LOCAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bloomsburg defeats Kutztown
KUTZTOWN - For senior running back Franklyn Quiteh, it was another day at the office.
For defensive end Larry Webster, it was a day to remember.
And because of their performances the Bloomsburg University football was able to win its Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division opener Saturday at Kutztown in a much more competitive game than the final 31-12 score indicates.
From the outset this figured to be a game of contrasting offensive styles, with the Huskies (3-0 overall, 1-0 PSAC) looking to run the ball and improve their No. 11 ranking in the D2Football.com Top 25. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears (0-3, 0-1) have turned their pass-happy offense over to freshman quarterback Alec Warner, who completed 70-of-102 for 689 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in his first two games.
While an offense that relies so heavily on passing and disdains the run seldom holds up over the long haul, its quick-strike potential can upset a stronger opponent - especially when a defense sells out to stop the run.
In addition, the Bears had emotion on their side as this was their home opener and the day honored the memory of legendary coach George Baldwin, who died this summer.
With scores of Baldwin's former players in attendance, including former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed and New York Jets back Bruce Harper, the Bears held the lead late in the half. Then Webster and the defense began winning the line of scrimmage and the second of his four sacks helped give the Huskies field position. Then, Quiteh capped a four-play, 34-yard drive with a 10-yard and a 10-6 lead with 3:15 left in the half.
A week after Quiteh became the all-time rushing leader in the PSAC, breaking the record of 5,689 yards held by former Huskie Jamar Brittingham, the game plan was to keep feeding him the ball. Kutztown, however, was just as determined to choke the run and used its defensive backs in run support.
That strategy was effective for a half, as Quiteh was limited to a net of 57 yards on 10 carries. Clearly, the second half figured to be a battle of wills, and on this day, where there was a will there was a way for the Huskies.
In the second half, Quiteh had 13
carries for a net of 113 yards, including a 65-yard run to the 23 early in the fourth quarter that gave him his 20th consecutive 100-yard rushing game. Later in quarter he put the game out of reach with a 28-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring, and his 170-yard output gives him 5,911 yards rushing to rank No. 15 on the all-time Division II list.
"It was good to get the record out of the way last week and forget about all the distractions," Quiteh said. "All we thought about was coming in here and paying them back for the embarrassing beating they gave us down here two years ago.
"To their credit, they were prepared to stop our running game, but we know that's what every team wants to do. We didn't get frustrated and just stayed with our game plan."
Quarterback Tim Kelly contributed to the balanced offense by completing 11-of-17 passes for 133 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown to Connor Gades in the third quarter and a 7-yard touchdown to Tony Peregrin in the fourth quarter. Kicker Dan Fisher put the Huskies on the board with a 21-yard field goal to become the all-time PSAC leader with 51.
Werner completed 41-of-58 passes for 351 yards, opening the scoring with a 7-yard pass to Kodi Reed. He also had a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Williams late in the fourth quarter, as the Bears closed the game with 20 consecutive passing plays, which ended with an end-zone interception by Tyler Knoblauch.
"We had to get as much pressure on him as we could, and we tried to mix up a few things in our rush to try to make sure at least one guy got through," Webster said. "Our defensive backs were going to be under a lot of pressure if we didn't do our jobs."