LOCAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bloomsburg defeats Millersville
BLOOMSBURG - Even if Millersville had shut out Bloomsburg University's high-powered offense Saturday afternoon at Redman Stadium, it would have been done in by touchdowns scored by the Huskies' defense and special teams.
Despite all of that, the 45-7 victory was not lacking moments of concern for the ninth-ranked Huskies (6-0 overall, 3-0 PSAC).
Senior tailback Franklyn Quiteh, the all-time PSAC rushing leader, left the game in the first quarter with a bruised left shoulder after having all four carries in the 27-yard scoring drive to open the game. He did return briefly in the second quarter and carried two more times for 30 yards - giving him eight carries for 63 yards in the game, 1,102 for the season and 6,430 for his career - and scored a touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Tim Kelly for a 21-0 lead, but then sat out the rest of the game.
Senior center and tri-captain Chris Steck from Mount Carmel, whose birthday was made happier with the homecoming victory, said there was concern when Quiteh went out, but no panic by the offensive line. For them, it was business as usual, which is reflected in the Huskies rushing for 204 yards on just 40 carries.
"We always expect him to be there, and from the way he was on the sideline, he seemed to be OK," Steck said. "Just because he was going to sit out, nothing changed because we just did what we always do no matter whose back there getting the ball."
Quiteh had rushed for 100 yards or more in 22 consecutive games, and the last time he failed to rush for at least 100 yards was October 8, 2011, in a victory over Cheyney. Bloomsburg coach Paul Darragh said everyone was aware of the streak, but wanted to avoid playing a starter in a meaningless situation and risking an injury.
"He wanted to play and if we had needed him, he could have played," Darragh said. "That's why we put him back in for a few plays, but there was no way I was going to
have him in there with a 45-0 lead and have something happen.
"I realize he had the streak, but as much as he wanted to play he understands going back in today wasn't the thing to do. As it was, we got some big plays not just from the offense, but also the defense and special teams."
When the Marauders (0-6, 0-3) won the toss they deferred to the second half, which is what Bloomsburg had done in winning the first five tosses this year. That meant the Huskies were in the unfamiliar position of receiving the opening kickoff and Lawrence Elliott, Jr., had a 69-yard return to the 27.
Elliott, however, saved his best performance for his final return, taking a punt back 73 yards for a touchdown and a 45-0 lead with 7:09 left in the third quarter. It was the first touchdown for the freshman from Utica, N.Y., and brought back memories of his high school days.
"When I saw the field open up, I just did what I do best, and that's run," Elliott said. "I'd returned punts in high school, but it felt good to do it here and today."
Bloomsburg's defense not only stopped the Marauders on their first drive of the second half, but opened the scoring. On third-and-3 the Huskies put pressure on quarterback Curtis Frye as he attempted a screen pass, but defensive back Jonathan Patrick read the play, cut in behind the intended receiver, made an interception and returned it 34-yards for a touchdown that made the score 38-0.
Kelly's touchdown pass to Quiteh was the second of three he threw in the quarter to help build a 31-0 halftime lead. He opened the second-quarter scoring with a 31-yard pass to Tony Peregrin to cap a 10-play, 93-yard drive, and with three seconds left in the half Kelly threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Glenn Hutton, Jr.
Also adding to the offensive outburst was kicker Danny Fisher, who added to his PSAC career records for field goals and kicking points. His 31-yard field goal with 1:32 left in the half made the score 24-0 and was the 53rd of his career and gives him 317 points.
In every way the Huskies took Millersville to the woodshed. Certainly, Lebanon Levi would have approved.