards. Despite the loss, Clarion continued to an exhibit a much improved passing game. Ben Fiscus set new school records for pass attempts (64) and completions (36) and his 410 yards is now fourth best in school history.

When the job is done, the job is done
Bloomsburg wasted little time in putting victory out of reach for Millersville. The Huskies scored touchdowns on four of their first five posessions and returned a blocked field goal for a TD for a halftime lead of 35-0. Reserves played almost the entire second half, but Franklyn Quiteh and Eddie Mateo both eclipsed 100 yards rushing (again). The Huskies picked up just 3 points in the second half, but were content to clear the bench and get valuable experience for backups. Millersville's freshman quarterback Connor Casey played well in his first start, throwing for 313 yards and no interceptions.

Getting closer
If there was a strange feeling on the Lock Haven sideline in the fourth quarter on Saturday, it was this: The Bald Eagles had a legitimate chance to win. The LHU defense turned in another courageous performance in holding Mercyhurst to 245 total yards. The Lakers led by 10 points after three quarters, but a Lock Haven scoring drive early in the fourth pulled the Bald Eagles to within three points. Lock Haven needed just one stop from their defense that had played well all day, but following their TD drive, the Lakers held the ball for the next eight minutes and put the game out of reach. A win is a win and a loss is a loss, but this should be something for Lock Haven to feel good about and build on. Late in the fourth quarter, they had a chance to win and that has happened only once or twice during their record setting losing streak. This was the closest they've been since a 21-20 loss at Millersville in the 2011 season opener.

Streaks continue
Several streaks were extended in Edinboro's 44-24 win over Gannon. The Fighting Scots won their third straight game this season and seventh straight over Gannon. Quarterback Cody Harris ran his streak of touchdowns accounted for to 13 until it was snapped late in the fourth quarter. Gannon lost it's fifth straight game this season and eighth straight road game, dating back to last year.

Ship keeps sailing
LIU Post gave Shippensburg their toughest match since week one. The Raiders led by just 3 points at halftime but scored on their first two drives of the the third quarter and picked up a safety to build a comfortable lead. Zach Zulli through for (a modest by his standards) 276 yards as the Raiders outgained Post 503 to 258.

Coming later this week I will breakdown each division and give my thoughts on each team's season to date.

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Updated 10-08-2012 at 11:07 AM by Chuck Bitner

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    Video of ESU's game winning touchdown