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Defense Dominates, as Huskies Repeat as PSAC-East Champions

Defensive End Joe Wetty punctuated a terrific defensive performance with a sack of ESU quarterback Bruce Campbell to end the game. (Bloomsburg University Sports Information)
Defensive End Dylan Stair (92) was one of 14 seniors to celebrate senior day against ESU.
(Bloomsburg University Sports Information)

Letdown, it is defined in the dictionary as a “decrease in force or energy.” In the sports world, it is used to define teams that play poorly after a resounding win or achievement. After Bloomsburg’s win over, then-undefeated, West Chester last week they certainly could use the excuse of not having the same amount of energy against division-rival East Stroudsburg. That thought did not come to fruition though, as the Huskies thoroughly took apart the Warriors in-route to a 34-13 win that helped them defend their PSAC-East championship.

Quarterback Tim Kelly displayed his versatility as he found seven different receivers for 146 yards passing, and used his legs to rush for 66 yards. Senior running back Eddie Mateo led the Huskies in rushing, as he accumulated 76 yards and three touchdowns in essentially one half of work after leaving early due to an ankle injury. Dai’Shon Munger took the extra slack in the second half and ran for 60 yards on 15 carries. Junior receiver Trent Daniels led the team in receiving with 39 yards on four catches, while fellow receiver Chase Hoffman, and DJ McFadden broke the 30-yard barrier with 36, and 35 yards respectively.

There is not much more one can say of senior linebacker Justin Shirk who recorded his first career interception against ESU, as he batted a Bruce Campbell pass into the air, and returned it 41 yards to the Warriors two-yard line. Fellow senior Tomas Cabrera had a fine day from the safety position, leading the team with nine tackles, forcing a fumble, and had an interception for the second straight game. David McFadden tied for the team lead in tackles among the defensive line with three, while recording a sack and forcing a fumble.

The Huskies got off to a fast start for the second consecutive week thanks to an aggressive defensive line that abused the Warriors offense all afternoon. McFadden got to ESU’s Campbell, and got a strip-sack, the ball laid on the turf and was recovered by fellow defensive lineman Jeremiah Lowery. Four plays later Mateo stuffed the ball into the end zone to give BU a 7-0 lead.

After the defense forced a three-and-out, punt returner Lawrence Elliot Jr. would call a fair catch at the ESU 48-yard line. It took a grueling nine plays, but the Huskies extended their lead to 13-0 with a three-yard run from Mateo. Kicker Brayden Drexler’s extra point put BU up 14-0 with just under four minutes left in the first quarter.

Bloomsburg got the ball back to start the second quarter, and they reached the ESU 20-yard line after a 32-yard scramble by Kelly. It truly looked like the Huskies were going in for the kill, before a lateral pass was dropped by BU, and was returned by Warriors cornerback Chris Mims 76 yards for a touchdown. The play brought some life into a dreary ESU bench, and shortened the Huskies lead to 14-7.

The score did not change until the end of the quarter, when Bloomsburg started a drive at their own 36-yard line. They used a mix of Kelly’s arm and Mateo’s legs to march 64 yards on eight plays to increase their lead to 21-7 on an 11-yard Mateo run. BU would take their 14-point lead into the half.

Defensive Tackle Jeremiah Lowery was a part of the turnover machine known as the BU defense, with a fumble recovery in the first quarter. (Bloomsburg University Sports Information)
Defensive Tackle Jeremiah Lowery was a part of the turnover machine known as the BU defense, with a fumble recovery in the first quarter.
(Bloomsburg University Sports Information)

The third quarter proved to be a defensive battle with both teams jockeying for field position. The only score of the quarter came off a 41-yard field goal from Drexler at the 6:30 mark. The three gave BU a commanding 24-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Huskies defense continued to shut the Warriors offense out until a crafty five-play 45-yard drive that was concluded by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Campbell to receiver Jon Schnarrs that cut the lead to 13 points with the score being 27-13.

The Bloomsburg offense answered with their only touchdown drive of the half. The running game was featured on six out of the seven plays on the 45-yard drive, with Munger carrying the ball five time for 41 yards. Eventually the Warriors defense stacked the box and Kelly used a play-action pass to find his tight end Aaron Allison on a three-yard touchdown pass to make the score 34-13.

On the Warriors final drive it looked as if Campbell had figured out the Huskies secondary, as he led a drive that eventually saw ESU with the ball on BU’s 12-yard line. The defense held up though, mustering a final effort that shows why they are the top defense in the PSAC by leaps and bounds. The final four plays of the drive resulted in three incomplete passes, and on the last play a sack by sophomore defensive end Joe Wetty.

The Huskies will try to hit double digits in terms of wins next weekend, as they will visit a struggling two-win Lock Haven team. Last year’s game resulted in a 56-10 win for the Huskies, and the series has been one-sided for some time. The PSAC-East title is the Huskies third in the last five years, and they will travel to either California, Slippery Rock, or Gannon for the PSAC Championship game.