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Defense falters in Marauders’ loss to the Rock

Brenden Curry
Staff Writer

Millersville lost to 25th ranked and defending PSAC West champion Slippery Rock by a score of 46-17 on Saturday night. The Marauders now fall to 0-3 in the season while Slippery Rock moved up to 3-0 to remain undefeated.

“I was happy with the effort of our team,” Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach said. “I thought that our guys were more resilient this week and I thought their effort and energy was there.”

Outside linebacker T.J. Richardson was a bright spot for the Marauders, returning his interception 52 yards.
Outside linebacker T.J. Richardson was a bright spot for the Marauders, returning his interception 52 yards.

The Marauder defense forced Slippery Rock to a three and out on The Rock’s opening drive. Millersville jumped to an early 7-0 lead from a drive that began on the Slippery Rock 33 yard line. Quarterback Matt Misley threw a 28-yard pass to wide receiver David Coates for the Marauders’ first touchdown.

“We got off to a fast start and we held serve with a pretty good football team,” Breitbach said. “We played an aggressive style and we were competitive throughout the majority of the game.”

Slippery Rock quickly responded a few minutes later. Quarterback Zach Newsock completed a six-yard pass to Julian Harrell with the extra point from Mike Wainauskis to tie the game at seven. Nearly two minutes later, Millersville kicker Evan Stahl made a 47-yard field goal to give Millersville a 10-7 lead.

Slippery Rock regained the lead with a five play, 63-yard drive. Running back Shamar Greene rushed for 31 yards on this drive and scored that gave The Rock a 14-10 lead.
Slippery Rock extended its lead to 21-10 from a 4-yard touchdown run from Teddy Blakeman. Misley then threw an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Kevin Wiggins, which would be Millersville’s final touchdown of the game.

Going into the second quarter, Slippery Rock managed get a field goal for their first drive that featured two incomplete passes made by Newsock. Slippery Rock extended their lead to 24-17 from a 36-yard Wainauskis field-goal attempt.

Runningback Evander Barkley caught two passes for 22 yards.
Runningback Evander Barkley caught two passes for 22 yards.

A high snap at the 32-yard line that was illegally kicked out of bounds by Millersville punter Evan Stahl extended Slippery Rock’s lead 26-17 due to a safety. Near the end of the half, Zach Newsock connected with wide receiver Melvin German for 27-yard touchdown pass to give Slippery Rock a 33-17 halftime lead.

Millersville was able to force turnovers in the second half. In the third quarter, TJ Richardson returned an interception for 52 yards. Early in the fourth, punt returner Brandon Akins fumbled the ball at the Rock 42 where Marauder defenders Matt Brinser and Trey Pinkney forced the fumble. Brinser recovered the ball for the Marauders.

“I am proud of the resilience of our defense playing with those good players and still creating those turnovers in the second half,” Breitbach said. “We have to do a better job of cashing in those opportunities when we get those opportunities.”

Slippery Rock running back Shamar Greene ran 106 rushing yards in the first half. His explosiveness continued into the second half where he ran 36 yards to extend The Rock’s lead to 39-17. He then rushed for 70 yards in the fourth quarter. Out of the 70 yards he rushed, his 22-yard run was The Rock’s final touchdown.

Matt Misley’s 217 yards in the air and 66 on the ground were not enough for the Marauders.
Matt Misley’s 217 yards in the air and 66 on the ground were not enough for the Marauders.

“Their running back [Greene] is an unbelievable, talented kid,” Breitbach commented on Shamar Greene. “He’s hard to tackle and our guys were in the right places at times and he was able to break the tackles. Give him credit.”

Despite their loss to Slippery Rock, Millersville was able to play disciplined football by only committing seven penalties compared to Slippery Rock’s 13 penalties.

“We continued to do some of the things we wanted to do to eliminate penalties and turnovers.” Breitbach said.

Millersville will play their first road game of the season against West Chester next Saturday at 6 p.m. in West Chester. The Golden Rams are currently ranked 10th in Division II as of Saturday, Sept. 20.

“Our team played with a lot of confidence during the course of the day,” Breitbach said. “I’m proud of the way we prepared and the way we went out there with confidence and try to play a pretty good team. We just have to go compete and go beat West Chester next week.”