Friday, September 15, 2017

Bloomsburg University Football - Huskies Host Gannon Saturday On Parents And Family Weekend

THINGS TO WATCH
- Bloomsburg is 3-2 lifetime against Gannon which includes a 1-1 record at Redman Stadium. The teams last met in Bloomsburg on September 29, 2012 with the Huskies coming away with a 43-24 victory. Bloomsburg has played only seven overtime time games in their history and have lost two of those contests - both have come against Gannon.

- The Huskies lead the conference in opponent third-down conversions as Stonehill and Clarion have converted only 8-of-31 third-down opportunities. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, are third in the PSAC in converting third downs as they are 13-of-25 (52.0%) through two contests.

- Bloomsburg enters the 2017 season having posted a winning record for 18 consecutive years dating back to a 5-6 mark in 1998. The Huskies have recorded a winning record in 22 of the last 23 seasons.


- The Huskies have scored at least one point in 164 consecutive games and have recorded at least one touchdown in 119 straight contests.

- Since 1999, Bloomsburg has gone 49-18 against opponents from the PSAC Western Division. The Huskies are 26-6 against such schools at Redman Stadium. The last Bloomsburg loss against a Western Division opponent at Redman Stadium came on September 19, 2015 - a 20-14 setback against Mercyhurst.

LAST WEEK
Bloomsburg limited Clarion to zero points and 63 yards of total offense in the second half as the Huskies picked up their first victory of the 2017 season with a 29-20 win over the Golden Eagles in front of just over 2,000 fans at Memorial Stadium last Saturday. The win also extended Bloomsburg's winning streak to six straight over the Golden Eagles in the all-time series. Redshirt sophomore Qmac Quiteh (Tobyhanna, Pa./Pocono Mountain West) collected his first collegiate 100-yard rushing effort as he shouldered the load on Saturday afternoon to the tune of 118 yards on 29 carries. Redshirt senior quarterback Chris Palubinsky(Ringtown, Pa./Shenandoah Valley) accounted for three total touchdowns - two rushing and one passing - to account for a majority of the scoring. But, it was the defense that stood out as the Huskies limited Clarion to 241 yards of total offense including only 63 in the second half. The defensive unit also did a great job in getting off the field as the Golden Eagles were just 1-of-13 on third-down conversions.

The Gannon football team stormed back from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit, but turnovers ended consecutive possessions inside the red zone during the final four minutes as the Golden Knights dropped a 41-33 decision to visiting Shippensburg last Saturday in Gannon's home opener. Marc Jones rushed for 150 yards on just 16 carries and two touchdowns while Zach Phillips completed 20-of-36 for 262 yards and one score. He was, however, picked off twice. The Golden Knights had 475 yards of total offense while Shippensburg had 401.

ABBOTT EARNS WEEKLY HONOR
Redshirt junior placekicker Ryan Abbott (Hagerstown, Md./Saint James School) was named the PSAC Eastern Division Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in Saturday's 29-20 victory at Clarion University. It marks the second time in Abbott's career that he has been honored with a weekly award from the PSAC. He also claimed the PSAC East Special Teams Player of the Week honor on September 25, 2016 - on the heels of last season's 54-14 victory at Cheyney University.

Abbott was a perfect 3-of-3 on field goals and 2-of-2 on extra points as he helped the Huskies to their first win of the 2017 campaign on Saturday. It marked a new career-high in field goals made in a game for Abbott - his previous high was two set on two different occasions last season (at Cheyney on September 24 and at IUP on November 12). He connected on a 30-yard field goal late in the first half which, at the time, gave the Huskies a 17-13 lead over the Golden Eagles. His 35-yarder on the Huskies' first drive of the second half tied the game at 20-20 and then his 33-yard boot late in the third quarter gave Bloomsburg the lead for good at 23-20.

The three field goals were the first three-point attempts of the season for Abbott, who went 8-of-11 on field goal attempts a season ago. The redshirt junior is also a perfect 4-of-4 on extra points which give him 13 points through two games this season - second-most on the team.

ANOTHER QUITEH LEADS THEM
Following in his older brother's footsteps, redshirt sophomore Qmac Quiteh (Tobyhanna, Pa./Pocono Mountain West) picked up his first collegiate 100-yard rushing effort as he carried the ball 29 times for 118 yards in last Saturday's victory at Clarion. Through two games this season, Quiteh leads the Huskies with 192 yards rushing and one score on 44 carries. He entered the season with 14 career carries for 99 yards and two scores.

