Courtesy of Gannon Athletics
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa.
- The Gannon football team forced seven turnovers, rallied from a 17-7 deficit late in the second quarter and posted a come-from-behind 24-20 victory at Slippery Rock Saturday afternoon in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division finale for both programs. As the result, the Golden Knights recorded back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1995.
The final score represented Gannon’s only lead of the game during an afternoon that featured a wintery mix of snow and ice, including a snow-covered field during the third quarter.
Meanwhile, turnovers played a major factor in the outcome as Gannon recovered four fumbles and intercepted three passes. The four recovered fumbles tied a school record accomplished four previous times. The seven total turnovers were the most by a Gannon opponent since Mercyhurst turned the ball over eight times during a 35-26 Golden Knight victory in the 2005 season opener.
Saturday’s contest was a typical Gannon-Slippery Rock match-up. The margin of victory was one score for the fifth consecutive time, including four points or less for the fourth time in five games.
The verdict also assured Gannon a winning road record for the first time since the 2003 squad went 5-1 away from home. The Golden Knights won three of five road contests in 2010.
Trailing 17-7, Gannon rolled off 17 of the contest’s final 20 points. The decisive play came with 58 seconds left in the third quarter when Zach Boedicker (Northfield, Ohio/Nordonia) broke off a 61-yard touchdown run for the winning score.
Slippery Rock initially led 10-0 after one quarter, before Gannon’s offense started to roll. Following Akeem Satterfield’s 28-yard touchdown run, the Golden Knights marched 79 yards on eight plays for their first score. Tyler Batts (Homestead, Pa./Penn-Trafford) produced the first 25 yards on the ground, before Boedicker escaped for a 30-yard run as the first quarter came to a close. The senior quarterback then completed three consecutive passes, including a 10-yard touchdown strike to Evan Twombly (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Baldwinsville) one minute and eight seconds into the second quarter.
Satterfield added a second touchdown run with 1:38 left in the second quarter, extending the Rock’s lead to 17-7. Gannon followed by going three-and-out. And the entire game changed directions moments later. With 36 seconds left in the half, Slippery Rock fumbled a handoff exchange on its own 15-yard line. One play later, Boedicker connected with Geoff Hicks (Buffalo, N.Y./Cleveland Hill) in the back of the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown pass. The last-second theatrics sent the Rock into the break with only a 17-14 advantage.
Gannon forged the game’s first tie on its first possession of the second half. The drive started off with a 23-yard kickoff return by Kendall Brown (Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough), followed by a 26-yard passing play from Boedicker to Batts. An additional 15 yards were tacked on for a personal foul, moving the Golden Knights a total of 64 yards in only two plays. The possession eventually ended with a Jeremy Ditzler (Erie, Pa./Iroquois) 41-yard field goal 1:58 into the half.
Slippery Rock regained the lead momentarily on C.J. Bahr’s 37-yard field goal in the snow with 3:33 showing on the third-quarter clock, ending a 13-play drive that consumed 44 yards and 6:55 of the clock.
However, it was only fitting that the winning score came after another Slippery Rock turnover. Chris Cook (Cleveland, Ohio/Shaw) recovered a fumble by Satterfield at Gannon’s 47-yard line late in the third quarter. Two plays later, Boedicker took off on his game-winning 61-yard run.
Slippery Rock had two final scoring chances during the fourth quarter. The first drive concluded when Bahr missed a 32-yard field goal. The second scoring opportunity ended when Satterfield fumbled again at the Rock 48-yard line with 1:49 left in regulation.
Boedicker produced 210 yards of total offense, rushing for a season-high 117 yards on 11 carries. It was his fifth career 100-yard rushing performance. He added an 8-for-19 passing chart for 93 yards and two scores.
Batts rushed for 56 yards on 20 carries. Six different Golden Knights hauled in passes, led by Batts and Hicks who made two receptions each.
Defensively, four Golden Knights reached double digits in tackles. Randy Colling (Arcade, N.Y./Pioneer) headlined the defensive unit with a career-high 14 tackles, obtaining double digits for the second consecutive game.
Matthew Neal-Mink (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) and Kevin Minor (South Euclid, Ohio/Shaw) chipped in 11 tackles each. Neal-Mink tied his season-high for the third time. He also moved into third place all-time at Gannon with 296 career tackles. Keith Yager (Hermitage, Pa./Hickory) added a career-high 10 stops.
Brown recorded his first career interception in the second quarter. Connor Kimball (Erie, Pa./McDowell) moved into Gannon’s all-time top 10 with his sixth career pick and fifth of the season.
Gannon improved to 6-4 overall while finishing in sole possession of third place in the PSAC Western Division with a 4-3 divisional mark. Slippery Rock dropped to 6-4 overall and 3-4 in conference play with its second consecutive loss. The Golden Knights conclude the regular season Saturday, November 13 against No. 15 Kutztown at Gannon University Field. Game time is scheduled for 12 noon.