'Boro drops game to Cal. U, 24-7

Category:  Sports
Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 11:50 AM
'Boro drops game to Cal. U, 24-7 by Paul Petrianni
Brandon Anderson during the game. | Photo: Madi Gross

Although the defense turned in a Hall-of-Fame weekend performance, the Fighting Scots football team fell to California University, 24-7, on Saturday.

The Fighting Scots entered the day with an 0-3 record, losing in the previous week’s matchup, 34-14, to East Stroudsburg University. But even with the slow start, ‘Boro had a chance to start 1-0 on their side of the conference if they were able to slow down the explosive offense of Cal U.

The opponent, meanwhile, came into the game with a 2-1 record overall, and a 0-1 mark in the conference standings. In their three games prior, they were averaging 48 points and were able to break the 50-point mark in their two wins.

Edinboro knew they would need an impressive effort from their defense in order to keep the score close and have a shot come the 4th quarter. And that’s exactly how the stout Fighting Scots began the game, forcing the Vulcans to punt on their first two drives, giving up very few yards within each possession.

However, the Scots couldn’t produce much of anything in their first two drives and on both were forced into three-and-outs. After a sack to quarterback Andrew Tomko on their own 9-yard line, ‘Boro had to punt from deep on their own side of the field.

The Edinboro defense was called on to do something special early, and doing special things on defense has kept the Fighting Scots in close games all season. Cal U began that following drive at the ‘Boro 28-yard line after a shanked punt netted the Scots about 20 yards. To make things even tougher on the defense, the first play of that drive, an end-around to JaQuae Jackson, would put the ball on the 13-yard line. The Scots defense bunkered down inside the red zone, stopping three consecutive plays and forcing the Vulcans into a field goal.

The Cal U kicker, Keaton Hier, would punch in the 24-yard attempt to put the visitors up 3-0. A heroic defensive stand provided all the momentum the offense could have asked for as the retook the field. The stop was followed up with a great return by star receiver Ta’Nauz Gregory. That good return was followed by Edinboro’s first large gain of the day, a 41-yard completion from Tomko to Andre Dowdell Jr. However, the ‘Boro drive would stall there, leading to yet another punt.

After a big stop in the backfield, Edinboro’s defense gave up a big 35-yard completions. A series of untimely penalty markers painted the field, and before you knew it, the Vulcans were set up to attempt another field goal. This time however, Hier blasted his kick off of the goal post and it bounced out, no good, with the ball returning to ‘Boro.

The Scots fifth drive of the day turned out to be one of their best. The duo of Tomko and Dowdell Jr. were able to connect on a couple of huge pass plays down the field. The first catch was good for 42 yards and took the Scots to the Vulcan’s 37-yard line. A few plays later, they connected once again, this time good for 37 yards. It seemed Dowdell had enough to put the Scots on the board, however he was ruled down at the 1-yard line. On the ensuing play, Tomko was sacked for a loss of one, followed up with a false start penalty. The Scots now found themselves at the 7-yard line. On the next play, Tomko rolled out of the pocket to his right, tried to throw back across the middle, and was intercepted.

After two stagnant drives by each team, Cal U had the ball with a few minutes left in the first half. Offensive stud Tyson Hill caught a 16-yard pass from quarterback Noah Mitchell. Edinboro then proceeded to come down with the penalty bug, committing a personal foul for roughing the passer, and then a holding call in the red zone. These set Cal up with a first-and-10 at the goal line. Mitchell would then find wide receiver Cam Tarrant for the touchdown and the Vulcans took a 10-0 lead into the half.

Cal University would receive the kick, welcoming both teams back onto the field. The ensuing drive wouldn’t last long for the Vulcans however. Edinboro senior Brandon Anderson would pick off the pass from Mitchell, giving Boro great field position after a 14-yard return.

Redshirt Sophomore Jordan Castelli entered the game at quarterback for an injured Tomko. On Castelli’s first play of the game, he found Gregory in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass, putting points on the board for the Scots at the start of the second half. Vicente Arriagada’s extra point was good, making it a 10-7 football game.

Unfortunately for the Scots, these would be the final points they put on the board. After this touchdown pass, they struggled to even move the ball on offense, as over their next four possessions they only converted one first down.

The Vulcans would score two more times, however, one being a rushing touchdown from senior running back Nelson Brown, making it 17-7 Cal. The final touchdown went to JaQuae Jackson on a 10-yard reception from Mitchell, concluding the scoring efforts at 24-7.

“I felt confident coming out in the second half,” said Dowdell. “I felt we could come out and start to execute our offensive plan. When the game clock ended I felt devastated. I feel we left a lot on the field and I was overall just disappointed.”

“Gannon is a rivalry game, they’re right up the road from us, and I believe we will get a good crowd,” he continued. “We are just focused on going 1-0 this week and to hopefully begin to get the offense rolling.”

Edinboro will have another PSAC West matchup next week when they take on the Gannon Golden Knights on the road. That game will be played at noon. Catch the coverage of the game on 88.9 FM, WFSE Fighting Scots Radio.

You can also check out The Spectator's photo gallery from the game. 

Additional Photos:

Photo: Madi GrossBrandon Anderson during the game. | Photo: Madi Gross

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