In hopes of recovering from their last loss to the West Chester Rams, the Marauders had quite the hill to climb against Shippensburg, who has the number one offense in Division II football. Without hesitation, the Raiders lived up to their dangerous reputation, surmounting Millersville’s offense by a score of 61-6. Shippensburg seemingly moved the ball at will up and down the field, totaling 530 yards of offense. The Marauders struggled to answer, totaling for only 111 yards of offense.
With their win, the Raiders have now won eight straight games dating back to the 2011 season, while the loss gives Millersville its third in a row. The Marauders have failed to live up to their high expectations after defeating West Virginia Wesleyan, scoring 41 points. In their last three games, they have managed just two offensive touchdowns. Unfortunately, Millersville’s defense did not seem up to par. Against the best passing offense in the nation in Division II, the Marauders rushing defense was what appeared to be their downfall.
Shippensburg rushed for 304 total yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Mike Frenette ran all over the Marauders for 190 yards, scoring two touchdowns on just 13 carries. He was able to average 14.6 yards per carry. Raiders quarterback Zach Zulli completed 17 of 28 passes for 222 yards, and four touchdowns. On the other hand, Millersville totaled 44 rushing yards on 45 carries. Shippensburg’s run defense was a metaphorical wall, which the Marauders were unable to overcome.
Starting quarterback Ted Stachitas played in only two series before leaving the game with an injury. Running back Myron Myles also left the game with an injury after only one carry. Sean Quarterman was given the title of starting quarterback for the remainder of the game. He led the team in rushing with 33 yards, but was just 6 of 21 passing for 62 yards, and was sacked four times.
At the start of the game, the Raiders only needed one offensive play to put points on the board. After a 72 yard kick return from Mike Frenette, Zulli connected with Jacob Baskerville for a touchdown; their first of many. After an uneventful Millersville offensive possession, senior punter Jeff Lawson broke a 33-year-old record for the longest punt in school history. From their own 19 yard line, he kicked the ball into the opposing endzone, making it an 81-yard punt.
In response to the iconic kick, Shippensburg managed to fly down the field on a five-play, 80-yard drive, which took only 1:55 off the clock. The drive ended with Frenette escaping for a 54-yard touchdown run. In spite of a lackluster performance, the Marauders shined vicariously through redshirt sophomore David Coates, whose returning skills have not been diminished. While Millersville trailed 17-0, Coates returned the kickoff 65 yards to the opposing 23 yard line. They failed to capitalize on the field position, however, moving the ball nine yards before redshirt junior kicker Anthony Kassab put the ball through the uprights on a 37-yard field goal.
Later in the second quarter, Kassab added three more points, ending the Marauder’s scores. Going into the second half, the Raiders lead 41-6. Any hopes for a second-half comeback ended after Shippensburg scored another 20 points. Senior cornerback Lou Brown did, however, intercept Zulli, who had thrown only one interception in his first three games. Defensive end Reggie Slaton added another two tackles for losses to his team-best 7.5 this season.
The team’s troubles may overflow into next week when they face yet another nationally ranked Division II team, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Some defensive improvements seem to be necessary if the Marauders hope to reclaim their season. Their future still holds potential with numerous players possessing the talents to make a much-needed comeback.