COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Shippensburg dominates Cheyney on Senior Day, 61-9
By JOE KROEPIL, @jkreps99
SHIPPENSBURG – The main story, of course, was the outcome of the football game.
Shippensburg University handled Cheyney, 61-9, on Saturday at Seth Grove Stadium to go to 10-0 and win its 14th straight game.
The No. 14 Crimson Hawks won the Western Division crown on Saturday by defeating Gannon in an unexpectedly close game, 38-35.
But there were a couple of secondary stories on Saturday that were just as compelling.
For one, it was Senior Day, as the university honored 14 Red Raiders playing their last regular-season home game.
Because of that, record-setting starting quarterback Zach Zulli made a totally selfless move. He went to SU head coach Mark Maciejewski and suggested that senior backup QB Jeff Tomasetti start the game in his place.
Coach Mac said, “I talked it over with (offensive coordinator) Mike Yurcich and we decided to do it. It shows you how unselfish Zach is. I told him it was big of him to make that gesture. We are a family, not individuals, and Zach is an example of that.”
Tomasetti’s first series ended with an interception, unfortunately. He did return to the field for three series in the fourth quarter and directed Shippensburg’s final scoring drive, which ended on Justin Pyle’s two-yard touchdown run.
Tomasetti said, “I felt really humbled by Zach’s decision. It was a good feeling to start the game. I enjoy watching Zach perform on the field and I’m glad to be a part of his success and the team’s success.”
Zulli said, “Jeff’s meant a lot to me since I’ve been here. He’s been teaching me the ropes and helped me a lot. He’s a heck of a leader, a great motivator and a great person.”
The other storyline that stood out was a fumble recovery that senior defensive tackle Mark Kahlil Smith returned 29 yards for a TD in the second quarter. It gave the Raiders a 34-6 lead.
Kahlil Smith said, “I never scored before in my career. (SU defensive end) Mike Schmidt made a great hit to cause the fumble. I saw the ball, scooped it up and got some great blocking as I ran it in.”
Although it didn’t seem excessive, Kahlil Smith was flagged by an official for an excessive celebration after he hit the end zone.
While he wouldn’t criticize the call, at least on the record, Kahlil Smith said, “Hey, it was my first touchdown. I had to do something.”
The game itself was a romp for Shippensburg (7-0 PSAC East) vs. outmatched Cheyney (1-9, 0-7 PSAC East). Zulli threw for 284 yards and four TDs, two to Jacob Baskerville and one each to Bryan Barley and Kevin Herod.
Redshirt freshman QB Chris Lawshe relieved Zulli in the third quarter and displayed a strong running ability, rushing four times for 47 yards. He also threw a four-yard TD pass to fullback Pat Schuhl.
On the ground, the Raiders ran for 176 yards, led by running back Mike Frenette (67 yards, one TD). Frenette also caught two passes for 47 yards.
Baskerville led Shippensburg with seven catches for 90 yards.
Coach Mac said, “The running backs and the wide receivers get the press coverage, but the offensive line deserves credit, too. They open the holes and make the blocks. Coach (Pete) Lee has done a good job with them all year.”
Cheyney threw only three passes, completing none of them and having one intercepted by cornerback James Cooper. The Wolves also fumbled six times and lost four of them. Linebacker Chase Fleming returned a fumble nine yards for a TD.
Using an option offense, Cheyney rushed the ball 59 times for 197 yards. Running back Marcus Jones led with 80 yards on 16 carries.
The Wolves got a 22-yard rushing TD by quarterback Blaze Wasserleben and a 43-yard field goal by Tyler Wilkinson.
NOTES: These 14 Raider seniors were honored on Saturday: defensive tackle Rodney Baltimore, wide receivers Barley and Baskerville, linebacker Cody Fleming, Frenette, fullback Herod, strong safety Corey Hunt, linebacker Chris Johnson, defensive tackle Saeed Khateeb, center Bobby Mullen, left tackle Chris Restino, Schuhl, Kahlil Smith and Tomasetti Defensive end Jake Metz led Ship in tackles with nine, followed by free safety Tyriq Kershaw with seven, Baltimore and linebacker Brian Sourber with six each and Fleming and linebacker Sean Sadosky with five apiece.
Joe Kroepil can be reached at 262-4749 and email@example.com.
Shippensburg 61, Cheyney 9
Cheyney 0 6 3 0 – 9
Shippensburg 14 20 20 7 -61
Ship-Jacob Baskerville 13 pass from Zach Zulli (Michael Lloyd kick), 11:06
Ship-Kevin Herod 3 pass from Zulli (Lloyd kick), 3:49
Chey-Blaze Wasserleben 22 run (kick blocked), 11:10
Ship-Baskerville 28 pass from Zulli (kick failed), 7:54
Ship-Bryan Barley 20 pass from Zulli (Lloyd kick), 5:05
Ship-Mark Kahlil Smith 29 fumble recovery (Lloyd kick), 3:29
Chey-Tyler Wilkinson 43 field goal, 10:47
Ship-Mike Frenette 5 run (pass failed), 7:13
Ship-Pat Schuhl 4 pass from Chris Lawshe (Lloyd kick), 1:59
Ship-Chase Fleming 9 fumble recovery (Drew Newcomer kick), 0:28
Ship-Justin Pyle 2 run (Newcomer kick), 7:48
First downs 11 25
Rushes-yds. 59-197 34-176
Passing yds. 0 310
Total offense 197 486
Passing 0-3-1 23-33-1
Fumbles-lost 6-4 1-0
Punts-avg. 6-31.0 2-36.5
Penalties-yds. 5-55 6-60
Possession time 35:50 24:10
RUSHING – Chey, Marcus Jones 16-80, Wasserleben 17-57, Eric Barrow 10-37, Nahum Purdie 7-34, Justin Watkins 4-15, Devon Dredden 2-(-3), Leroy Stanford 3-(-23). Ship, Frenette 11-67, Lawshe 4-47, Blair Brooks 2-26, Pyle 4-17, Jeff Tomasetti 4-11, Bo Wilson 4-9, Herod 1-7, Zulli 3-(-1), Team 1-(-7).
PASSING – Chey, Wasserman 0-2-1-0, Stanford 0-1-0-0. Ship, Zulli 19-26-0-284, Tomasetti 3-5-1-22, Lawshe 1-2-0-4.
RECEIVING – Ship, Baskerville 7-90, Barley 3-65, Herod 3-24, Frenette 2-47, Sheldon Mayer 2-41, Trevor Harman 2-12, Alex Kuljian 1-14, Daniel Wheeler 1-8, Pyle 1-5, Schuhl 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS – Chey, Ernest Polite. Ship, James Cooper.