Story and photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University scored touchdowns on its first four offensive possessions Saturday afternoon and cruised home from there with a 35-7 victory over visiting Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division football action at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
The win was SRU's fourth consecutive this fall and improved the Green and White's season records to 6-4 overall, 5-2 in PSAC-West action.
The victory also assured SRU of a fourth consecutive winning season.
The Rock, who finished their PSAC-West schedule tied with California (Pa.) for third place behind co-champions Indiana (Pa.) and Mercyhurst, close out their 2012 season next Saturday with a 1 p.m. home game vs. Bloomsburg (9-1).
The loss was the NCAA Division II-record 52nd consecutive suffered by Lock Haven, which also has the longest current losing streak in college football.
SRU has now beaten Lock Haven in 24 consecutive meetings and 31 of the last 32 since 1980.
All the scoring in Saturday's game came in the opening two quarters of action.
Junior quarterback Nigel Barksdale completed 14 of 28 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 45 yards on 11 carries, including a four-yard TD run, to lead a 424-yard Rock offensive attack.
Barksdale, who was intercepted twice in the game, also caught a throwback pass from junior wide receiver Bobby Joyce for a three-yard gain.
The Rock rushed for 229 yards and passed for 195 yards in the game.
Lock Haven, meanwhile, collected 218 total yards, 155 of which came on pass plays.
Barksdale threw touchdown passes on each of The Rock's first four offensive possessions with four different receivers on the receiving end of the tosses.
All told, nine Rock players had at least one pass reception in the game. Junior slotback LaQuinn Stephens-Howling led the way with four catches for 33 yards.
Redshirt freshman Brett Crenshaw rushed for a team-high 73 yards on 10 carries and senior Akeem Satterfield added 55 yards on six carries.
Defensively, senior nose tackle Jack Charles had a team-best 10 tackles for SRU, while junior linebackers Gary Allen and Bob Westerlund each recorded nine tackles.
The first two Rock touchdown drives came after SRU's defense had forced a turnover.
Freshman Jaimire Dutrieuille caught a 16-yard TD pass from Barksdale on SRU's first drive, which was set up by senior defensive end Jeff Thompson's fumble recovery at the Lock Haven 37-yard line. The Barksdale-to-Dutrieuille TD toss came on the fourth play of the ensuing drive.
The Rock offense was back on the field three plays later after freshman cornerback Derek Morgan picked off a pass by Lock Haven quarterback Jarrett Kratzer at The Rock 24 and returned it 46 yards to the Bald Eagles' 30. Four plays later, Barksdale connected with Joyce for a 23-yard TD on a fourth-and-three play that gave SRU a 14-0 lead with 10:45 left in the first quarter.
The Rock defense forced Lock Haven into a three-and-out series on the ensuing drive to force a punt into the wind that gave SRU's offense the ball at the Bald Eagles' 47. Ten plays later, Barkdale and redshirt sophomore wideout Ken Amos hooked up for a 23-yard TD that converted a third-and-15 play into six points. The score gave SRU a 21-0 lead with 6:35 still remaining in the first quarter of action.
The Rock got the ball right back when, on the ensuing kickoff, senior Brian Shaw connected with the ball just even as it blew off the tee on his approach to push it 10 yards for what turned out to be an onside kick.
Given possession at their own 35-yard line, The Rock went for the home run on the next play and came up with six points as junior wide receiver John Schademan (pictured above) outran a defender and hauled in a 65-yard TD toss from Barksdale.
Senior Kurt Brackman added the fourth of his five extra points following the Barksdale-to-Schademan bomb to give The Rock a 28-0 lead with 6:25 left in the opening period.
Lock Haven ruined The Rock's bid for a shutout with an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive midway through the second period, capped off by a 19-yard TD toss from Kratzer to Frankie Probst, to make it a 28-7 game with seven minutes left before halftime.
The Rock came right back with a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive on the next series to push the margin to 35-7 with 4:37 left before the intermission. Barksdale capped that drive with a four-yard TD run and Brackman tacked on the extra point.