“It’s a step in the right direction and it was nice to see us play team football,” Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach said. “All three phases contributed and it’s a steppingstone to the next week and we would like to finish up on a high note at Edinboro.”
The win against Cheyney validated what the team is trying to do as a program, but Breitbach mentioned how the team still needs to improve so they can earn more validation and wins.
Cheyney has sustained a losing record in the PSAC. Since 1990, Cheyney is 3-153 in PSAC play with their overall record being 14-243-1. Since 1999, Cheyney has only one conference victory and it came against Millersville in 2010.
Coach Breitbach didn’t allow Cheyney’s losing patterns affect Saturday’s game plan. He mainly focused on what his team was going to do offensively, defensively and on special teams this week. He wanted to execute the energy in their systems and encourage them play the best to their abilities. He strongly believes that all three aspects of the game were instrumental and important in the win against Cheyney.
“Whether you’re playing a ranked team or a team that has Cheyney’s history at any given Saturday, anybody can win,” Breitbach said. “It’s about doing your preparation the right way and our process this week was to keep the focus on us.”
Millersville held a 6-0 lead from two field goals made by kicker Evan Stahl. Cheyney tied the game at 6-6 with a 6-yard touchdown run by Rolando Ransom. The momentum swung back to Millersville when running back David Coates scored on an 85-yard kickoff return. With the help from his teammates executing their blocks, Coates was able to run up the middle of the field to score.
“It was a return that we knew would be there and our players were prepared for it,” Breitbach said. “The way they covered the kick made us knew we had a chance to have a good return or a touchdown.”
Coates also set an NCAA Division II record for kick returns with 134 and surpassed 3,000 career return yards, unaware to most, according to Coach Breitbach.
“Individual awards are nice for the players, but they’re not something that we focus on. We are just trying to play the game,” Breitbach said. “Good things happen when you put a bunch of people together and they don’t care who gets the credit. It’s what we need to have.”
After a P.J. Santos interception from the Cheyney 15, the Marauders were able to score with less than two minutes in the first half. Redshirt senior Mike Reichenbach caught his third career touchdown to cap the hurry-up offense-fueled drive. He scored from a 7-yard pass thrown by Matt Misley. His touchdown sealed a 17-point second quarter for the Marauders.
Cheyney scored early in the 3rd quarter to get within 8 from a seven play drive that ended with a 1-yard score from Khalil Rodgers. However, the Marauders would seal the deal in the fourth quarter with scores coming from both the offense and defense.
In the fourth quarter, the Marauders began a drive that had 17 plays that totaled for 95 yards at their own five yard line. The Marauder offense went on to eat nine minutes of clock on that drive. Running back Myron Miles who had 10 carries on that drive capped it off with a 14-yard touchdown run. The Marauders could not have pulled off the nine minute 95-yard touchdown drive without the upfront blocking of left guard Austin Neider and center Lenny Sanelli.
Defensive lineman Neil Moloney scored late in the fourth quarter by recovering a Cheyney fumble. The fumble committed by Cheyney quarterback Dominick Trautz was forced by Aaron Walker and Moloney returned the fumble for 17 yards to seal the victory.
The Millersville offense shined by totaling to 375 yards which was their second best yard total in 2014. Quarterback Matt Misley’s return from a severe thumb-sprain injury resulted him finishing 24-34 in pass attempts with 277 passing yards and 71 rushing. Breitbach stated that Misley was a shot in the arm for the Marauders.
Myles’s 17 carries would lead him to leading the team in rushing with 74 rushing yards. Freshmen Kevin Wiggins and Malont’a Patterson also contributed to the offense’s triumphs. Wiggins managed to obtain a career high in catches with nine while Patterson caught six passes that totaled 79 yards.
Defensively, Millersville cornerback Joey Pham’s eight pass breakups made him one away from reaching the Division II record for that category. Four Marauder defenders, Matt Brinser, Sean Dugan, Aaron Walker and Sene Polamalu, cousin of Troy Polamalu partook in a sack.
Senior captain and inside linebacker Reggie Slaton played the game with intensity and effort. His pursuit and effort led to him to end the day with eight tackles.
The Marauders will close to 2014 season on the road against the Fighting Scots of Edinboro University on Nov. 15. The Fighting Scots may be currently 2-8 in the season however they’ve played closely with teams in both East and West divisions of the PSAC.
“They are a typical strong, big PSAC team,” said Breitbach of Edinboro. “They have veteran players and they’re going to be a challenge at their place.”
Breitbach likes the direction the team is heading and has seen some maturity in his younger players. He also truly believes that his senior players are going to be excited to play their final game.
“I expect us to play hard and well and we’ll take it play-by-play and quarter by quarter,” he said. “We will try to do our jobs and the outcome will take care of itself.”