Story and photo courtesy of Shippensburg Athletics
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. – The Shippensburg University football team scored a touchdown 18 seconds into Saturday afternoon’s PSAC Eastern Division clash with Millersville and never looked back, ultimately dispatching the Marauders by a 61-6 margin on a sunny Parents & Family Day before a large crowd from SU Student Association Field at Seth Grove Stadium.
Shippensburg (4-0, 2-0 PSAC East) has now won eight consecutive games dating back to last season – a winning streak that is the third-longest active in Division II behind perennial powers Grand Valley State and Pittsburg State. The Red Raiders have also scored 217 points through their first four games – 139 of which have come in the first half.
Senior captain and tailback Mike Frenette set a SU single-game record with 332 all-purpose yards on Saturday, breaking Bill Pettyjohn’s 22-year-old mark of 315 yards achieved in the final game of the 1990 season against Haven.
Frenette returned the opening kickoff 72 yards to the Millersville 23-yard line. One play after the opening kickoff, junior quarterback Zach Zulli threw a touchdown pass to senior Jacob Baskerville that gave the Red Raiders a lead they would not come close to relinquishing.
On SU’s second drive of the game, Frenette got a handoff on the fifth play of the sequence that he parlayed into a 54-yard touchdown run, putting the Red Raiders up 14-0 exactly three minutes into the contest.
Overall, Frenette needed just 13 carries to amass a career-high 190 rushing yards – the seventh-most in SU single-game history. On SU’s first offensive play of the second half, Frenette broke a 56-yard touchdown run for his second score of the day. In addition to his rushing totals and 103 kickoff return yards, Frenette caught three passes for 39 yards.
While the offense earned its acclaim for producing 530 total yards from scrimmage on just 77 plays (6.8 yards per play), the Red Raider defense stymied Millersville form the outset and never allowed the Marauders to find any offensive rhythm.
Millersville (1-3, 0-2 PSAC East) managed just 106 total yards on offense despite running 69 plays, an average of 1.5 yards per play. The Marauders ran the ball 45 times for a total of 44 yards, while quarterbacks Sean Quarterman and Ted Stachitas (injured in first quarter) combined to complete just 6-of-24 passes.
SU achieved an impressive 18 tackles for loss, including 4.5 by senior linebacker Cody Fleming. Overall, Fleming led all players with nine tackles – including seven solo. One of his tackles for loss was an 11-yard sack. Fleming continues to creep closer to SU’s career record for tackles for loss (51 – by head coach Mark ‘Mac’ Maciejewski ‘92/’96M), as he sits third all-time in school history with 44.5 overall.
Sophomore linebackers were among those trending for the Red Raiders on Saturday. Sean Sadosky impressed with a career-high eight tackles. Among his 1.5 tackles for loss was a six-yard sack. James Brennan had a nifty interception in the second quarter that set up an Alex Kuljian touchdown reception. Brian Sourber added six tackles.
The defensive line was stout once again. Junior Jake Metz added three more tackles for loss to his season ledger, including another sack. Fellow junior Dainen Green returned to the lineup and had a sack, while senior Saeed Khateeb continued his impressive work inside with two tackles for loss (including an 11-yard sack).
Four different members of the secondary had at least one pass breakup, while junior Avery Coleman led the unit with five total tackles.
While the Red Raider offense had thrived through the air in the first three games of the season, Saturday’s specialty was a ground game that compiled 304 yards from eight different ball carriers – an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Sophomore Blair Brooks reached the end zone just before halftime and backup quarterback Chris Lawshe capped the game’s scoring with 4:20 remaining on a 6-yard run to paydirt.
SU extended its winning streak over the Marauders to nine games. In the last two meetings, the Red Raiders have totaled 695 rushing yards.
Zulli played two-plus quarters in Saturday’s game before making way for Lawshe and finished the day 17-of-28 for 227 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Redshirt-freshman tight end Daniel Wheeler hauled in his first career reception for a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter while sophomore wide receiver Trevor Harman made the score 54-6 in the third quarter after a 23-yard touchdown throw from Zulli.
Sophomore Sheldon Mayer handled some of the punt return duties Saturday and finished with 83 yards off four runbacks, the most by a Red Raider in a game since Pat Ferguson (99) on Sept. 16, 2006. SU had 144 punt return yards for the entire 2011 season.
Shippensburg will hit the road next weekend for a non-conference crossover matchup with Lock Haven. Kickoff is at noon from Hubert Jack Stadium.