Friday, October 13, 2017

Bloomsburg University Football Travels To West Chester Saturday In Crucial PSAC Matchup

Courtesy of Bloomsburg University Sports Information
- Saturday's contest with West Chester is the 76th in the series between the two schools, dating back to the first meeting in 1925. Bloomsburg has a 26-49 record in the series and is only 7-29 lifetime in West Chester. The Huskies lost 17 straight at West Chester until their first victory on October 14, 1978, by a final score of 16-3.

- West Chester is the top scoring team in the PSAC, but will go up against at Bloomsburg defense that ranks fourth in the conference in points allowed (22.8). However, last Saturday, the Golden Rams dropped 37 points on a Shippensburg team that had only allowed 46 points over the first five weeks. West Chester is foruth in the PSAC in total offense (456.5) while Bloomsburg is fourth in the league in total defense (344.2).

- Bloomsburg totaled only 166 yards of total offense last week against Kutztown - 62 rushing and 104 passing. It marked the fewest yards by a Huskies' team since September 13, 2003 when it gained only 136 yards in a 21-0 loss to Shippensburg. Bloomsburg has now been held to under 200 yards one time in each of the last three seasons (191 vs Shippensburg on 11/5/16; 181 at West Chester on 10/24/15).

- 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 168 consecutive games and have recorded at least one touchdown in 123 straight contests.

Bloomsburg totaled just 166 yards of total offense and recorded only seven first downs in a 23-7 loss to visiting Kutztown during Homecoming Weekend. The Huskies' only touchdown came early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run from redshirt senior quarterback Chris Palubinsky (Ringtown, Pa./Shenandoah Valley) after senior Scott Beltz (Pen Argyl, Pa./Pen Argyl)recovered a Kutztown fumble at the Golden Bears' one. The Huskies had a chance to tie, or take the lead, later in the quarter but Palubinsky was picked off by Shawn Turber-Ortiz at the two-yard line. The Golden Bears scored a pair of late touchdowns for the final margin. Bloomsburg had just 62 yards rushing - 50 by redshirt sophomore Qmac Quiteh (Tobyhanna, Pa./Pocono Mountain West) - and 104 yards through the air as Palubinsky was just 10-of-25 with three interceptions. Redshirt sophomore Michael Allen (Oley, Pa./Oley Valley) had seven catches for a career-high 91 yards in the loss. Kutztown finished the day with 442 yards of total offense and had the ball for just over 35 minutes in the win.

West Chester earned a 37-27 victory at Shippensburg to take over sole possession of first place in the PSAC East standings. Senior running back Jarel Elder rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Golden Rams offensively. After Shippensburg tied the game at 27-27 with 12 minutes left, West Chester got a career-long 41-yard field goal from Andrew Chegia and a 63-yard touchdown run from Elder to finish off the scoring. West Chester held the ball for 36 minutes and finished with 450 yards of offense. Shippensburg did have 453 yards in the loss but was just 3-of-14 on third downs and 0-of-3 on fourth downs.

Bloomsburg struggled to get anything going offensively during its 23-7 loss to Kutztown last Saturday. The Huskies totaled just 166 yards of offense and seven first downs in the 16-point loss - the fewest yards by a Bloomsburg team in a game since recording only 136 yards of offense in a 21-0 loss to Shippensburg on September 13, 2003. Thanks to a forced fumble, and recovery, by senior Scott Beltz (Pen Argyl, Pa./Pen Argyl) which led to Chris Palubinsky (Ringtown, Pa./Shenandoah Valley)'s one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, the Huskies did keep their consecutive point-scoring streak intact as they have now scored at least one point in 168 straight games. Bloomsburg was only on Kutztown's half of the field three times all afternoon and one of those came on Beltz's fumble recovery at the one-yard line.

