SLIPPERY ROCK —
Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).
As a result of the win, Slippery Rock assumed sole possession of first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s West Division. The winner of the division earns a berth in the Nov. 12 State Game.
SRU marched 97 yards in 17 plays and ate up almost six minutes of time to erase an early 3-0 California lead. Senior quarterback Cody Endres connected with Jimmy Zubik for a two-yard touchdown to cap the drive. Kurt Brackman’s extra-point kick pushed SRU lead to 7-3 with 1:16 left before halftime.
California came right back to march 69 yards in seven plays and had a first-and-goal opportunity on the SRU 10-yard line, but came up dry despite being aided by three defensive holding penalties on the hosts in the span of four plays. On the final play of the first half, California running back Jeff Knox was stopped shy of the goal line on a first-and-goal from the SRU 1.
“That was the turning point of the game,” SRU head coach Dr. George Mihalik said. “If they had scored there, they would have had the momentum heading into halftime. But when we stopped them, the momentum was on our side.”
SRU built on its lead with 10 second-half points. Brackman booted a 35-yard field goal with 9:07 left in the third period to make it a 10-3 game before Endres connected with senior wide receiver Geron James for a 19-yard TD with 2:40 left in the third stanza to push the margin to its final 14-point difference.
CALIFORNIA 3 0 0 0 3
SLIP. ROCK 0 7 10 0 17
C - Nuzzo, 21-yard field goal (9:44).
S - Zubik, 2-yard pass from Endres (Brackman kick) (1:16).
S - Brackman, 35-yard field goal (9:07).
S - James, 19-yard pass from Endres (Brackman kick) (2:40).
First downs – 19
Rushing yards – 69
Passing yards – 204
Att-comp-int – 53-22-1
Total yards – 273
Fumbles-lost – 1-1
Penalties-yards lost 12-127
First downs - 18
Rushing yards - 89
Passing yards - 147
Att-comp-int - 42-22-4
Total yards - 326
Fumbles-lost - 2-1
Penalties-yards lost - 9-62
Rushing: California - Gowins 4-47, Smith 14-40, Knox 1-0, Lalich 4-(-18); Slippery Rock - Zubik 21-63, Stephens-Howling 4-27, Sanders 1-6, Goda 1-3, Endres 3-(-5), Team 1-(-5).
Passing: California - Lalich 53-22-1-204; Slippery Rock - Endres 42-22-4-147.
Receiving: California - Cherry 7-55, Mayo 6-69, Williams 4-38, Smith 2-9, Williamson 1-21, Washington 1-8, Gumbert 1-4; Slippery Rock - Zubik 8-18, Goda 5-48, Sanders 4-25, Amos 2-36, James 2-20, Stephens-Howlings 1-0.