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The Rocket

A bad first half proved costly in FB loss to Kutztown

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Rock defensive back Kyle Hall attempts to fire up the home crowd in their 34-17 loss to then No. 3 IUP.

Rock defensive back Kyle Hall attempts to fire up the home crowd in their 34-17 loss to then No. 3 IUP.

Paris Malone

Paris Malone

Rock defensive back Kyle Hall attempts to fire up the home crowd in their 34-17 loss to then No. 3 IUP.

Stephen Cukovich, Assistant Sports Editor

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A late push by redshirt senior quarterback Tanner Garry and the Green and White offense wasn’t enough as Rock football dropped their final regular season game of the season 42-34 when the team traveled to Kutztown University (8-3) on Saturday.

Entering the game, The Rock ranked fifth in Super Region One and a win would have most likely left them in contention for the playoffs being in the top seven in the region.  With the loss and now an 8-3 record, their fate came into the hands of the NCAA on Sunday as they announced SRU would not be featured in the playoff field as they missed the cut for one of those seven spots.

Things looked promising for the Green and White early on as Garry was able to connect with senior wide receiver Marcus Johnson for a 35-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, followed by a 45-yard touchdown off an interception by redshirt senior defensive back Delmar Henderson.

The Rock offense was virtually shut down for the remainder of the first half, while the defense surrendered four touchdowns through the air off of 315 yards with a rushing touchdown to boot in the first half.  SRU would then only managed a field goal from sophomore kicker Jake Chapla to make the score 35-17 Kutztown heading into halftime.

An early push from The Rock defense in the third quarter came when freshman linebacker Trysten McDonald intercepted a pass and was able to take the ball down to the one yard line, to set up redshirt senior running back Isiah Neely for an easy touchdown to make the score 35-24.

Possibly the player of the game for the Green and White would be junior defensive back Kyle Hall who blocked two field goal attempts on back to back possessions, but wasn’t able to cash in as SRU committed three straight turnovers off of two Garry interceptions and a fumble.

Before the end of the third quarter, the Golden Bears would score their final points of the afternoon on a 70-yard touchdown pass to make it an 18 point game again at 42-24.  The Rock offense did fire back when they capped off a 96 yard drive with Garry’s second touchdown of the day when he connected with sophomore receiver Austin Scott from 10 yards out.

On the very next possession, the Green and White defense was able to force a fumble, but would only settle for a Chapla field goal to make the score 42-34 with a little under eight minutes left in the game.

A third blocked field goal for The Rock was able to give them new life, but after they drove the ball down to the four yard line, four straight incomplete passes by Garry followed which turned the ball over on downs and allowed Kutztown to take a knee and close out the game.

Garry finished the game completing 34 passes on 55 attempts for two touchdown and two interceptions.  Leading the rushing attack was Neely who rushed the ball 16 times for 68 yards and a touchdown.  Johnson just missed the century mark with 99 receiving yards off six receptions and one score.

On the defensive side of the ball, freshman linebacker Jacarri Cleckley lead the team in tackles with 11, while McDonald and reshirt freshman linebacker Dylan Whiteman both contributed 10 tackles on the day.  Redshirt senior defensive end Marcus Martin recorded 1.5 sacks in his final game in a Rock uniform to end his historic collegiate career with 56 total sacks, which ranks number one in all of college football.

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An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper at Slippery Rock University
A bad first half proved costly in FB loss to Kutztown