Running backs lead Rock football to blowout win

Published by adviser, Author: Brian Hepfinger - Sports Editor, Date: September 18, 2014
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Led by their running game, the Slippery Rock University football team (2-0) defeated East Stroudsburg University (1-1) 56-24.

Five running backs totaled 78 rushes for 476 yards. 

Three runnings backs, including senior Teddy Blakeman, junior Brett Crenshaw, and sophomore Shamar Greene, tallied five touchdowns. 

Blakeman had three touchdowns, while Crenshaw and Greene both had one touchdown.

Greene led the team in total rushing yards with 186, while Blakeman had 119 yards.

“They just couldn’t handle our offensive line and running game,” SRU head coach George Mihalik said. “We were eating up the clock and keeping their offense off the field.”

Mihalik said he thought the team could’ve thrown the ball more, but that the running game was proving to be too successful.

“I felt we could’ve thrown the ball and been as successful, but at that point, we didn’t want to go away from what was working for us,” Mihalik said.

SRU features five running backs, including freshman Isiah Neely and junior Julian Durden to go along with Blakeman, Greene, and Crenshaw.

“If they happen to break out on a long run, sometimes they get a little winded,” Mihalik said. “I like having a lot of depth, and at this point, we have a very good list of running backs.”

In the second game of his career, sophomore quarterback Zack Newsock went 9-16 with 131 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

“I thought he handled things well,” Mihalik said. “We didn’t ask a lot of him this week. I thought that when he had his opportunities, he made some good reads and good decisions.”

Durden and junior wide receiver Jaimire Dutrieuille caught Newsock’s two touchdown passes.

The Rock’s defense handled the game as well as the offense did. 

Sophomore defensive back Derrick Fulmore had two interceptions for 30 yards, and sophomore linebacker Bob Vernick had one interception. 

The Rock had 26 players with at least one tackle or an assisted tackle.

Senior linebacker Austin Miele had eight tackles, while senior defensive back Isaiah Coleman and Fulmore had nine and eight tackles respectively.

“The defense did an outstanding job, our first team defense really held them to 10 points,” Mihalik said. “You’re gonna win a lot of games if your defense can put points on the board for you.”

SRU went into halftime with a lead of 34-17. They then pushed that lead to 48-17 in the third quarter.

“We told the squad at halftime that this team can come back; we can’t let them get back in the game,” Mihalik said. “Within two and a half minutes of the second half, we scored 14 points. I think that the game was pretty much in hand at that point.”

Mihalik said the team’s two lines were the reason for victory.

“I think the whole game story line is that the offensive and defensive lines dominated the line of scrimmage, because we got after their quarterback and never allowed him to get comfortable.”

ESU quarterback Matt Soltes went 20-47 for 297 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He was also sacked four times.

The Green and White will face Millersville University (0-2) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

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