SHIPPENSBURG - The Bloomsburg University football team saw its 2012 campaign come to an end Saturday afternoon as the Huskies dropped a 58-20 decision in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs at SU Student Association Field at Seth Grove Stadium.
Bloomsburg (10-2) held the Red Raiders (11-1) in check during the first half, taking a 14-13 lead into the locker room. However, Shippensburg kicked a field goal to end the half, scored 28 points in the third quarter and 48 unanswered to defeat Bloomsburg for the second time this season.
"We had a couple bad breaks that turned out to be costly, and Ship did exactly what we didn't want them to do which was gain momentum," BU head coach Danny Hale said. "I know these guys all fought hard out there today and I'm very proud of our team to finish with 10 wins this season."
Junior running back Franklyn Quiteh (Tobyhanna/Pocono Mountain West) led the Huskies with 199 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the setback. He will head into his senior season in 2013 ranked second in BU history in rushing with 5,328 yards, 361 behind BU leader Jamar Brittingham's Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC)-record 5,689.
The rushing output marked Quiteh's 17th consecutive 100-yard game and 32nd of his career; both are school-records.
With its 241 rushing yards, Bloomsburg set the PSAC single-season rushing record with 3,789 yards this season. It also ranked on the BU all-time leaderboard in points scored (451 - fourth) and touchdowns (61 - second).
Defensively, the determination and heart of the Huskies was never in question Saturday. Bloomsburg senior captain Jarrett Pidgeon (Barnegat, NJ/Southern Regional) was one of three BU players with seven or more tackles. His seven total stops brought his season total to 104. He also had a pair of pass breakups. Sophomore linebacker Justin Shirk (Harrisburg/Central Dauphin) and senior safety Dan Haverstock (York/West York) led the Huskies with eight tackles apiece. Haverstock also broke up a pass.
Saturday marked the final game for 17 BU seniors. Since the beginning of the 2009 season, they have combined for 37 wins including the 2010 PSAC Eastern Division title. Among them are Brandon Allen (Philadelphia/Frankford), Chris Boyer (Hummelstown/Hershey), Sean Clift (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic), Mark Daniels (Sinking Spring/Wilson West Lawn), Ryan Dickerson (Harleysville/Souderton), Samuel Eck (Jersey Shore/Jersey Shore), Ryan Feldman (Mechanicsburg/JP McCaskey), Kyle Fisher (Denver/Cocalico), Haverstock, Ryan Maggs (Beech Creek/Central Mountain), Dylan Manni (Bensalem/Bensalem), Matt Marchioni (Wilmington, DE/Brandywine), Shaun Moore (Lansdale/North Penn), Oglesby, Pidgeon, Mike Schlauch (Zion Grove/Bloomsburg), and Larry Webster (Hagerstown, MD/Elkton).
"Jarrett's passion and leadership have been great in his time here," Hale spoke of his senior tri-captain. "He plays spirited throughout and gives everything he has. His leadership ability overall as a captain has been a key to our success and he will be missed immensely."
Shippensburg quarterback and PSAC East Offensive Athlete of the Year Zach Zulli sparked the come-from-behind victory. He threw for 479 yards on 26-for-35 passing and three touchdowns.
Sophomore returner DJ Robinson (Sinking Spring/Conrad Weiser) gave the Huskies great field position to start the game, returning the SU kick 35 yards to the Bloomsburg 39-yard line.
On the second rush of the game, Quiteh ran off a 15-yard gain for Bloomsburg. The run elevated BU to becoming the all-time leading rushing team in PSAC history.
Quiteh was the main focus on the opening drive, running for 41 yards and capping off a 61-yard, game-opening drive with a three-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal.
The Bloomsburg defense played outstanding in the first quarter and forced a Shippensburg three-and-out on its first possession.
"I'm real proud of my guys and how we all stuck together," Pidgeon said. "They never give up, they never quit, and I would take these guys to play with any day."
After a Kelly interception, Shippensburg drove down to the seven-yard line and decided to go for a fourth-and-goal attempt. Haverstock stormed into the backfield from his safety position to tackle SU's Kevin Herod in the backfield for a three-yard loss and an SU turnover on downs.
The Red Raiders got on the board with 28.8 seconds left in the first quarter with a 34-yard field goal from Drew Newcomer to bring the game to 7-3. A big play on third down forced Shippensburg to settle for three. Matt Heilig (Harrisburg/Central Dauphin) got to Zulli as the pass was broken up and nearly intercepted by Pidgeon.
Bloomsburg's defense stepped up again early in the second quarter as the Red Raiders drove to the BU two-yard line with a first-and-goal attempt. BU frustrated Zulli on three straight plays as Shippensburg didn't gain a yard on its red zone attempt, leading to a potential field goal.
The 20-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cole Parkinson (Boyertown/St. Pius X) and recovered by Shirk as the Huskies held the Red Raiders scoreless yet again. Parksinson blocked two field goals this season as his first was picked up by Terrell Oglesby (Philadelphia/Northeast Catholic) and taken in for a touchdown against Millersville on Oct. 6.
After its opening touchdown, Bloomsburg was unable to put points on the board its next four possessions. The BU defense, playing outstanding in the first half, simply could not keep the Red Raiders out of the end zone for long. It took Shippensburg just three plays to go 77 yards and score on a 21-yard TD pass from Zulli to Jacob Baskerville to give SU its first lead of the game at 10-7 with 5:53 to play in the half.
The Huskies responded to the Shippensburg touchdown drive with one of their own. Quiteh rushed for his second TD of the day from three yards out to give Bloomsburg a 14-10 lead with 1:54 to play in the half. Quiteh eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career on the drive. A significant play on the drive was a Quiteh fumble after a 15-yard run, which was recovered by BU's Dickerson.
Shippensburg was prepared to take the four-point deficit into halftime and punted with 26 seconds to play in the half. The punt, however, hit a BU blocker's foot downfield as SU recovered and took over at the BU 26-yard line. After BU's Shaun Moore (Lansdale/North Penn) and Brian Clarke (Hanover/Hanover) teamed up to sack Zulli, Shippensburg kicked a 31-yard field goal to cut the Bloomsburg lead to 14-13 heading into the locker room.
The Red Raiders broke the game open in the third quarter. They scored 28 points in the third and 48 unanswered as they seemed to be on a mission to put up big points after a 41-10 loss last week to Indiana (PA).
The Huskies had two costly turnovers in the third quarter including one in the red zone that the Red Raiders took advantage of in rout of a 45-6 scoring advantage in the second half.
Shippensburg finished with two, 100-yard receivers in Baskerville and Trevor Harman. Baskerville led the game with 153 yards and two touchdowns as Harman brought in 117.