After the heartbreaking loss to Bloomsburg, Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach stated that when you get into a close game, you got to find a way to win. Millersville saw themselves in another close game and did just that.
From that, the Marauders earned their second victory of the season. The Marauders won 12-0 against East Stroudsburg this past Thursday night.
“This was a great team win,” Breitbach said. “It takes 11 players on the field to make it work.”
The game was featured on Watch ESPN online livestream platform. Wide receiver Kevin Wiggins said that the telecast brings exposure to the program and university. Breitbach stated that winning with the Thursday night exposure was a good shot in the arm for the program and fun for his players.
“Any time that we can represent this University in this community and the right way, makes our players and coaches happy that we are able to do that,” Breitbach said.
This victory set many milestones for the Marauders. Millersville also ended a five-game losing streak to East Stroudsburg. The strong defensive play resulted in Millersville’s first shutout since 2012. It was also the fifth consecutive game where the Millersville defense made at least one turnover.
Offensively, wide receiver Kevin Wiggins prolonged his streak of 38 consecutive games with a catch, where he made six catches against the Warriors. Running back Tyrone Gibson who scored the only touchdown rushed for a career-high of 183 yards.
Breitbach stated that Tyrone Gibson did a great job of making defenders miss, hitting the holes, finishing runs, and holding onto the football.
Going into the game, Breitbach and his coaches talked to the offensive line about needing them to be physical, sustain blocks and control the game. The exceptional execution of the Millersville offensive line allowed Gibson to earn his career-high.
“Our run game was the product of all 11,” Breitbach said.
Millersville wide receiver Kevin Wiggins stated that the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball played a huge factor. Offensively, controlling the line of scrimmage allowed the Marauders to run the ball effectively.
“Our offensive line did a tremendous job all game being physical and dominating the line of scrimmage,” Wiggins said.
East Stroudsburg missed two field goals in the first quarter. Their first field goal attempt missed far left, capped a 67-yard drive that began on their own 7-yard line. On their next possession, the Warriors managed to get to the Marauder 17-yard line, but a low snap prevented three points.
A 17-yard run up the middle by running back Tyrone Gibson began the scoring for the Marauders.
Breitbach recalled that Millersville received the ball in the beginning of the second half. However, they couldn’t utilize that drive in the points. So, they turned to the special-teams where the punter, Tyler Reiman punted the ball to the Warrior 4-yard line.
East Stroudsburg was facing third-and-seven on its first drive of the second half. Outside linebacker Sean Dugan swooped in for Warrior quarterback Ben Moser in the end zone for a safety.
In Breitbach’s words, the defense rose to the occasion, where they produced points from Dugan’s sack. The punt by Reiman is an example of how Breitbach believed that the victory came due to all three phases of football played off each other. Breitbach also noted that four out of six of Reiman’s punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Millersville’s shutout was once again threated by a Warrior push to the red zone. Four straight plays stopped by the Marauder defense forced East Stroudsburg to attempt another field goal. Drew Seaburg made the block that preserved the shutout.
The game remained 9-0, until late in the fourth quarter. Kicker Joey Farley kicked a 41-yard field goal to give Marauders insurance in a close ballgame. Millersville’s Kendle Pitts secured the victory with an interception.
“As the weeks move on, our defense gets better and better,” Wiggins said.
Breitbach also pointed out that Millersville won the field position and turnover battles. Millersville also won the time of possession battle in the second half.
“It was a formula that allowed us to win a close game,” Breitbach said.
Stephen Flanagan got the call to start at quarterback after Tony Staffieri felt a recurrence of injuries. He completed 8 of 16 passes for 61 yards. He also rushed for 39 yards.
Wiggins stated that Flanagan stepped up to lead the offense to a winning position and for managing the game overall. Breitbach stated that the team took the ball out of the air and ran the ball frequently in the second half.
“He (Flanagan) played well enough for us to win and I’m very proud of him,” Breitbach commented.
He also stated that going into the game against East Stroudsburg, he and his coaching staff stressed on team discipline. Something that dampened their momentum late in the fourth quarter against Bloomsburg.
“Discipline is the deciding factor in close games,” Breitbach said. “We felt that our team stuck with its game plan defensively offensively and special-teams wise.
Breitbart and Wiggins stated that the win gave the team positive momentum as they head towards extra days of preparation for their upcoming games. They both see this time of recuperating as critical days to rest up and get people healthy on the second half of the schedule to win more games down the stretch.
“We have a tough road ahead of us and we’re going to need everyone for those games,” Wiggins said.
The Marauders will face the Lock Haven Bald Eagles this coming Saturday for Homecoming.
“I’m excited for our program and where were at right now,” Wiggins said.