The Millersville Marauders put together their best offensive performance of the season on Saturday, but it proved to be too little as they fell to West Chester University 41-10.
Millersville donned a new look offensively as sophomore Jamal Smith made the move from starting quarterback to wide receiver and Brad Lantz switched from receiver to running back, the position he held a year ago.
Bill Shirk made his second career start at quarterback, and threw for more yards on the day than the Marauders had accumulated in their first three games of the season.
Shirk finished the day 18-31 for 243 yards with a touchdown and one interception.
Smith reeled in six catches for 131 yards and scored Millersville’s lone touchdown in his first collegiate start at wide receiver. Lantz led the Marauders’ rushing attack with 62-yards on the ground on 16 carries en route to the team’s 13th consecutive game with at least 100 yards rushing.
“We’re definitely going to stick with the new look on offense,” Senior offensive tackle Adam Cobb said. “It opens up the passing game because Jamal is such a good playmaker when he’s in open space.”
Despite their improved offense Millersville was unable to get the ball into the endzone until the fourth quarter when the game was all but out of reach.
West Chester was led by running back D’Andre Webb who stole the show racking up 308 yards on 17 carries for a whopping average of 10.8 yards a carry, to go with four touchdowns.
Webb’s performance set the West Chester school record for most rushing yards in a single game, as well setting the mark for most individual rushing yards in a Division 2 football game this season.
The Golden Rams pounced on the Marauders early and never looked back.
On their second play from scrimmage West Chester quarterback Joe Wright completed a pass to receiver Steve Miller for 44-yards to set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Webb.
Millersville would threaten shortly thereafter when Junior Julius Carter recovered a fumble at the West Chester 35 yard line.
The Marauders took over and drove to the Golden Rams’ 9-yard line before a Bill Shirk pass was intercepted, ending a Marauder scoring threat. West Chester eventually capitalized on the momentum shift as Webb scored on a 33-yard run to give the Golden Rams a 14-0 and the end of the first quarter.
Millersville was unable to cut into the lead in the second quarter. Kicker John Banzhof missed a 45-yard attempt early on, and West Chester took advantage with at 70-yard scamper by Webb to the Marauder’s 2-yard line.
Webb plunged into the endzone on the ensuing play for his third score of the day to give the Rams a 21-0 lead.
The Marauders put together a long drive at the end of the quarter, but eventually had to settle for a Banzhof 27-yard field goal to enter the half behind by a score of 21-3.
The Rams dominated the second half scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter putting the game well out of the Marauders’ reach.
Millersville tacked on their only touchdown of the day with an 80-yard pass from Shirk to Smith with 2:30 left in the game.
The Marauders will pay a visit to Shippensburg this weekend with most of their more difficult games on the schedule behind them.
Millersville although disappointed with their start is looking forward to the rest of their games as they approach the half-way point of the season.
“I mean obviously we’re not feeling too high on ourselves, but we still have confidence and we’ve been practicing well and practicing hard.” Cobb said.
“We have a team 24-hour rule. Once the 24 hours from the last game have passed we start looking ahead to the next game, no exceptions.”
With an 0-4 start becoming a distant memory, the Marauders will continue their quest for their first victory in the Greg Colby era.
With a revamped offensive game plan and an improving defense Millersville seems poised for better results.