KUTZTOWN – Sparked by the return of starting quarterback Kevin Morton, the KU football team (2-3) defeated Slippery Rock (2-3) 56-49. This victory ended the Golden Bears three-game losing streak.
Morton looked sharp after missing last week’s game against West Chester because of an injury in the team’s week three loss to Bloomsburg. His five touchdown passes against the Rock made him the 19th player in Division II history to throw for 100-career passing touchdowns. Morton finished the game completing 29 of 54 passes for 301 yards with one interception.
The Golden Bears wasted no time, scoring on their first possession on a 12-yard pass from Morton to Colby Tuell. Both offenses were stymied for the remainder of the first quarter, exchanging a series of punts before the Rock’s kicker, Kurt Brackman, missed a 44-yard field goal.
On the first play of the second quarter, Rock quarterback Nigel Barksdale completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Howling. The duo hooked up six times for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Brackman missed the extra point and KU led 7-6.
After the Rock touchdown, the Golden Bears put on an offensive clinic, scoring 35 points in the second quarter alone. Morton threw touchdowns to three different receivers in the quarter, targeting Tuell, Kodi Reed, and Brett Fox. It was Tuell’s second touchdown catch of the day as he finished with 10 receptions for 70 yards.
Tuell leads the team this season in receiving yards (315) and touchdown catches (4).
The Rock’s offense attempted to keep up with the Golden Bears’ potent attack with rushing touchdowns from Barksdale and A. Satterfield in the quarter. Barksdale showed his versatility at quarterback, leading the team in rushing with 169 yards on 23 carries and two scores. After an exciting second quarter, the teams went to the locker room at halftime with KU leading 42-28.
Barksdale continued to carry the Rock offense with both a passing and rushing touchdown in the third quarter. Their first possession of the second half ended with a 15-yard rushing touchdown by Barkdale. His six-yard touchdown completion to Jimmy Zubik came late in the third quarter. The Golden Bears failed to score in the third, and the Rock started the fourth quarter down by a score.
In the first possession of the fourth quarter, Morton’s lone interception of the game was picked off by Dajour Morris. Morris fumbled on the return, but it was scooped up by the Rock’s Marquis Knight who returned it to the Golden Bear nine-yard line.
Slippery Rock needed just two plays to find the endzone on Satterfield’s four-yard rushing touchdown, his second of the game. This tied the game at 42 with just over 13 minutes left to play.
After a KU four and out, the Golden Bears were forced to punt, and the Rock started the drive on their own 40. Slippery Rock quickly scored on a 19-yard pass from Barksdale to Holwing, after KU committed two personal foul penalties on the drive. With 10:35 left in the fourth quarter, the Rock had the lead 49-42, for the first time in the game.
On the next possession, Morton put together a brilliant scoring drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Josh Mastromotto. He threw the ball 10 times for 52 yards on the drive, while taking just over four minutes off the clock.
The Golden Bears were happy to get Mastromotto back after missing two games due to injury. He caught eight passes for 91 yards, with his lone receiving touchdown coming at a crucial point to the tie the game late. He also scored on a five-yard rush in the second quarter.
With about six minutes left, the Rock started their drive from their own ten-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Zach Greenwald forced a fumble from Satterfield that was picked up by KU’s Matt Connors on the 21-yard line.
KU’s three-play 21-yard touchdown drive was capped off by a three-yard rush by Curtis Wortham. KU went up 56-49 with the help of the Rock’s blunder on the play. They only had ten men on the field at the time of the Golden Bears game-winning touchdown.
On their final drive of the game, the Rock attempted to mount a comeback, but were foiled when KU’s Matt Connors picked up a Howling fumble on the Golden Bears 14-yard line. They were able to run out the clock and come away with their first victory in four games.
Despite the high scoring affair, KU defensive end Zach Greenwald had 13 total tackles and a forced fumble. He also totaled 1.5 sacks for a loss of ten yards. His performance earned him the PSAC Eastern Division Defensive Player of the Week.
The Golden Bears look for their first PSAC win of the season in their next game against Cheyney University of Pennsylvania on Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. in Cheyney, Pa.
By Billy Felo