Quiteh is the younger brother of Bloomsburg's - and the PSAC's - all-time leading rusher, Franklyn Quiteh who compiled 7,523 rushing yards from 2010-13. Franklyn won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation's top player in Division II during his senior season of 2013 after rushing for 2,195 yards and 29 scores. He was a three-time Harlon Hill finalist.

DIRTY LAUNDRY
In Saturday's 29-20 victory at Clarion, the teams combined for 28 penalties and 297 penalty yards with the Huskies getting flagged 15 times for 145 yards in the victory. Last season, Bloomsburg was penalized only 61 times for 553 yards (50.3 yards per game) and allowed only nine opponent first downs via penalty. In fact, the Huskies were the least penalized team in the conference last year. This season, Bloomsburg has been flagged 23 times for 236 yards (118 yards per game) and have allowed 10 opponent first downs via penalty. The Huskies rank dead last in the PSAC in fewest penalties and penalty yards and are 163rd out of 168 teams in Division II.

POPSON BREAKS OUT
Redshirt sophomore Jay Popson (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood)made his first collegiate start at wide receiver against Stonehill and took advantage of the opportunity by catching seven passes for 121 yards. He entered the contest with two career catches and 27 career receiving yards but emerged as redshirt senior Chris Palubinsky (Ringtown, Pa./Shenandoah Valley)'s main target against Stonehill. His 121 receiving yards marked the first time a Bloomsburg receiver eclipsed 100 yards receiving yards in a game since Connor Gades hauled in 102 yards against Lock Haven on November 7, 2015. He added team-highs in receptions (4) and receiving yards (45) in last Saturday's 29-20 win at Clarion and currently leads the team with 11 catches for 166 yards. He is tenth in the PSAC in receiving yards per game (83.0).

SELDOM HAPPENS
The Huskies rushed for only 79 yards in the season-opening loss to Stonehill - just the fifth time in 48 games under head coach Paul Darragh that the team has been held to under 100 yards rushing. The Huskies are 1-4 in such games with the only victory coming against Shippensburg on November 5, 2016 when the ground game picked up 96 yards in a 22-19 win. Redshirt sophomore Qmac Quiteh (Tobyhanna, Pa./Pocono Mountain West) led the Huskies with career-highs in carries (15) and rushing yards (74) on Saturday while also scoring his third career rushing touchdown. The rest of the team accounted for 16 carries for five yards.

FOR OPENERS
The season-opening loss to Stonehill marked just the second time in the last 18 home openers, dating back to the 2000 season, that the Huskies found themselves on the wrong end on the scoreboard. The Skyhawks also earned a victory at Redman Stadium back in 2015. Meanwhile, the 44 points allowed by the Huskies were the most allowed by a Bloomsburg team in a season-opener since a 47-37 setback against New Haven to open the 1999 campaign. It also marked the most given up in a game since a 58-20 loss at Shippensburg in the 2012 NCAA playoffs on November 17, 2012.

CAPTAINS NAMED
Bloomsburg will go with a trio of captains this season - redshirt seniors Aaron Allison (Philadelphia, Pa./Frankford)Scott Beltz(Pen Argyl, Pa./Pen Argyl), and Eric Schwartz (York, Pa./Central York). Allison, a tight end from Philadelphia, has appeared in 36 games entering the 2017 season and has career 37 catches for 443 yards and five scores. Beltz, a defensive lineman from Pen Argyl, enters the season with 86 total tackles and 4.5 sacks in 32 career contests. Schwartz, a safety from York, has played in 32 career games and has 60 total tackles and an interception.

SERVICEMEN
Schwartz spent four years in the service, serving as a lance corporal before promotion to corporal. During his time in the Marines, Schwartz was deployed for nine months in Kunjak, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where he worked as an infantry machine gunner. Deployed in 2009, he spent his days in a combat position on top of a truck, responsible for tactical employment of a heavy machine gun to provide direct fire in support of his unit. He also served a tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea with an expeditionary unit. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Alex Findura (Bloomsburg, Pa./Woodland (Ga.)) also served in the United States Marine Corps Infantry for four years.

