Fueled by a heavy running attack and big plays on defense, SRU football sealed their fifth Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West title since 2011 with their 44-21 victory at California University (Pa.) on Saturday.
With the win, The Rock remains a perfect 6-0 in conference play this season, with an 8-1 overall record. The Green and White are now set to host Eastern Division champion West Chester University in the PSAC Championship on Nov. 10.
Senior running back Wes Hills torched the Vulcans for 248 yards off of 33 carries and scored four touchdowns on the ground. The Rock had a rusher to hit the century mark in junior quarterback Roland Rivers III who compiled 106 yards off 21 attempts and a touchdown. Heavy rain on and off throughout the game was the main determent to a strong running attack from The Rock. In total, the Green and White racked up 345 total rushing yards to California’s 90.
The Rock kicked off the scoring just under two minutes into the game off of Rivers’ seven-yard touchdown run to put SRU up 7-0. On the following kickoff, the Vulcans had an immediate answer with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to nod it up at seven. SRU would then have an answer of their own on the next drive with Hills’ three-yard touchdown run, but would then be erased by a Vulcan touchdown late in the second quarter to tie the game at 14.
SRU would end the first half off of a field goal off the leg of junior Jake Chapla to take a 17-14 lead into halftime. The Rock was plagued with five fumbles in the first half, with eight penalties for 101 yards.
In the second half, The Rock was able to clean up their fumble and penalty miscues with a heavy running game which allowed them to rack up 23 unanswered points including a pick-six by junior cornerback Eric Glover-Williams early in the fourth quarter to make the score 37-21 The Rock.
On the following drive, the Vulcans would answer with their final score of the evening off a 37 yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 16, but The Rock would have the final say off Hills’ fourth touchdown of the game with 6:44 left in regulation to seal the deal and give The Rock their seventh straight win 44-21.
The passing game for The Rock was almost nonexistent as Rivers was only able to manage 141 yards through the air off of 10 completions and no touchdowns with one interception. In total SRU racked up 486 yards of offense to California’s 274. The game may not have been as tightly contested in the first half if it weren’t for personal foul penalties on three straight possessions. At the end of the day, The Rock has called for 13 penalties for 141 yards.
This week The Rock looks ahead to their final regular season game with Gannon University on Saturday at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium. The Green and White may look to rest some of their core starters in preparation for the PSAC title game the following week. Kick off this week is currently set for 1 p.m.