Despite allowing 442 yards of total offense to Kutztown last Saturday, the Huskies' defense played quite well - certainly better than what the scoresheet indicates. Bloomsburg kept the game scoreless at the half despite being outgained, 216-44, in the opening 30 minutes. A big defensive stand in the closing seconds kept the Golden Bears off the scoreboard. With a first-and-goal from the Bloomsburg two-yard line, redshirt sophomore Alex Annan (Phillipsburg, N.J./Phillipsburg) came up with a tackle for no gain to force Kutztown to take its final timeout with 11 seconds left. On second down, redshirt seniors Ezra Ranco (Trappe, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) and Marquez Norford (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) came up with a quarterback sack which allowed the remaining time on the clock to run off. Kutztown scored a pair of late touchdowns after Bloomsburg turnovers to pull away on what was, essentially, a 10-7 game. The defense forced two turnovers, had nine tackles for a loss, three sacks, and broke up six passes in a strong effort.

Bloomsburg's victory over Cheyney earlier this season marked the 28th consecutive win over the Wolves in the all-time series. Bloomsburg has not lost to Cheyney since a 31-28 setback, in Bloomsburg, on October 14, 1989. The winning streak represents a school-record against a single opponent. Meanwhile, with the win the following week at Millersville, the Huskies have now won 18 consecutive contests against the Marauders dating back to a 31-21 loss at home during the 1999 campaign.

The Huskies rushed for a season-high 277 yards in the win over Cheyney and then added 269 yards on the ground in the win over Millersville before struggling last Saturday against Kutztown. Bloomsburg totaled only 332 total yards on the ground during the first three contests of the season (110.7 per game) but has combined to rush for 608 yards (202.7 per game) in the last three contests. With the back-to-back 200-plus-yard efforts on the ground, Bloomsburg has now totaled at least 200 rushing yards in a game 32 times in 53 career games under head coach Paul Darragh. Bloomsburg is 29-3 in those contests.

Bloomsburg is averaging only 184.7 passing yards per game - tied for 13th fewest in the conference. Only East Stroudsburg (179.3) and Lock Haven (153.3) average fewer than the Huskies. However, the duo of redshirt sophomore Michael Allen (Oley, Pa./Oley Valley) and redshirt sophomore Jay Popson (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) have emerged as one of the top receiving tandoms in the conference. Popson, leads the Huskies with 374 yards receiving and has caught 22 passes - second on the team - while Allen leads in receptions (28) and is second in receiving yards (373). The duo have combined for 50 of the team's 84 receptions (59.5%) and 747 of the team's 1,108 receiving yards (67.4%). Popson caught seven passes for 121 yards in the season opener against Stonehill - 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. Meanwhile, Allen caught seven passes for a career-high 91 yards last week against Kutztown. As a team, the Huskies only had 10 catches for 104 yards.

The Huskies have been tremendous when scoring first and while working with a lead under head coach Paul Darragh. This season, the Huskies are 3-0 when scoring first to improve to 25-2 since Darragh took over in 2013. Meanwhile, during the Darragh era, the Huskies are 25-1 when leading after one quarter, 30-1 when leading at halftime, and 32-2 when leading after three quarters.

The Huskies enter Saturday's contest having allowed only 29 first downs on 87 opponent third-down opportunities (33.3%) through the first six games of the season. That figure is second in the PSAC and ranks 40th in the country. However, the Huskies have allowed opponents to convert 7-of-12 chances on fourth downs (58.3%). That figure is last in the conference and 140th in the country.


Redshirt junior Chris Gary (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Wood)was named the PSAC East Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts during the Huskies' 48-19 victory over visiting Cheyney University. Gary, the PSAC leader in sacks a season ago, was up to his old tricks on Saturday as he finished the day with five total tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hurry. Gary's three sacks tied a career high and his four tackles for a loss established a new career best. His second sack of the game also proved to be his second forced fumble of the season and led to a 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown by freshman Aaron Trumino (Binghamton, N.Y./Chenango Valley).

