Millersville football can’t overcome unbearable second quarter

The Marauder defense surrendered 35 points in the second quarter of a 41-21 loss to Kutztown.

Brenden Curry
Staff Writer

Going into Saturday’s game against Kutztown, the Marauders felt that something good was going to come out of the match-up with the defending division champions. If you’re thinking of wins and losses, that’s not it.

Millersville lost to the defending PSAC champions Kutztown Golden Bears 41-21 on Saturday night. Contrary to what the scoreboard said, there were positives for the Marauders.

Millersville played more disciplined than Kutztown on Saturday. The Marauders had only five penalties for 47 yards while Kutztown had 11 for 124 yards.

The Millersville defense was able to hold on to some of their momentum from last Saturday’s loss against California in the first quarter against Kutztown.

They were able to hold junior tailback Craig Reynolds to 161 all-purpose yards on Saturday. Reynolds is the NCAA leader in the category going into the match-up, where his average is at 254.

“I definitely feel like we came out with the same fight, if not more,” Millersville wide receiver Kevin Wiggins said.

Third string quarterback Stephen Flanagan would make his first career start at quarterback since coming in as a backup against California last week. Tony Staffieri and Collin Shank didn’t play due to injuries.

“I thought he did an excellent job under circumstances of switching back to quarterback,” Wiggins said. “He has a great passion for the game and worked his tail off this week to put himself in a great position for our football team.”

Down 10-0, Flanagan found tight end Tyler Zilen in the second quarter the Marauders to get within three points of the defending PSAC East champions.

However, Kutztown would score four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter.

The Golden Bears would end the first half on a 53-yard punt return to the end zone by Craig Reynolds to give them a 38-7 lead at halftime.

Millersville was able to score on the first drive in the third quarter. Kobe Miranda capped off an eight-play drive for 85 yards, which began a 21-6 scoring spree for Millersville in the second half.

Kutztown would extend their lead to 41-14 with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Millersville wide receiver Xavier Jenkins was able to score his first collegiate touchdown in the fourth quarter. He caught a 29-yard pass from Flanagan that added points for Millersville. Jenkins’s touchdown would cap a 57-yard drive that lasted six plays.

Defensively, Millersville played with heart in the second half. Cornerback Brendan Sherman broke up three Kutztown passes. Defensive end Tommy Halloway was able to get a sack on the quarterback finished with a season-high of nine tackles.

As a unit, the Marauder defense held Kutztown to only 56 total offensive yards in the second half.

“I thought the defense did a phenomenal job,” Wiggins commented.

Flanagan would make 18 passes out of 26 attempts for 157 yards. He also finished with 33 rushing yards on Saturday. Millersville running back Tyrone Gibson also recorded 16 carries for 62 yards, a career-high.

However, the big story out of the 20-point defeat against Kutztown was Kevin Wiggins. Not only did he caught six passes for 56 yards, he became the sixth Marauder to reach 2,000 receiving yards.

Wiggins mentioned that the milestone has impacted him based on his off-season preparation. He also mentioned that when he was recruited by Millersville, Head Coach Greg Breitbach told him that he would be the next player to be added to that list. He also gives gratitude to the vast number of quarterbacks he has played with during his collegiate career.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Wiggins said humbly.

“It’s just truly and honor to receive and have something you’ll be able to look back on years from now,” Wiggins said.

Millersville will return home this week to continue PSAC East play when they face the Bloomsburg Huskies. The team is continuing to make positive strides as the seasons change. They continue to play consistently with passion for the game and determination to win.