Saturday, September 9, 2017

Second-Half Defense Lifts Bloomsburg Football To 29-20 Victory At Clarion Saturday

A Bloomsburg Sports Information Photo
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. - The Bloomsburg University football team limited Clarion University 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 on Saturday afternoon. The Huskies improved to 1-1 overall while Clarion fell to 0-2. 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 hosts put the first points on the scoreboard as James Metzgar connected on a 33-yard field goal with 10:12 left in the first quarter to give the Golden Eagles a 3-0 advantage. But, the Huskies rattled off 14 consecutive points to take a 14-3 lead after one quarter of action. On Bloomsburg's ensuing possession, Palubinsky plunged in from two yards out for his first rushing touchdown of the game, capping off a 10-play, 78-yard drive that took 5:10 off the clock. Redshirt junior Ryan Abbott (Hagerstown, Md./Saint James School) added the point after the give the Huskies a 7-3 lead with 5:02 left in the period. Then, redshirt junior Chris Gary (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Wood) forced, and recovered, a fumble from Clarion quarterback Asiantii Woulard to give the Huskies excellent field position at the Clarion 29-yard line. The Huskies took advantage when Palubinsky found senior tight end Aaron Allison (Philadelphia, Pa./Frankford) in the endzone from ten yards out and, after Abbott added the point after, the Huskies led 14-3 with 1:58 left in the first quarter.

Clarion battled back in the second quarter as Metzgar booted a 30-yard field goal and then Woulard hooked up with Clay Byerly on a 16-yard touchdown pass to cut the Huskies' lead to 14-13 with 9:27 left in the opening half. On its next drive, Bloomsburg drove 62 yards on 12 plays but had to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Abbott with 3:42 left in the half as the Huskies extended their lead to 17-13.

Woulard and the Golden Eagles struck back as the Clarion quarterback went deep and found Greg Leonard on a 44-yard touchdown reception to give Clarion a 20-17 lead with 1:52 left in the opening half. Both teams had drive opportunities in the final two minutes but neither could add more points and the teams headed to the locker room with the hosts leading by three points.

Bloomsburg's defense stepped up in the second half and it got enough offense to score the only 12 points in the final 30 minutes to earn the comeback win.

Abbott started the scoring with a 35-yard field goal on the Huskies' opening drive of the second half to knot the score at 20-20 with 12:06 left in the third quarter. Nearly ten minutes later, Abbott connected on his third field goal of the game, this time a 33-yarder, as the Huskies regained a three-point lead at 23-20 with 2:25 remaining in the third stanza. It marked the first time in Abbott's career that he converted three field goals in a game - his previous high was two, both of which occurred last season (at Cheyney on September 24 and at IUP on November 11).

The Golden Eagles threatened on their ensuing possession, driving all the way to the Bloomsburg 22-yard line before redshirt senior linebacker Jerry Peralte (Philadelphia, Pa./Calvary Christian) sacked Woulard for a 12-yard loss on a third-down play to take Clarion out of field goal range. It was Peralte's first sack in a Bloomsburg uniform after transferring in from East Stroudsburg and it proved to be the Huskies' only sack of the contest.

Bloomsburg would put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter as the offense put together another time-eating drive, this time capped off by a Palubinsky one-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds left in regulation. The Huskies botched the extra point but the damage had been done as Bloomsburg took a nine-point advantage after the 12-play, 50-yard drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock.

The Huskies outgained the Golden Eagles by a 315-241 margin in total offense. The main difference came in the rushing game as Bloomsburg limited Clarion to just 66 yards on the ground while the Huskies picked up 141 rushing yards. The time of possession also favored Bloomsburg significantly as the Huskies held the ball for just over 37 minutes on offense. Both teams had to battle through a number of penalties on Saturday afternoon. Bloomsburg was penalized 15 times for 145 yards while Clarion was assessed 13 penalties for 152 yards.

Quiteh led all rushers with career-highs in carries (29) and rushing yards (118). He also caught two passes for 11 yards to finish with a team-high 129 all-purpose yards. Redshirt sophomore Tre Green (West Chester, Pa./B. Reed Henderson) added a career-high 21 yards rushing on seven carries. Palubinsky finished his day completing 17-of-32 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He added the two scores on the ground. Redshirt sophomore Jay Popson (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood)continued his breakout start to the campaign by catching a team-high four passes for 45 yards. Allison, sophomore Ethan Price(Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh), and redshirt junior Duffy Gilhool (Upper Chichester, Pa./Chichester) each caught three passes.

Kyle Evans led Clarion with 59 yards on 17 carries while also catching three passes for 25 yards. Evans added 161 yards of kick returns to finish with 245 all-purpose yards. Woulard finished 13-of-31 for 175 yards and two scores through the air. Leonard, who caught the long 44-yard touchdown pass, finished with three catches for 61 yards.

Defensively, redshirt juniors Jake Klinger (Berwick, Pa./Central Columbia) and Josh Salak (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin)paced the Huskies with six tackles apiece. Klinger added a career-high two tackles for a loss. Layne Skundrich led Clarion with 14 total tackles and 1.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

The Huskies will return home next Saturday, September 16, to host the Golden Knights of Gannon University. Bloomsburg leads the all-time series, 3-2, but will be looking to avenge last season's 30-27 overtime loss in Erie. Kickoff from Danny Hale Field at Redman Stadium is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

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