Bloomsburg recorded a season-high six sacks against Cheyney and has now recorded 16 sacks over the last four games after collecting only two through the first two weeks. Bloomsburg is tied for second with 18 sacks and trails only Shippensburg (19) on the season. Individually, redshirt sophomore Chris Gary (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Wood) leads the Huskies with four sacks - tied for fifth in the PSAC - while redshirt junior Jake Klinger (Berwick, Pa./Central Columbia) and senior Scott Beltz (Pen Argyl, Pa./Pen Argyl) have 3.5 apiece - tied for eighth in the conference. On the flip side, the Huskies have allowed only 10 sacks through six games this season - tied for fourth fewest given up in the league. Only IUP (3), Edinboro (4), and Seton Hill (5) have allowed fewer.

Senior Eric Schwartz (York, Pa./Central York) was named the PSAC East Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the Huskies' 27-10 win over Gannon. Schwartz, arguably, had the best game of his collegiate career as he led the Huskies with nine total tackles (seven solo), a sack, and an interception during the Huskies' 17-point win. He was also an integral part in limiting Gannon's offense to only 10 points (34 below Gannon's season average) and 321 yards of total offense (176.5 below Gannon's season average). The nine tackles established a new career-high for Schwartz and the sack was the first of his collegiate career (37 career games). His interception came late in the fourth quarter - at the Bloomsburg 37-yard line - and led to an Abbott field goal with under a minute remaining to put the game out of reach. It was Schwartz' first interception since November 8, 2014 during a victory at Lock Haven.

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 the 29-20 victory at Clarion on September 9. He added his second career 100-yard game with 108 yards and two scores against Cheyney. Through six games this season, Quiteh leads the Huskies with 499 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 116 carries. He entered the season with 14 career carries for 99 yards and two scores. Quiteh ranks sixth in the PSAC in rushing yards per game (89.8) and he has led the Huskies in rushing in four of the first five games. 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.

Redshirt junior placekicker Ryan Abbott (Hagerstown, Md./Saint James School) was named the PSAC East Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in the Huskies' 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. 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.

In the 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 44 times for 440 yards (73.3 yards per game) and have allowed 16 opponent first downs via penalty. The Huskies rank 10th in the PSAC in fewest penalty yards per game and is 103rd in Division II.

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.

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, enters the season having played in 32 career games and has 60 total tackles and an interception to his credit.

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. Findura's training and experience led him to become a member of an elite team called the Body Bearers, stationed in Washington D.C. As a part of the Body Bearers, Findura was tasked with aiding in the funerals of fallen soldiers.

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.

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.

The Golden Rams enter Saturday's contest with a 5-1 overall record, sitting at 3-0 in conference play. West Chester's strong start to the season is reflective of the preseason polls, as they were the projected to finish first in the east this season.

West Chester's high-powered offense is led by running back Jarel Elder. Elder ranks fifth in the PSAC with his nine touchdowns scored (eight rushing and one receiving) as he has tallied 555 yards on the ground and 114 yards through the air. Wide receivers Tyler Karpinski and Rasheem James enter the game seventh and eighth in receiving yards in the PSAC. Karpinski has reeled in 29 receptions for 495 yards while James has caught 25 passes for 457 yards. Only turning the ball over 10 times this season, the Rams are outscoring opponents at an average of 42-24.

West Chester's defense has forced teams to turn the ball over 13 times this season - seven fumbles and six interceptions. Brother of running back Jarel Elder, Jarey Elder has recorded two interceptions this season as well as fellow defensive back Shaquille James. The Golden Rams are fourth in the PSAC with 17 sacks. The defensive front is led by defensive ends George Shipp and Diquan Gilbert, each recording four sacks this season. Tyler Morrissey leads with 53 total tackles - tied for seventh in the PSAC.

The Huskies will head to East Stroudsburg University on Saturday, October 21 with kickoff slated for 4:05 p.m. The Warriors lead the all-time series, 44-41-2, but the Huskies have won 16 of the last 20 meetings, including a 35-14 victory at Redman Stadium last season.

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