Giving up big plays defensively, combined with lack of big plays from either side of the ball, usually leads to a bad result for any football team. Slippery Rock University football was a casualty of both of these in last Saturday’s loss to Mercyhurst University 38-23 in Pennsylvania State Athletic West play.
The Rock (2-2, 1-1) defense gave up passing plays of 51 yards and 41 yards, while giving up a 59 yard run to Mercyhurst (3-1, 2-0). Each of the individual plays lead to Mercyhurst touchdowns.
“We can’t seem to start out on the road on the same page offensively and defensively,” defensive coordinator Shawn Lutz said. “You cannot get down that much, especially against a good team like that.”
Mercyhurst capitalized early on missed opportunities and an early turnover by the Green and White.
With the score 7-0 favoring Mercyhurst, the lone Rock turnover came by way of a fumble by junior receiver Laquinn Stephens-Howling.
The Mercyhurst offense only need three plays to score, as quarterback Anthony Vendemia found Devyn Woods for a nine-yard touchdown pass.
With the score now 21-7 after a one-yard touchdown run by redshirt sophomore quarterback Jared Buck, redshirt junior cornerback Anthony Saunders dropped what would have been an SRU interception at midfield.
The ensuing Mercyhurst drive only lasted four plays and ended in a Brandon Brown-Dukes five yard touchdown run to make the score 28-7.
Brown-Dukes finished the game with 160 yards and two touchdowns. Mercyhurst finished the game with 254 yards rushing and 438 total yards offensively.
Buck also added a second touchdown run in the second half while freshman receiver Jaimire Dutrieuille scored on a 20 yard touchdown run.
The Rock defense recorded a fourth quarter safety to round out the scoring for the Rock.