SU Raiders: Lopsided victory in storied rivalry

A lopsided victory is the only way the Raiders trouncing of rival Bloomsburg Saturday can be described.

The Shippensburg University football team used a 24-point second quarter to build a sizable lead it would not relinquish, opening Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division play with a 51-7 victory over Bloomsburg on a sunny Parents & Family Day afternoon at Student Association Field at Seth Grove Stadium.

Shippensburg (4-0, 1-0 PSAC East) faced Bloomsburg (1-3, 0-1) for the 85th time in a storied rivalry that dates back 104 years; and they handed the Huskies the most lopsided defeat in the history of the series. Previously, SU’s 42-0 victory in 1941 had been the largest margin of victory for either team.

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Fans cheer on Raiders in home game Saturday. (Photo Bill Smith/SU)

READ: SU sports: Ship’s Raiders take road victory

How it happened

SU’s defense limited BU to just 122 yards on its remaining 48 plays (2.5 yards per play). The exception was a 48-yard touchdown pass on a slant route in the third quarter by the Huskies.

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The Raiders had 5.0 tackles-for-loss (TFLs) and intercepted two passes. The highlight was a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter by redshirt-freshman Khi’on Smith (Deptford, N.J./Deptford Township).

Senior safety Trey Paul (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) intercepted his third pass of the young season and had two pass breakups. Paul also tied with junior Mike Brewer (Bridgeville, Del./Woodbridge (Wesley)) for the team high with four tackles. Junior Solomon Alexander (New Castle, Del./St. George’s Tech (Valley Forge Mil. Academy)) had a five-yard sack.

Offensively, redshirt-junior quarterback Brycen Mussina (Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville (Lafayette)) was 24-of-30 for 392 yards and two touchdowns. Mussina also ran 22 yards for a touchdown on a 3rd-and-19 play late in the second quarter. It was the first rushing touchdown of his collegiate career.

Mussina connected with eight different receivers, and his 78-yard touchdown pass to freshman Ian Sheehan (Feasterville, Pa./Neshaminy) was the longest of his collegiate career. Sheehan finished with five receptions for 128 yards and two scores. His 25-yard touchdown reception came just 40 seconds into the second quarter; and it opened the scoring after zeroes through the first 15 minutes.

READ: SU’s football turns deficit into win

Raiders who excelled

Three Raiders finished with five receptions. Graduate Evan Morrill (Hummelstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin (Millersville)) had five catches for 63 yards, and redshirt-junior David Balint III (Landenberg, Pa./St. Mark’s (Del.)) hauled in five passes for 31 yards.

Redshirt-senior Kyle Evans (Odenton, Md./Meade (Clarion)) delivered another excellent game. Evans scored on a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and caught four passes for 81 yards. His 49-yard reception on a third-down play in the third quarter helped restart the SU offense. That drive ended with his touchdown run. He also returned the opening kickoff of the second half 63 yards. That came just one week after he had an 87-yard kickoff return early in the third quarter at Clarion.

Four Raiders scored rushing touchdowns. In addition to Mussina and Evans, redshirt-sophomore Khalid Dorsey (York, Pa./York (Howard)) had a five-yard scoring scamper in the fourth quarter and redshirt-freshman Nasai Moon (Brodheadsville, Pa./Pleasant Valley) scored his first collegiate touchdown with 2:15 remaining to cap off the scoring.

Redshirt-sophomore Bill Williams (Camp Hill, Pa./Camp Hill) led the Raiders with 42 rushing yards on 11 carries. Dorsey had 16 carries for 31 yards, while Moon finished with 21 yards.

Freshman kicker Jaxson Montross (Tunkhannock, Pa./Tunkhannock Area) was 1-of-3 on field goals, converting a 28-yarder in the second quarter, and was 6-of-7 on PATs. Montross narrowly missed equaling his school-record field goal distance of 50 yards. That play came up just short on an attempt into the wind just seconds before halftime.

READ: PSAC athletes of week include 2 SU athletes

SU vs Bloomsburg’s lopsided game stats

The overall stats highlight the Raiders lopsided victory.

Bloomsburg as a team had just four plays of 10 or more yards. All nine Raiders who caught a pass in Saturday’s game had at least one reception of 10 or more yards. Husky starting quarterback Ben Ries was 4-of-11 for 19 yards and two interceptions in the first half. He was replaced in the second half by David LePoidevin. Jaco Sattamini, the reigning PSAC East Special Teams Player of the Week, had 11 punts for the Huskies.

Time of possession was also lopsided in favor of the Raiders, as SU controlled the ball for 39:20.

What’s next

Shippensburg hits the road next weekend to renew its longstanding regional rivalry with Shepherd. The nationally-ranked Rams dropped their first match of the season Saturday with a close loss to Kutztown. Kickoff next Saturday is at noon from Ram Stadium.

Bill’s notes

 Through four games, Shippensburg leads the PSAC in scoring offense (42.0 ppg) and time of possession (36:02). The Raiders rank fifth in scoring defense (16.5 ppg)…SU leads the PSAC in rushing defense (58.3), ranks second in the PSAC in total defense (246.8)…Montross leads the PSAC in net kickoff average and ranks second in average yards per kickoff (62.2)…SU’s five interceptions on defense are one short of IUP for the league lead…this season, Mussina is 80-of-116 for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns without an interception…Mussina’s previous career-long touchdown throws were 77 yards to Josh Gontarek versus Kutztown in 2018 and 76 yards to Winston Eubanks at Shepherd in 2019…SU is now 30-13 all-time at home against Bloomsburg.

Photos by Bill Smith/Shippensburg University
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