Courtesy of East Stroudsburg Athletics
PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. â€“ Redshirt senior quarterback Matt Marshall threw for 337 yards and a career-high five touchdowns, hitting five different receivers, and the defense forced five turnovers and had nine sacks as East Stroudsburg University opened the 2010 season with a 57-0 win at Pace University on Saturday afternoon.
The shutout is ESUâ€™s fifth in a season opener under head coach Denny Douds, and the 57 points are the third-most in the first game of the year in 83 seasons of varsity football.
Marshall had the sixth 300-yard passing game of his career, but the Warriors didnâ€™t break the game open until late in the second quarter when they scored two touchdowns in the final minute.
A safety on a bad snap on a punt was the only scoring of the first quarter, freshman kicker Taylor Groff hit a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter for a 5-0 lead and sophomore tailback Eric Deery scored on a two-yard run for the Warriorsâ€™ first touchdown with just over five minutes left in the half.
ESU went into intermission with a 26-0 lead after Marshallâ€™s first two TD passes. The senior quarterback cashed in on a nine play, 70-yard drive with an eight-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Bryan Ogden with 52 seconds left in the half, and again with a 26-yard scoring toss to redshirt senior wide receiver Ed Kiser with 10 seconds to play after a sack and forced fumble by redshirt junior defensive tackle Cody Berry.
The Warriors scored on their first drive of the second half, capitalizing on a short field after a four-yard punt with redshirt senior wide receiver Jeff Giglio catching a nine-yard TD pass from Marshall.
The score remained 33-0 going into the fourth quarter when ESU hit paydirt on consecutive offensive plays in a span of 25 seconds. Redshirt freshman tailback Joe Klebon went 68 yards for a TD on a screen pass, junior defensive end Brett Moss forced a fumble that was recovered by redshirt senior outside linebacker Matt Freed, and Marshall hit freshman tailback Dusty Reed with a 44-yard pass down the seam for a 47-0 lead with 12:18 remaining.
Senior defensive end Richard Peter, a two-year letterwinner for the Warriors after playing his freshman year at Pace, scored the gameâ€™s final touchdown on a 20-yard fumble return after a sack by freshman linebacker Don Kinney, Jr. Groffâ€™s 33-yard field goal with 1:04 to play completed the scoring.
ESU had exactly 500 yards of total offense, 380 passing and 120 rushing, and held Pace to 155 yards on 69 plays. The Warriors outgained the Setters 168-1 in the second quarter and 207-20 in the fourth quarter while scoring 24 points in both periods.
Eight players accounted for the Warriorsâ€™ nine sacks for a defense that was in the top 25 in the country with 2.75 sacks per game last season. Berry and senior linebacker Kevin Schafer both had solo sacks and assisted on another.
ESU also had eight players contribute to five turnovers. Junior linebacker Mike Bergey had a first-quarter interception, redshirt junior linebacker Bryan Billger and redshirt freshman wide receiver Robert Bleiler teamed up on a punt return fumble in the second quarter and Berry had his sack, forced fumble and recovery late in the first half. Moss stripped quarterback Joe Romanick and Freed recovered in the third quarter and Peterâ€™s return for a TD after Kinneyâ€™s sack completed the turnover story in the fourth.
A total of 17 players contributed to a PSAC-best 33 turnovers last season, and ESU was 11th in Division II in the turnover department.
The Warriors also committed five turnovers and lost four fumbles. Three of the fumbles came in the first quarter, two inside the 10-yard line, to keep the offense off the board before Groff scored his first career points on a field goal following the Settersâ€™ special teams miscue on a punt return.
The freshman kicker was 7-for-7 on extra points and 2-for-3 on field goals in his collegiate debut, missing only on a 43-yard attempt after the Warriors didnâ€™t get the hold down.
Deery (16 carries, 63 yards), Klebon and Reed all scored their first career touchdowns, with Klebon and Reed catching TD passes in their first career action. ESU ran for a 4.3-yard average, with 120 yards on 28 carries, and didnâ€™t allow a sack.
Redshirt junior quarterback Ray Wagner was 3-for-4 for 43 yards in relief of Marshall, and the Warriorsâ€™ quarterbacks connected with 10 different receivers. Five players caught TD passes for the first time since week 10 vs. Bloomsburg in 2006.
Giglio (64 yards), Kiser (60 yards) and Bleiler (57 yards) all had five catches and Reed, Ogden and freshman fullback Darius Jackson caught two passes each. Klebon, redshirt sophomore wide receivers Jordan Hallman and Wade Williams and redshirt senior fullback Brent Jones also had receptions.
ESU hosts IUP in its home opener next Saturday at 6 p.m. in the first of four straight games against the preseason favorites in the PSAC.