It was a chilly and windy homecoming game at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium, and four quarters wasn’t enough in deciding the winner between Slippery Rock and Edinboro. The Rock (4-4, 3-2) needed just three plays in overtime, as junior quarterback Nigel Barksdale hooked up with junior receiver LaQuinn Stephens-Howling for what would be the game winning score, as the Rock defeated the Fighting Scots, 38-31.
“That play was so exciting,” Barksdale said. “I dropped back and I already knew what we had going on. I looked off the defense, then came back to LaQuinn and he tripped, then I stepped back and he shook the backer and he just had to catch it.”
The Rock defense tightened up and stopped the Fighting Scots on four plays on Edinboro’s only possession of overtime.
Barksdale finished the game 15-30 for 239 yards and three touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran for a game high 96 yards on 30 carries and one touchdown.
Stephens-Howling also scored a 42-yard touchdown on the opening possession to finish the game with just the two catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite giving up 403 yards of offense, the Rock defense sacked Edinboro quarterback junior Cody Harris nine times. SRU senior defensive end Jeff Thompson recorded three sacks and also had 11 tackles.
“That was our main focus coming into this game,” Thompson said. “It was to attack the quarterback. Harris is a tough player and a great competitor. Our goal was to keep getting up and coming after him. You have to respect him.”
En route to the Rock victory, there were four lead changes in the game.
SRU got out to a 9-0 lead before Edinboro took the lead for the first time in the third quarter 17-16. It was a sloppy game played by both teams as they combined for 26 penalties. SRU was penalized 12 times for 110 yards. Edinboro was penalized 14 times for 114 yards.
The Rock offense also was a perfect 4-4 inside the red zone while Edinboro went 4-8.
“We give credit to our defense,” Rock head coach George Mihalik said. “That’s been our situation, teams get in our red zone, but we keep them from getting points. Also, give credit to our offense, when you get down there, you have to take advantage of that opportunity.”