Story and photo courtesy of Shippensburg Athletics
– The Shippensburg University football team scored 24 points in the opening quarter of Saturday afternoon’s PSAC Eastern Division finale from Seth Grove Stadium and amassed 621 total yards on offense in addition to intercepting five passes in an impressive victory over East Stroudsburg, 44-14.
Shippensburg (6-4, 4-3 PSAC East) secured itself a winning season in head coach Mark Maciejewski ‘92/’96M’s first year at the helm of the Red Raider program and has scored at least 40 points in all six of its victories in 2011.
The 621 yards of total offense are the third most in SU single-game history and the most recorded by the Red Raiders since setting the school record (749 yards) in 2007 against Lock Haven. Meanwhile, the 401 rushing yards recorded by Shippensburg is the fourth-most in school history and gives the Red Raiders 792 rushing yards in its last two games.
Sophomore Zach Zulli was a weapon through the air and on the ground Saturday, throwing four touchdown passes while also rushing for a game-high 126 yards and a score. The 126 yards on the ground mark the second-most by a quarterback in school history – as Ralph Sassaman ran for 127 in a 1965 contest against Lock Haven. His first touchdown pass of the day gave him the single-season school record for touchdown passes and has totaled 31 through 10 games.
Junior Mike Frenette was a force once again – carrying the ball 19 times for 115 yards. With 32 receiving yards and 54 kick return yards in Saturday’s game, Frenette totaled a game-high 201 all-purpose yards. It is Frenette’s third time this season with 100 rushing yards and 200 all-purpose yards in a game.
The defense manhandled East Stroudsburg all afternoon, limiting the Warriors to zero points and just 95 yards on offense through the first three quarters. ESU did not convert a third down until the last five minutes of the third quarter and completed just two more passes (six) than it threw interceptions (four) entering the final frame.
In fact, the defense recorded a shutout streak of 123 minutes 58 seconds until the Warriors scored a touchdown with 8:23 remaining in the contest. The streak dated back to the fourth quarter of Shippensburg’s victory at Cheyney.
Of Shippensburg’s five interceptions, both senior Bryan Culler and junior Corey Hunt picked off two passes each. Culler now has four career interceptions, all of which have come against East Stroudsburg. Hunt now leads the team with four interceptions this season. Sophomore Tyriq Kershaw also picked off a pass and led the Red Raiders on Saturday with seven tackles.
Shippensburg ran the ball 60 times in Saturday’s game and only four went for negative yardage. The Red Raiders had 16 rushes of 10 or more yards in the contest – including five by Zulli and four by Frenette.
SU also recorded a 16-minute advantage in time of possession, controlling the ball for 38 minutes 21 seconds. Over the last three quarters, the Red Raiders possessed the ball for 30 minutes 46 seconds – including at least 10 minutes in each frame.
Shippensburg concludes the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday from SU Student Assocation Field at Seth Grove Stadium against PSAC Western Division opponent Mercyhurst.