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Bloomsburg Slips by Rival Shippensburg 38-30

Bloomsburg captured its' first win against PSAC-East rival Shippensburg since 2011, when they took down the Red Raiders by a score of 38-18. (Photo: John Catona)
Bloomsburg captured its’ first win against PSAC-East rival Shippensburg since 2011, when they took down the Red Raiders by a score of 38-18. (Photo: John Catona)

The Huskies used a litany of running backs to bolster a tough ground game, as Dai’Shon Munger and Eddie Mateo combined for 83 yards, while Mateo found the end zone three times. Redshirt sophomore receiver DJ McFadden had a breakout performance, catching four passes for 127 yards, with two deep balls that helped the Huskies build momentum. Catching Kelly’s lone touchdown pass was fellow receiver Connor Gades, who connected with Kelly on a 50-yard bomb for six-points.

Early on, the Bloom offense had a tough time finding any rhythm, as Ship took an early 3-0 lead. But as the story has been all season the defense stepped up, and created a big turnover. The Huskies Pre-Season All-American linebacker Justin Shirk found a gap in the Ship offensive line and shot through it, eventually tackling and stripping the ball away from running back Blair Brooks. Defensive end Dylan Stair found the loose ball and picked it up, returning it 17-yards for a Bloomsburg touchdown. The turnover was the 16th on the year for BU, which is at the top in the nation. Following the scoop-and-score Bloom led 7-3, and did not trail again for the rest of the afternoon.

dylan stair
Defensive End Dylan Stair (92) put the Huskies on the board with a 17-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The Huskies lead all of Division II football with 16 forced turnovers. (Photo: Bloomsburg University Sports Information)

Following a Shippensburg punt the Huskies had the ball on their own 37-yard line. After a seven-play 63-yard drive the Huskies lead ballooned to 14-3, after a Mateo one-yard touchdown run. Ship would keep the game close though, as they scored their own touchdown on the ground to shorten the Huskies lead to 14-10 early in the second quarter.

The Huskies did not want to let Ship back into the game, as they used the ground attack of Mateo, Munger, and fullback Brody Myers to control the ball, and create a calm tempo. The move paid off as Mateo found the end zone on a one-yard run for his second score of the day.

After another stop by the defense, Bloom decided to open up the air attack and Kelly confused the Ship defense with a solid play-action fake. This helped Gades find an open seam behind the secondary, and reach the end zone on a 50-yard touchdown catch. The big play gave Bloom a decisive 28-10 advantage heading into the half.

The third quarter was a stale mate between both teams, but come the fourth quarter both offenses would wake up, and create some fireworks. After being harassed by the Huskies defense for most of the game, Ship quarterback Chris Lawshe found some revenge, as he saw running room up the middle, and scampered for a 48-yard touchdown run which cut the BU lead to 28-17.

Kelly, and the Huskies, had an answer for Lawshe’s run though. On a second-and-eight play Kelly floated a perfect pass to McFadden, which seemed to stay in the air forever. McFadden eventually hauled in the catch for 49-yards and took it to the Ship nine-yard line. Both squads got a little chippy, as Ship did not want to give up six-points. But the Huskies prevailed and Mateo captured his third touchdown of the day on a strong one-yard run on fourth down. This gave the Huskies a seemingly insurmountable 35-17 lead. Shippensburg did put a small scare into the Huskies as they rallied for two late touchdowns, but it was too little too late, the clock expired and Bloom sealed the 38-30 win.

The win was the first over Ship since 2011, when they beat the Red Raiders 38-18 at Redman Stadium. Bloom joins West Chester, Slippery Rock, and Gannon as the lone undefeated teams in the PSAC, as the Huskies will most likely see a rise in their ranking from 13th to possibly the top-10. This is also the fourth consecutive season that Bloom has started 4-0, with their last loss in the month of September coming in 2010, against non-conference opponent Ashland 24-14 in week one.