Bloomsburg hosts East Stroudsburg in PSAC matchup after pair of disappointing starts to the season.
The Huskies, sitting at 2-5 after a 17-14 loss to undefeated West Chester, will look to rebound and get back to their winning ways against the 1-5 Warriors. Bloomsburg led 14-3 at the half against the Rams, before relenting a touchdown in each of the final two quarters, capped off by a 26-yard A.J. Long touchdown pass with 10:41 remaining. The Huskies turned it over on downs with 42 seconds left to play, clinching the Rams win.
ESU is hoping to turn things around as Denny Dowds’ squad has dropped four straight after a brutal 35-33 defeat to ranked Kutztown. The Warriors last three losses have all come by three points or less. Ben Moser found Anthony Guarino for a 38-yard score with 45 seconds left, but the tying two-point conversion attempt failed. ESU scored 20 4th quarter points in the rally effort.
Paul Darragh’s bunch is still struggling a bit on the offensive side of the football, averaging just 18 points per game in 2018. The yardage numbers have been low as well, with the unit gaining just over 280 yards per contest. The Huskies could look to get off to better starts, being outscored 27-13 in the 1st quarter this year.
Erik Benjamin’s completion percentage sits under 48 percent on the season, throwing for 780 yards and five touchdowns. Benjamin has added five rushing touchdowns despite negative rushing yardage. Three backs have at least 45 carries and at least 250 yards on the ground for the Huskies. Hakeem Sillman leads the trio with 69 carries and 339 yards, but both Alex Gooden and Qmac Quiteh average more yards per carry and 5.4 and 5.5 respectively. Bloom is running for over 150 yards a game while only throwing for 130. Michael Allen is the leading receiver with 24 catches for 268 yards and three of the five scores through the air. Allen has at least two receptions in every game with a season-high seven coming against Kutztown two weeks ago.
ESU’s offense hasn’t been a big issue for Coach Dowds, averaging nearly 28 points per contest and racking up nearly 400 yards. Ben Moser has stepped back into the quarterbacking role after losing time to Jake Cirillo earlier in the year. Cirillo threw 13 passes on Saturday, but Moser took over throwing for 286 yards and three scores. Moser has to take better care of the football, throwing ten interceptions to eight touchdown passes. Jaymar Anderson continues his strong season, rushing for 637 yards and eight scores after another 100-yard output against Kutztown. Jylil Reeder is the favorite target with 27 receptions, 529 yards and five scores. R.J. Sarajian and Guarino each have three receiving touchdowns.
The blame for Bloom’s uncharacteristic struggles can’t be blamed on the defensive side of the ball. The unit has been solid, allowing 22.7 points per game and 336.8 yards of offense per game after holding high-powered West Chester to 17 points. The Huskies have forced 11 turnovers, picking off eight passes this season. Dexter Jordan and Marquis Seamon have been ballhawks with three interceptions each. Jordan also has a fumble recovery, giving him four takeaways this season. Nate Monroe and Alex Annan lead the front seven, registering 50 and 48 tackles respectively. Chris Gary has 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
The blame for East Stroudsburg’s struggles can be blamed on the defensive side of the ball. The Warriors are allowing teams to rack up over 530 yards of offense per game, while scoring 37 points per contest. Allowing 222 points this season, the unit has given 127 first half points this year. They have forced seven turnovers, led by two interceptions and a fumble forced by Billy Inge III. Joshua Taylor leads the team with 43 tackles and has added an interception and a blocked kick.
A matchup with plenty of history, ESU leads the all-time series 44-42-2. Last year’s contest was a 38-28 Bloomsburg victory as the Huskies have won back-to-back games and look to make it three straight. Bloomsburg needs a win if they hope to avoid the first losing season of the Darragh era while Coach Dowds’ team will try to turn three straight close losses into their second win of the season.
TIME: Saturday, October 13th, 2 p.m.
WATCH LIVE: WSWB CW 38, WHP 21.2 My Network, WPNT 22 The Point, WJAC 6.2 MeTV, BLUE RIDGE CABLE NETWORK, Erie News Now (ENN+)
ANNOUNCERS: Geoff Arnold (play-by-play), Colin Riccobon (analyst), Varun Raghupathi (sidelines)