Junior quarterback Roland Rivers gathered six total touchdowns, with five through the air during The Rock’s 59-28 homecoming win over Edinboro University (4-3) on Saturday.
“Boy are we growing as an offense right now; we couldn’t be stopped offensively,” SRU football head coach Shawn Lutz said. “You’re seeing run, you’re seeing pass, you’re seeing different receivers out there. You’re seeing it all and it’s all gotta start with Roland Rivers. He is really growing up and becoming a heck of a player right now, so, you know, how can I be disappointed in a 59-28 win homecoming against a 4-2 team who’s a good football team?”
Rivers completed 25 passes on 32 attempts for 403 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. The junior also proved again to be a threat in the running game with 92 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown late in the second quarter. Each week it seems Rivers’ game improves, and he thinks it all starts in one place.
“It starts in practice, every day in practice we try to come out with high energy and focus,” Rivers said. “When we come out here in the game it’s really a lot easier cause we work so hard in practice.”
With the win and a little help from Gannon University defeating California (Pa.), the Green and White move into sole possession of first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West with a perfect 4-0 divisional record.
Just 58 second into the game, the Fighting Scots were able to march down the field 70 yards in just three plays that were capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to take an early 7-0 lead. On the following drive, The Rock was then able to orchestrate a 70-yard drive of their own on 12 plays that was finished off when redshirt sophomore running back Chacar Berry ran the ball in from one yard out to tie the game at seven with 9:21 remaining in the first quarter.
The Berry touchdown was the first of three straight scoring drives by The Rock, with a touchdown from senior running back Wes Hills and a field goal from junior kicker Jake Chapla. Edinboro was able to answer with a Walter Fletcher touchdown run just before the end of the first quarter to make the score 17-14. Fletcher, one of the top running backs in the PSAC was able to rack up 149 yards on the ground on 15 carries. The redshirt junior produced big numbers but was ultimately put on the shelf once The Rock was able to get out ahead.
“Big, strong, fast, deep; you know we never could get near Rivers,” Edinboro football head coach Wayne Bradford said. “We knew how good their offense was. They’re a fluke play away from being 7-0.”
Redshirt sophomore receiver Jermaine Wynn Jr. scored himself a natural hat trick in the second quarter with three straight touchdown catches to help put The Rock up 38-14 with 8:01 left in the second quarter. The Fighting Scots would answer on the first play of their following drive off a 75-yard touchdown pass, which was one of four big plays the Green and White defense let up during the game.
“We know we didn’t play our best defensively today,” Lutz said. “You take away the four big plays on defense we still were pretty good, but we gotta add those in the game. We don’t like what we did defensively.”
The game was all but put away five minutes later when Rivers scored a 20-yard touchdown on the ground to help put The Rock up 45-21 with 2:32 remaining in the first half.
Hills ended the day with a total of 92 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown on the ground. Redshirt sophomore Henry Litwin led the team in receiving yards with 131 on nine catches and a score, with Wynn Jr. right behind him with 119 yards off of six catches and three touchdowns. In total, The Rock offense produced 596 total yards of offense off of 78 plays on their way to their way to their fifth straight win.
Up next for the Green and White comes a date with Clarion University (4-3) who is coming off a tight loss to Indiana University (Pa.) 24-23. Kickoff is set for noon next Saturday at Clarion.