Despite 430 total yards by junior quarterback Nigel Barksdale, Slippery Rock University football (2-3, 1-1) fell to Kutztown University (2-3, 0-2), 56-49 Saturday in the rematch of the 2011 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
This was Barksdale’s first start under center for the Rock as he filled in for regular starter, redshirt sophomore Jared Buck. Buck was unable to play due to a lingering concussion.
Barksdale didn’t disappoint. While he threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns, he also ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rock offense gained 561 yards of offense, compared to 350 yards by the high-powered Golden Bears offense.
Unfortunately, the Rock was on the wrong side of the turnover battle. SRU turned the ball over five times, all of which were fumbles. Kutztown committed one turnover, which was an interception.
The turnovers for SRU proved very costly as Kutztown converted them into 28 points.
“Five turnovers, and one of them was a turnover in the end zone, so that’s seven points guaranteed,” head coach George Mihalik said. “Rarely can you beat a team with that many turnovers.”
The Rock went into the half down 42-21, with 21 of Kutztown points coming off of turnovers, seven of which came on the first series of the game, as Barksdale fumbled after a 16-yard gain.
Kutztown took over and drove the ball 45 yards in six plays for a touchdown.
Senior quarterback Kevin Morton hooked up with senior wide receiver Colby Tuell from 12-yards out. Morton made the start for The Golden Bears after missing the last one and a half games.
SRU woke up in the second half and scored 21 unanswered points to tie the game at 42.
Barksdale ran for a 15-yard score and also threw a six-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Jimmy Zubik.
Redshirt senior running back Akeem Satterfield tied the game with a four-yard touchdown run.
Slippery Rock then took their first lead of the game as Barksdale found junior receiver LaQuinn Stephens-Howling from 19 yards out to make the score 49-42, after redshirt senior kicker Kurt Brackman converted the extra point for the Rock.
Things turned sour for Slippery Rock late in the fourth quarter as the Rock offense committed two fumbles that in the end cost SRU the game.
Satterfield fumbled the ball and allowed Kutztown to take the lead 56-49.
With less than two minutes to go, the Green and White was knocking on the door to tie the game when Stephens-Howlings fumbled the ball.
Kutztown would run out the last 75 seconds to secure the victory.
“I thought if we maintain that ball we would’ve driven the field and scored on Satterfield’s play,” Mihalik said. “At the end, we had a chance to make the play. We were on the 14 yard line, and we have to hold onto the football.”