Story and photo courtesy of Bloomsburg Athletics
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – Saturday's Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division-opening matchup between the Bloomsburg University and Kutztown University football teams lived up to the hype, and then some. In front of a packed Danny Hale Field at Redman Stadium, Bloomsburg prevailed and remained undefeated on the season with a 44-37 victory.
It couldn't have been a better day for college football Saturday afternoon. The 12th-ranked Huskies (3-0 overall, 1-0 PSAC East) handed out some payback to the 21st-ranked Golden Bears (1-2, 0-1) from last season while earning a momentum-building victory in the process.
Bloomsburg's conference-leading rushing offense put together its third straight 300-yard performance with 309 yards on 56 carries. Heading the Husky charge was junior running back Franklyn Quiteh (Tobyhanna/Pocono Mountain West). He rushed for 152 yards, moving him into third on the BU all-time rushing list with 3,710. Quiteh eclipsed Mike Morrucci's mark set of 3,586 in 1979 on his fourth carry of the game.
Quiteh had a game-high three touchdowns on the day including a 65-yard catch in the second quarter. The Tobyhanna native led the team with career-high 75 receiving yards, 65 of which came on a screen pass down the sideline that he stretched for a touchdown in the second quarter. The last time he led BU in rushing and receiving was against West Chester last season.
Kutztown entered the game with the top scoring and passing offense in the conference, but were held to below-average figures. Bloomsburg's defense limited Kutztown to its lowest scoring output of the season, and its 376 yards passing were also below-average for the Golden Bears.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Tim Kelly (Camp Hill/Cedar Cliff) played the best game of his career, and it couldn't have come at a better time. He threw for a career-high 246 yards on 16-for-28 passing and a pair of scores to give Bloomsburg a balanced offensive attack. He controlled the game by keeping the offense on the field and the opposing defense on its heels. Kelly has not thrown an interception this season.
The Huskies had a pair of senior receivers turn in season-high performances. Kyle Fisher (Denver/Cocalico) was Kelly's top target in the passing game. He brought in six passes for 71 yards. Ryan Dickerson (Harleysville/Souderton) was also highly-involved in the offense and special teams. He had four catches for 65 yards.
Kutztown senior quarterback Kevin Morton marched his troops down the field on the opening drive, capped off with a six-yard touchdown run to take the early lead. It was the first score the Bloomsburg defense allowed to an opposing offense in the first half this season.
Bloomsburg's following possession was highlighted by a significant factor that would plague both teams throughout the game. The Huskies had their first drive end off a lost fumble, one of five lost and seven total for the game. However, the defense picked up the offense with three forced fumbles and two interceptions on the day.
Senior linebacker Jarrett Pidgeon (Barnegat, NJ/Southern Regional) tallied his second straight double-digit tackle game with 13. Pidgeon also played a key factor in the secondary. He deflected a Morton pass in the opening quarter which fellow linebacker Sean Clift (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic) picked off to set up Bloomsburg's first score.
Eddie Mateo (Bethlehem/Freedom) rushed ten yards up the middle to tie the game at seven after a quarter of play. The junior finished with 85 yards on 19 carries.
The first half featured five lead changes with each team responding with a touchdown after seeing its opponent find pay dirt. Bloomsburg gained its first lead early in the second quarter with an 18-yard, Kelly-to-Ryan Maggs (Beech Creek/Central Mountain) connection. The extra point was missed though to hinder the BU lead to six.
Junior Dan Fisher (Liverpool/Central Dauphin) gave Bloomsburg a 23-21 lead with a 42-yard kick in the final seconds. It was his only field goal of the game.
Morton finished the day with 182 passing yards, but left the game early in the third quarter with an apparent shoulder injury.
Quiteh extended the Husky lead to 30-21 with a two-yard run on their opening second-half possession. Bloomsburg succeeded in keeping Kutztown's high-powered offense off the field and held the ball for 33 minutes, 40 seconds.
After Kutztown brought it to within two with a Josh Luckenbaugh pass to Kodi Reed, Dan Fisher (Liverpool/Central Dauphin) and the BU defense stepped up to put the Golden Bears in a tough situation. Fisher booted a 62-yard punt that was downed at the four-yardline by Eric Thomas (Reading/Muhlenberg) late in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Tony David (Allentown/Salisbury) stayed active on the defensive line to pick up a KU fumble in the endzone for a BU touchdown.
Despite a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter, Bloomsburg nearly let Kutztown fight its way back. BU fumbled on two of its final three possessions, including one at KU's one-yardline. KU turned the first fumble into a field goal to bring the game to 44-37, but was stopped on its potential game-tying drive on a Terrell Oglesby (Philadelphia/Northeast Catholic) interception.
Along with Pidgeon, senior Dan Haverstock (York/West York) and sophomore Justin Shirk (Harrisburg/Central Dauphin) helped lead the Bloomsburg defense with nine tackles apiece. Larry Webster (Hagerstown, MD/Elkton) had a game-high 1.5 sacks and leads the Huskies this season with four.
Curtis Wortham was Kutztown's top rusher with 102 yards on the ground. It had two 100-yard receivers with Reed and Shahaid Smith bringing in 119 and 113 yards, respectively. Reed finished with two touchdowns.
Defensively, Greg Carroll had a game-high 17 tackles in his first start of the season. Zach Greenwald had an excellent all-around game. He pitched in 10 tackles, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Tyrone Brown and Kali Smith each had eight tackles for the Golden Bears.
Next week, Bloomsburg jumps back on the road for its annual meeting with LIU Post (2-0, 1-0) beginning at 1 p.m. BU dropped a 24-21 decision to the Pioneers last season in the snow at Redman Stadium. Kutztown returns home to face West Chester.