PRESEASON POLL

The Huskies were picked to finish fourth in the PSAC preseason coaches poll released in early August. Bloomsburg finished in a tie for third last year with a 6-5 overall record and a 4-3 mark in divisional play. The six victories snapped a streak of 17 straight seasons of seven or more victories but extended the program's streak to 18 straight years of having a winning season. The Huskies have had a winning record in 22 of the last 23 seasons.

PSAC PRESEASON COACHES POLL
EASTERN DIVISION

1. West Chester (8)
2. Kutztown
3. Shippensburg
4. Bloomsburg
5. East Stroudsburg
6. Lock Haven
7. Millersville
8. Cheyney

WESTERN DIVISION
1. IUP (6)
2. California (2)
3. Slippery Rock
4. Edinboro
5. Gannon
6. Seton Hill
7. Clarion
8. Mercyhurst

JONASSEN TO ENTER BU HALL OF FAME
Former Husky great Eric Jonassen will be inducted into the Bloomsburg University Hall of Fame on October 27 as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Jonassen is the father of starting center, Seth Jonassen (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley).

Eric Jonassen was a dominant offensive lineman for two seasons on the Huskies' football team and earned a number of postseason accolades during his time at Bloomsburg. He was a two-time First Team All-PSAC selection and collected numerous All-American honors including being named Second Team AP All-American in 1990, First Team AP All-American in 1991, and First Team AFCA All-American in 1991. He was also tabbed a First Team Football Gazette All-American twice. After his collegiate career, Jonassen was drafted in the fifth round of the 1992 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played three seasons in San Diego, participating in Super Bowl XXIX, and then played two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring after the 1997 season.

Other members of this year's class are Michele Baylor Kane (women's lacrosse), Kathy Frick (field hockey, women's lacrosse coach), Chuck Laudermilch (women's soccer coach), Ralph Moerschbacher (men's swimming), and Michelle Wolyniec (women's cross country/track and field).

The ceremony will take place on Friday, October 27 and then the six individuals will be honored at halftime of Bloomsburg's home game against Lock Haven on Saturday, October 28.

SCOUTING GANNON
The Golden Knights enter Saturday's contest with a 1-1 overall record having won their opener at Southern Connecticut State by a 55-22 final before dropping a 41-33 decision to Shippensburg in their home opener last Saturday. Gannon was picked to finish fifth in the PSAC Western Division.

Gannon leads the conference, and is eighth in the country, in rushing yards per game (277.5) while ranking second in the league - 15th in the country - in total offense per game (497.5). The offense runs through running back Marc Jones who has rushed for 351 yards and five touchdowns through two games this season. Jones has carried the ball only 36 times but is averaging 9.8 yards per carry. He leads the conference in rushing yards per game, rushing yards per carry, and rushing touchdowns. He is tied for the NCAA Division II lead in rushing touchdowns with four other players. Quarterback Zach Phillips has started both games under center and is 39-of-62 for 440 yards and three touchdowns. He has also rushed for 56 yards and another score. Tyler Palka has been his favorite target as he has caught 15 passes for 139 yards and two scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Golden Knights allow an average of 357.5 yards per game through two contests. Linebacker Anthony Howard leads the Golden Knights with 25 total tackles including nine solo tackles - third in the PSAC. James Simms has chipped in 23 total tackles which is ninth in the conference. Andrew Berger has both Gannon sacks and is tied with Noah Harris-Lyles with three tackles for a loss. Simms and Geremy Paige have accounted for the interceptions.

On special teams, Brandon Mansell is second in the conference with 159 kickoff return yards and is third in return average (26.5). Nico Law is fourth in punt return average (12.8). Karch Holland has yet to attempt a field goal this season but enters fourth on the school's all-time list with 207 points and third in career field goals (26). 

UP NEXT
Bloomsburg will play again at Danny Hale Field at Redman Stadium next Saturday, September 23 when it opens divisional play against Cheyney. Start time is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. The Huskies are 46-9-1 lifetime against the Wolves and have won 27 consecutive meetings between the two schools including last year's 54-14 win in Cheyney.

Entering this Saturday's action, Cheyney is 1-1 on the young season. The Wolves hammered Lincoln, 56-28, in the season opener before falling on the road at California (Pa.), 54-14, last Saturday - a vast improvement from last season's 79-3 loss to the Vulcans.

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