Story and photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – LaQuinn Stephens-Howling caught a 25- yard touchdown pass from Nigel Barksdale on the first series of overtime Saturday to account for the winning points in Slippery Rock University's 38-31 victory over visiting Edinboro University in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division football action at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
The Rock defense then held Edinboro out of the end zone on four plays to close out the win, SRU's second in as many weeks and fourth in eight games this fall.
The Rock are now 4-4 overall, 3-2 against PSAC-West rivals this fall and, with Saturday's win, own a 21-4 record in SRU Homecoming games under head coach George Mihalik.
Edinboro, which lost for the second consecutive week, saw its season records fall to 3-4 overall, 2-3 against division rivals.
The game-winning play was the second TD connection of the game between Barksdale, a junior quarterback from San Jacinto, Calif., and Stephens-Howling, a junior slot receiver from Johnstown. They hooked up for a 42-yard score on the opening series of the game.
The two TD catches were the only receptions Stephens-Howling had in the game.
Barksdale (pictured) also threw a two-yard TD pass to senior tight end Josh Gardner in the second quarter en route to a 15-of-30, 239-yard passing effort. He was intercepted three times.
Barksdale also rushed for a team-high 96 yards on 30 carries, including a four-yard TD late in the third quarter that gave SRU a short-lived 24-17 lead.
Redshirt sophomore wideout Ken Amos caught four passes for 76 yards to lead The Rock receiving effort.
Redshirt freshman running back Brett Crenshaw ran for a three-yard TD and senior kicking specialist Kurt Brackman was 3-for-4 on extra-point tries and booted a 28-yard field goal to complete The Rock's scoring effort.
Defensively, The Rock held Edinboro to 30 rushing yards on 45 carries and sacked All-PSAC-West quarterback Cody Harris nine times for minus-65 yards.
Harris shook off the sacks to throw for 379 yards and one TD. He also ran for two second-half TDs.
Preseason All-America senior defensive end Jeff Thompson recorded three sacks and 11 tackles to lead The Rock's defensive effort. Junior nose tackle Tony Papley recorded a game-high 12 tackles and 1.5 QB sacks, while senior defensive end Kevin Kulka also recorded 11 tackles, a career-high total.
As a team, The Rock outgained Edinboro by a 430-409 margin behind a balanced attack that saw the hosts rush for 191 yards and pass for 239.
The Rock play their final road game of the season next Saturday at PSAC-West-leading and nationally-ranked California (Pa.). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.