The 10th ranked Slippery Rock University football team displayed their dominance by scoring touchdowns on the first eight drives of the game on the way to a convincing 62-37 triumph over Wayne State University. Despite being 266 miles away from home, The Rock seemed at home Thursday night at Tom Adams field in Detroit, Michigan as an opening day win streak was pushed to 11 games.
The Warriors had no answer for Roland Rivers III, lead offense, as the Green and White marched up and down the field at will, putting up 35 consecutive points by the eight minute mark of the second quarter. At halftime, the game was virtually out of reach for Wayne State, with SRU boasting a 49-14 edge.
The fireworks did not stop in the second half either, made evident by Rivers on the second play in the second half when he delivered a 78-yard strike to Jermaine Wynn Jr. to extend the Green and White’s commanding lead to 42 points. SRU’s starters displayed chemistry and cohesion by scoring a touchdown each time the potent offense was awarded the ball.
Possessing a seven score lead with the game seemingly in hand, the starters were pulled briefly in the third quarter before being reinserted after Wayne State scored 16 unanswered points. Once the starters were back in, the offense took three players to bend and break the Warrior defense for the ninth time, courtesy of another Rivers pass to Wynn.
The Rock’s explosive offense put on a show as they amassed 517 yards of total offense, with 407 coming through the air and 110 on the ground. Wayne State put up 509 total yards of their own, though most were accrued far after the game’s outcome was decided.
Rivers enjoyed a career night at the expense of the Warrior defense, completing 23 of 30 passes for 405 yards and six touchdowns. When the 6’3” dual threat quarterback wasn’t shelling Wayne State through the air, he was making them pay with his legs, adding 62 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Thanks to a superior performance by Rivers, the Green and White saw massive production from their wide receiver corps as well. Wynn put up an impressive stat line with eight catches for 152 yards and two scores, Henry Litwin added seven catches of his own for 122 yards and another pair of touchdowns and Cinque Sweeting impressed in his Slippery Rock debut, reeling in five receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
Charles Snorweah scored two touchdowns on the ground, while adding 19 yards, and Braden Fochtman added 21 yards of his own. With a highly talented and deep backfield, four running backs saw action in Thursday’s game.
On the other side of the ball, Brad Zaffram registered The Rock’s first turnover of the season, as he intercepted a tipped pass in the opening moments of the first quarter. Dalton Holt and Peyton Remish paced The Rock defense with eight tackles each.
A notable development from Thursday’s game has nothing to do with the Green and White’s offense or defense, but the Green and White special teams’ unit.
Jake Chapla converted eight extra points to break the SRU all-time record for made PAT kicks. After Thursday’s performance, Chapla has made 166 extra points during his career, putting him ahead of the former record holder, Morgan Anderson, who broke the record in 2000 with 161 extra points. Chapla also moves to second on SRU’s all-time scoring list, with 283 points. By season’s end, Chapla could very well move into first on the all-time scoring list, as he needs 43 points to surpass Stan Kennedy, who played for The Rock from 1997-2000.
SRU will have a few extra days to rest and game plan due to playing on Thursday. The Green and White will have their first chance to defend their home turf next Saturday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. as they take on Shippensburg University.