Wiggins and Shank lead Marauders to first win of season

Kevin Wiggins' receiving touchdown with 30 seconds remaining in the game, helped the Marauders secure their first win in the 2017 season.

Brenden Curry
Staff Writer

Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach saw their matchup against Seton Hill as a “new one-game season.” His approach worked Saturday afternoon.

The Millersville Marauders defeated the Seton Hill Griffins, 45-38 on Saturday afternoon. Breitbach stated that this win was the result of a “really great team effort.”

“You take him where you find them,” Breitbach commented on winning their first game on the road. “We got to beat the teams we play one week at time, whether it’s at home or on the road.”

The win against Seton Hill was Millersville’s first road victory over a PSAC West opponent, where they snapped a 16-game losing streak that has lasted since the 2005 season.

“This win definitely means a lot,” wide receiver Kevin Wiggins said. “It was important for us to get this win this week and go 1-0 in the PSAC.

After scoring a rushing touchdown in the first quarter, Collin “Bear” Shank was able to find Dylan Niedbalski for a nine-yard score to take a 21-14 lead. However, Seton Hill would score the next two times.

Millersville would then tie the Griffins with a passing play from Shank to Wiggins. This 44- yard drive would tie the game at 21-21. Down 24-21 entering the third quarter, Millersville kicker Joey Farley made a 30-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24.

Then the back-and–forth momentum swaying commenced.

After Seton Hill took a 31-24 lead, running back Phil Overton scored a 27-yard reception from Shank. While Seton Hill’s Micheal Elardo gave the lead back to the Griffins late in the third quarter.

Down 38-31 in the third quarter, Marauder Tanner Dean made an interception that swung the momentum. The crucial turnover came when Seton Hill was driving inside Millersville territory to increase their lead. Breitbach stated that it was neat to see Tanner Dean make an interception on Saturday. Especially for a player who has prepared extensively for their victory by watching countless hours of film. He truly believed that Dean knew what was coming at him in that situation defensively.

“I think a large part of that came from his preparation,” Breitbach commented on Dean’s critical interception. “He was in the right place at the right time and found a way to make a play for his team.”

Shank’s one yard run late in the fourth quarter would tie the game at 38-38. He led the Marauders to a 67-yard drive that lasted 14 plays.

Millersville would then snap the tie with :30 left in the game. Before the game-winning play, Breitbach called a timeout to settle down and ready his players to convert the deciding play.

“He put us in great position all day so it was just up to us to execute,” Wiggins said.

From the Seton Hill 33, Wiggins was lined up on the backside one-on-one with the Griffin defender. He saw the Griffin defense coming with an all-out blitz. He told Bear (Shank) that he was running a slant when he saw how widely open the middle of the field was. With that open field, Wiggins broke a tackle and pranced into the end-zone to give Millersville the lead and the victory.

Wiggins stated that once he caught the ball, he felt the defender’s arms wrapped around his arms. In that scenario, he kept driving his legs up high.  Which was the way the coaching staff preached to him and his teammates about breaking tackles.

“Once I felt I was free, I took off straight for the end zone,” Wiggins recalled.

Wiggins also stated that him and the offense was prepared because they have practiced the two-minute drill every week. Ultimately, he was just thinking to do his job because he didn’t want to let his other ten brothers on the field with him and the team as a whole down.

“It was definitely an exciting moment for not only myself, but my brothers to get a huge win on the road like that against a quality opponent from the PSAC West,” Wiggins said.

After Wiggins’s elusive touchdown, Seton Hill did get the ball back to try to send the game into overtime. However, redshirt freshman Colin Suhr caught a game-ending interception to seal the deal for the Marauders.

“Our defense played extremely well in crunch time when we needed it and gave us that opportunity to win the game,” Wiggins said.

Breitbach stated that Seton Hill put a lot of stress on his defense, especially when facing the number one quarterback in passing last season.

“They stressed us on the back end in their passing game,” Breitbach commented on opposing quarterback Christian Strong.

Shank would finish the game making 28-of-52 passes for a total of 424 yards. He contributed to six touchdowns, with two of them rushing.

“Bear (Shank) has done a great job of playing within the system,” Breitbach commented on his quarterback. “He’s done an outstanding job of managing the offense and the game itself. But also willing to being himself and taking shots down the field and make some plays that he’s capable of making.”

The Marauder offense finished with 540 yards of total offense. Its field general, Shank also had a milestone day. His 424 passing yards is the first time a Millersville quarterback reached the 400 mark since Bill Shirk’s 423 in 2010. He was also 34 yards short of Drew Folmar’s 1999 single-game passing yard record (458).

“You cannot just key in on one person,” Wiggins said. “As a unit, we can hurt you in different ways. We have a lot of weapons on this offense.”

Clearly, Wiggins was correct. Breitbach also mentioned that his tight ends made critical, difficult catches to give the Marauder offense first downs.

“That’s what it takes to win a close game like that,” Breitbach said.

But most of all, Coach Breitbach and Wiggins gave credit to the offensive line, who gave the running backs the holes needed. Out of Collin “Bear” Shank’s 52 pass attempts, he was sacked once, which allowed extra time for Shank to find Wiggins and other open receivers from the pocket.

Breitbach also stated that the offensive line played their best game as a unit since he’s been there.

“It just goes to show our offensive line played a great game,” Wiggins said.

Meanwhile on the defensive side, Sean Dugan led their defensive effort with a career high of 21 tackles, which Breitbach stated as an “unbelievable amount” in a single college football game of any level.

He also stated that Dugan is a very aggressive player, who plays with his heart on his sleeve. He is glad he’s on his team because he sees Dugan as a great asset.

“He has a motor that just won’t quit,” Breitbach commented on Dugan, who also celebrated a birthday on Saturday.  “He is prepared and understands what the other team is trying to do to us and gets his nose onto the football.”

The Marauders will host the California Vulcans next Saturday at noon to open their home portion of their schedule. The Vulcans will be coming into Millersville ranked sixth in Division II.

For Wiggins, it feels great to play in front of the Millersville community for the first time all season. He stated that the team wants to show the home crowd how good they are this year.

“Getting a win on our home field is very important for us,” Wiggins said. “We want to defend our home turf, so we have to start by going 1-0 this week.”

Like Coach Breitbach, Wiggins and his teammates are taking the “one game season” approach. To him, it means that by handling their business for just that week, everything else will work itself out when they get to it.

“We got to play really good, clean football to be able to win the football game against them at our place,” Breitbach emphasized. “Again, we feel it’s more about us than it is about Cal.”