On a day where Edinboro honored five seniors prior to its final home game of 2015, it was 12th ranked Slippery Rock’s experience that prevailed.
The Rock (8-1, 5-1 PSAC West), led by its 11 seniors, racked up 600 yards of offense in a 52-10 win over the Fighting Scots (0-9, 0-6) at Sox Harrison Stadium on Saturday.
“It makes all the difference in the world,” head coach Scott Browning said about SRU’s veteran players. “I don’t care what walk of life you’re in, experience is the name of the game.”
SRU’s ground game, led by redshirt junior Shamar Greene (18 carries, 105 yards, 2 TDs) and senior Julian Durden (11 carries, 113 yards, 1 TD), managed to outrush the Scots, 377-44, on the afternoon.
“You know something, I think I underestimated them,” Browning said of SRU. “I knew coming in they were a good football team. They’re much better than I thought they were. I think the thing that you have to look at, they have 11 seniors starting. Seven on offense, four on defense and they’re hungry.”
Slippery Rock got the game started by driving 68 yards and scoring in under three minutes as Greene ran in the score from two yards out.
The theme of the day for SRU was fast play. While amassing 90 total snaps, five of SRU’s seven touchdown drives took less than two minutes and their opening drive would be their longest of their scoring marches.
“Their offensive line is good, their backs are very good, and the quarterbacks [are] very good at running the zone read stuff,” Browning said. “What they do, they do it very well.”
Following the opening drive, senior receiver Jaimire Dutrieuille scored on a two-yard run and a 32-yard pass from senior quarterback Dante Nania (16- of-29, 169 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT).
Austin Reese’s 28-yard field goal was sandwiched in between the Rock touchdowns to give SRU a 21-3 lead after the first quarter.
“I think it’s about complimenting them on a fast start,” Browning said of the slow start for Edinboro. “I think they came up here and their goal was to stick [it] in the end zone the first series of the game and get off to a quick start.”
After adding 10 more points early in the second quarter to take a commanding 31-3 lead, Edinboro found the end zone on a late first-half drive.
Moving the ball methodically, the Scots soaked up 3:35 of the clock to go 14 plays and 75 yards as sophomore quarterback Jake Sisson (23-of-44, 171 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) found redshirt sophomore receiver Alex Caratelli on a one-yard fade in the end zone with just six seconds left in the opening half.
Browning believed that score could open the door for Boro.
“I really did, because that made it 31-10 and I thought we’d come out in the second half and if we could’ve gone down and put some points up
on the board, even had it been three, I think it would’ve created a little bit of momentum for us, but we didn’t do that,” Browning said. “We [went] three- and-out and you know, really when you look at it there, we had three drops.”
Edinboro managed just 57 yards of offense in the second half to go along with one first down, as the Scots only made it past the 50-yard line on one occasion.
Slippery Rock would add three more touchdowns in the final two quarters to pull away from the Scots as the Rock moved one game closer to securing its third straight PSAC West championship.
In the loss, redshirt junior receiver Darren Massey caught 15 passes, marking the most in a single game in school history. Massey previously broke the mark in this year’s season opener against St. Joe’s with 13 grabs.
The loss wraps up Boro’s 2015 home slate without a win, the first time Edinboro has gone winless at home since 1966. That team was 0-3 in the Boro.
“Yep, this is tough,” Browning said of the current state of the season. “I’ve been here 30 years and we’ve never experienced this, I’ve never experienced this as a coach. The only thing I know is, you’ve got to continue to fight and coach.”
Edinboro wraps up PSAC West play on Saturday at Seton Hill. Kickoff is set for noon.
Mike Fenner is a Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.