By Rachael Cataldo, Staff Writer
Senior running back Cameron Ott rushed for 175 yards, including two touchdowns, to help the Susquehanna University football team defeat the visiting Ursinus College Bears 21-14 in a key conference matchup on Saturday, Oct. 21.
“It was a great team win,” said Ott. “We were able to establish our run game early which opens up a lot of other things offensively for us.”
Ott was the key cog in a ground attack that accumulated 209 rushing yards, the most for the River Hawks since the first game of the season against the Lycoming Warriors.
Senior quarterback Nick Crusco finished the day 12-21 for 163 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
“We ran the ball extremely well over the weekend and that is something we would like to continue to see,” Crusco said.
Both teams failed to score during the first quarter. Susquehanna moved the ball, but shot themselves in the foot with a fumble that haulted a drive and missed a field goal.
Both Crusco and Ott said that the team will need to “eliminate penalties and turnovers” in order to become “more consistent and put up the numbers” they want.
The River Hawks were the first to score in the second quarter with an eight-play drive. Ott capped the drive by rushing for an 11-yard touchdown, making the score 7-0 with under five minutes to go until the half.
The River Hawks extended their lead to 14-0 in the second half on their first possession with an 89-yard scoring drive and another touchdown run by Ott. Ott rushed for a total of 31 yards in the drive.
Also in that drive, Crusco threw a big 50-yard pass to sophomore Mikah Christian.
“Mikah has been playing great with big plays almost every week,” Crusco said.
Christian, before his 50-yard grab, also had a 13-yard catch. He would lead the River Hawks in receiving yards on the day with three receptions for 67 yards, and senior receiver Diamente Holloway was right behind him, hauling in five catches for 43 yards.
The Bears answered with their next drive, completing a 24-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7 halfway through the third quarter.
Susquehanna responded with a touchdown on their next drive. Ott carried the ball for 26 yards and Crusco finished off the play by running the ball into the end zone for a commanding 21-7 lead.
Ursinus freshman quarterback Thomas Garlick completed seven passes and then rushed for a 12-yard touchdown to cut Susquehanna’s lead to 21-14 with just four minutes remaining.
The Bears averaged 222 rushing yards per game, however the strong River Hawk defense limited the Bears to just 92 yards on Saturday.
Junior Connor Thompson led the defense with nine tackles. Sophomores Craig Roumes and David Simpson each had eight stops. Roumes also had a sack.
Finishing with six tackles each were sophomore Danial Shelton and juniors Ricky Reyes and Jason Brougham.
The River Hawks travel to Gettysburg tomorrow for a 1 p.m. game and return home to face Juniata for the final regular season home game on Nov. 4 in the annual battle for the Goal Post Trophy.
The Bullets come into the game with a 2-5 record with a 42-35 win against Juniata and a 28-14 win over Moravian.
A big reason for Gettysburg’s struggles this season are due to their inability to convert on third down. The Bullets currently have a 37.29% conversion rate.
Their offensive line play has also been shaky at best with their quarterback being sacked 22 times this season, which will be a problem for them going up against Susquehanna’s strong defensive line of sophomore Tucker Garner, sophomore Caleb Cash, and senior Kyle Micik.
The Bullets also have given up almost 450 yards per game this season, and while the Susquehanna offense has not put up amazing numbers this season, they have a number of playmakers such as Ott, Christian and Holloway that could easily break open this game into being a blowout.
Susquehanna currently sits at 4-2 in the Centennial Conference and must win out the remainder of their schedule and hope for losses from Franklin and Marshall and Johns Hopkins if they hope to have a chance in bringing home a conference title.
Game time for the River Hawks is at 1 p.m.