Scots lose momentum in first, fall 24-21 in home opener.

Category:  Sports
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Scots lose momentum in first, fall 24-21 in home opener. by Paul Petrianni
QB Andrew Tomko surveys the field. | Photo: Jamie Heinrich

A rough ending to the first half would doom the Fighting Scots football team, as they fell to Bloomsburg University, 24-21, in the Edinboro home opener. The Scots are now 0-2 on the season.

After losing the season opener, 35-10, to highly ranked Grand Valley State, the Fighting Scots looked primed to get into the win column after a fast 14-0 start. Bloomsburg, meanwhile, also came in at 0-1, dropping their season opener against Stonehill University, 33-14.

That 14-0 lead would be sliced to 14-6 late in the first half after a botched punt snap. Bloomsburg took over deep in Fighting Scots territory, at their 10-yard-line, while they then punched it in for a quick touchdown. They would outscore them in the second half, 18-7.

In the Grand Valley season opener, ‘Boro struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. If not for the outstanding play of the defense, they could have been looking at a blowout defeat. The freshman backfield was only able to capture 13 yards on the ground, while the air attack only accounted for 107 yards.

The Scots aimed to change that heading into the contest against Bloomsburg, showing a renewed spirit on their first possession. After a short kick and a good return, the Scots came out firing from a no-huddle offense. Two quick passes to Ta’Nauz Gregory showcased how fast the Scots planned to push the pace of the offense. These short passes got junior quarterback Andrew Tomko going, while he would also carry the ball himself for 34 yards on that first drive.

The Scots would put six on the board in a hurry, a swing pass to the freshman running back Dorian Woody allowing him to celebrate his first collegiate touchdown.

Bloomsburg’s first drive started at the 20-yard line after a booming kick from Vicente Arriagada resulted in a touchback. Running off hype from the opening drive touchdown, ‘Boro’s defense picked up right where it left off, able to force the Huskies off the field almost as fast as they took it. After short gains on first and second down, the Scots forced a three-and-out.

Edinboro continued the fast pace of the game on their next drive, sticking with the no-huddle. After a loss of two, the Scots found themselves in a third-and-12. Tomko would complete a pass up the middle, but ‘Boro didn’t have enough to move the chains. This second drive ended in a punt, although they still moved the ball efficiently.

Edinboro would eventually score the second touchdown of the game early in the second quarter after a long, hard fought 74-yard drive. Freshman running back CJ Reyes-Diggs converted a huge third-and-eight early in the drive that helped spark the Scots’ march down the field. After two more catches from Gregory (he had 7 total in the game), along with two big penalties committed by the Huskies, the Scots found themselves just inside the redzone. Tomko then finished off the Edinboro drive with an unscathed scramble from 19 yards out. The extra point put the stamp on a beautiful series of plays by Edinboro, eating up five minutes of game clock.

A special teams mistake by the Scots would end up being the turning point of the contest. As they lined up to punt the ball away, a bad snap would give the Huskies their best field position of the day.

Beginning the drive at the Edinboro 10-yard line, they only needed two plays to finally put points on the board. Qmar Quiteh broke the plane on an 8-yard rush with 1:58 left in the first half. Myles Turner blocked the extra point though, and the game went to halftime with the Scots leading 14-6.

The Huskies began the second half similar to the way Edinboro began the game. A penalty on the kickoff granted them fantastic field position. A 36-yard pass from quarterback Logan Leiby to Michael Allen set the Huskies up with a first and goal at the ‘Boro 10-yard line. After a loss of yards on the previously play, Leiby found a wide-open Duffy Gilhool in the corner of the endzone for the score. The successful PAT left the Scots clinging onto a 14-13 lead.

Feeling their once comfortable lead slip away, ‘Boro would quickly respond. Tomko found Gregory streaking down the field on a connection good for 61 yards, being forced out at the 2-yard line. The huge gain put the Scots right back in business, as two plays later Tomko secured his second touchdown of the day on a 2-yard scramble. Arriagada punched in the PTA, bolstering the Scots lead.

Exploding back came the Huskies, putting together a 6-minute, 14-play drive. After it eventually slowed to a stand-still, they called on kicker Cameron Shollenberger, who demonstrated his range with a 37-yard field goal. This would close the gap to 21-16.

The Huskies found themselves with the ball again after the Scots failed to make anything happen on two separate drives. The Leiby to Allen chemistry showed itself again after a 41-yard completion.

The Huskies next snap would be taken at ‘Boro’s 3-yard line. Freshman linebacker Saige Levy and junior defensive end Tarique Smith came up with two huge plays for the Scots, knocking the Huskies back 19 yards. Shollenberger’s name was called to attempt another 37-yard field goal. This time around, he was unsuccessful.

An increasingly important drive began for the Scots at their own 22-yard line. A crucial and untimely holding penalty pushed ‘Boro back, stuffing them in between their own goal line and the now surging Huskies defense. The offense wasn’t able to get anything going and were forced to punt.

Punter Corey Badaracco’s kick was fielded by Bloomsburg’s Michael Allen at his own 35-yard line. After slipping a few tackles, Allen only had the grass and the goal posts between himself and six points. The Huskies put the final points on the board with 4:50 remaining in the game. Allen is credited with the game-winning 65-yard return, and after the successful PAT, this sequence gave Bloomsburg their first lead, 24-21.

Edinboro was granted one last opportunity to either knot the score up, or take the outright lead. The Scots would end up completing a third-and-10, with a 19-yard pass from Tomko to Andre Dowdell Jr. However, a turnover on downs would eventually hand the ball back to Bloomsburg.

The Huskies completed a third-and-6 after a good effort from the ‘Boro defense, running out the rest of the clock.
Edinboro traditionally owns this matchup, having a 7-4 record when these teams go head-to-head, and hadn’t given a game away to Bloomsburg since the 2013 season.

The Scots will continue to chase their first win next week in East Stroudsburg, where they will take on the Warriors on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1:05 p.m.

Additional Photos:

QB Andrew Tomko surveys the field. | Photo: Jamie HeinrichVincente Arriagada kicks off. | Photo: Jamie Heinrich

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