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Cal U moving forward following PSAC opener against Bloomsburg

Vulcans sit in familiar spot following loss to Huskies

September 18, 2015

The California University of Pennsylvania/Bloomsburg game last Saturday followed the same script that most of the meetings between those two teams do: a knock-out, drag out, somewhat low scoring contest featuring a heavy rushing attack by the Huskies and most importantly, the game coming down to the final minute of regulation as seen many times before with these two PSAC powers.

    Unfortunately for the Vulcans, another similar script followed as once again Cal could not beat the Huskies for the fourth straight time. No matter what they do differently, there is always something that helps the Huskies come out with the win. Saturday’s game can be best described as a tale of two halves. California dominated in every aspect of the game in the first half. They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, which included sophomore running back John Franklin III getting his second touchdown of the season, which in turn would be the only Vulcans touchdown of the game.

    Everything was going smoothly for Cal. The Vulcans were up 13-0 with just a little over two minutes to go until the half, and were dominating on defense. However, one play which did not make a huge impact at first seemingly turned the tide in this ballgame. Huskies junior running back Lawrence Elliot finally broke through the Vulcan defense and reeled off a 53 yard run which set up the Huskies first points of the day off a field goal. Going into the half, the Vulcans were still in a good spot up 10, but there was something eerie about this game. Not only that the Huskies were able to finally break through with their vaunted running game, but Cal U’s senior quarterback James Harris already had thrown two interceptions in the first half and was missing his receivers badly at times. Junior wide receiver Garry Brown,  who had played like a superstar the past few games dating back to last season, was also lost for the game after getting an ankle sprain in the second quarter.

    That weird feeling turned into a reality in the second half as the Huskies pounded the Vulcans repeatedly with Elliot and back-up running back Joe Parsnik to regain control of the line of scrimmage. The Huskies tacked on another field goal to make it a one score game on the opening drive of the second half and in turn intercepted Harris once again on the Vulcans first drive, which set up the game-tying touchdown. The game was quickly turning into a nightmare for the Vulcans. A 13-0 lead was completely gone and the offense was faltering and could not move the ball at all, sending a tired defense out that was getting manhandled by the Huskies offensive line.

      In the fourth quarter, the Huskies continued to hold the ball, dominating the time of possession. However, it seemed the Vulcans got a huge break when Huskies placekicker Tyler Smith missed a short 25 yard field goal and kept the game tied at 13. However, once again the Vulcans offense sputtered and set the Huskies up with short field. This time the Huskies cashed in on fourth and one, as Elliot took a toss to the right side and walked in to the end zone untouched from 24 yards out for the decisive score. Cal had one last chance to force overtime and made it as far as the Huskies 17 yard line, but Harris missed an open Luke Smorey in the end zone to end the game.

    This loss as any other loss in past years against Bloomsburg hurt really bad, but there is no reason to panic. Last season, Cal started 1-1 and lost a tough game to the Huskies. They rebounded the next week with an offensive assault on the road against the Shippensburg Red Raiders. Luckily for the Vulcans, those same Red Raiders come to Adamson Stadium tomorrow. James Harris lit the Red Raider defense up to a tune of 439 yards and two touchdowns last season and despite the three interceptions a week ago, it was merely one bad game and getting Harris involved early and often will help erase memories from last week. The key man on Shippensburg’s offense is senior receiver Sheldon Mayer. Mayer had a field day against the Vulcans defense last season catching 8 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Shippensburg always features a high-powered offense but other than Mayer, there is much inexperience including at the quarterback spot with sophomore Ryan Zapoticky.

   Points look to be at a plenty Saturday afternoon. Come game time at 1pm, the Vulcans will be hungry to get back into the win column and set themselves up for PSAC west play starting next week.

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