Turnovers Spur #24/25 Bloomsburg Past Stonehill, 24-7

Senior All-American Brian Harrington led the Skyhawks defense with 11 tackles. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Huskies pull away in second half, keyed by five turnovers

EASTON, Mass. (September 6, 2014) – Bloomsburg University, ranked 24th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II preseason poll and 25th in the d2football.com preseason rankings, took advantage of five Stonehill College turnovers to claim a 24-7 triumph in non-conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin, '80 Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Stonehill outgained Bloomsburg for the first time in their three meetings in the young series as the Skyhawks finished with 309 total yards, on 246 passing yards and 63 yards on the ground. The Skyhawks, who took a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter, were hurt by five turnovers with three coming in the first half to keep Bloomsburg within arm's reach. The Huskies wore the hosts down in the second half with 21 points and 153 of their 224 total yards, finishing with 211 yards rushing (152 second half) and just 13 through the air.

Senior linebacker Justin Shirk (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.) led the Bloomsburg offense with nine tackles (five solo), including 1.5 for a loss of 11 yards, with 1.0 sacks for a loss of ten, and two forced fumbles. Junior Damin Finley (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania) added seven stops (three solo), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and interception. Sophomore Jerrin Toomey (York, Pennsylvania) contributed five tackles (four solo), while junior Donovan Morris (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) chipped in with an interception, pass breakup and three tackles (two solo).

Sophomore Colin Smith collected his first career touchdown pass to lead the offense. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Senior Eddie Mateo (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) scored two of Bloomsburg's three touchdowns as he paced the offense with 105 rushing yards on 19 carries, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. Junior Dai'Shon Munger (Westhampton, New Jersey) added 63 yards on 13 carries, while senior quarterback Brady Knerr (Macungie, Pennsylvania) completed just 3-of-18 passes in his first career start for 13 yards, but the Huskies didn't have a turnover on the afternoon.

Stonehill's defense was strong throughout, led by senior All-American linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Massachusetts/Rockland) with a game-high 11 tackles (three solo), marking his 12th double-figure tackle effort over the last two seasons. Junior Anthony Masucci (East Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame) added eight tackle assists, while senior Sterry Codrington (Freehold, New Jersey/Freehold Boro) finished with seven stops (three solo) and a pass breakup. Junior Peter Catal (Cornwall, New York/Cornwall) weighed in with six tackles (four solo) in his collegiate debut, including a game-high 3.0 for a loss of four yards and a quarterback hurry. Senior Nate Morris (Bristol, Rhode Island/Wheeler School) chipped in with five tackles (four solo), including 1.0 for a loss of a yard, and two breakups.

Senior Joe Della Vecchia (Stratford, Connecticut/Saint Joseph) and junior Moe Regan (West Roxbury, Massachusetts/BC High) split the quarterbacking duties for Stonehill, with Della Vecchia making his second career start and completing 5-of-10 passes for 39 yards with an interception. Regan was 19-for-33 for 207 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Sophomore tight end Colin Smith (Ipswich, Massachusetts/The Governor's Academy) caught three passes for a team and career-high 63 yards with a touchdown, while senior Zaire Reiph (Norwalk, Connecticut/Saint Luke's School) posted a game-high 130 all-purpose yards with 100 yards on four kickoff returns to go with a team-high five receptions for 30 yards. Junior Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk) rushed the ball 11 times for 52 yards to go with five catches for 28.

Bloomsburg took the lead after Stonehill turned the ball on downs at midfield midway through the third quarter. Mateo's first touchdown of the afternoon came with an 18 yard run up the middle on third and three to cap a nine play, 52-yard drive. The Huskies converted a fake punt on fourth and three from the Stonehill 45 to extend the drive.

Junior Peter Catal posted three tackles for a loss in his collegiate debut today.

Bloomsburg extended its lead to ten points when fullback Brody Myers (Akon, Pennsylvania) bowled up the middle from five yards out with 11:13 remaining in the fourth quarter after Shirk stripped Markus on first down from the Skyhawks 32 and senior Tomas Cabrera (Hanover, Pennsylvania) recovered before the Huskies scored four plays later.

Shirk forced another fumble with a sack of Della Vecchia at the Bloomsburg 45 and Mateo capped a ten play 47 yard push with a five touchdown yard run with 2:57 remaining to seal the victory. All ten plays on the drive were on the ground with Mateo getting the ball five times for 23 yards.

Stonehill broke through first as the defenses controlled the first half when a first down pass from Regan tipped off the intended receiver and a Bloomsburg defender before falling into Smith's hands before the tight end rumbled into the end zone for the first time in his career with a 48 yard score with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter. Bloomsburg got on the scoreboard with its next possession on a 39-yard field goal by junior Braden Drexler (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) with 59-seconds to go at the end of a 12-play drive that stalled at the Stonehill 22.

Stonehill forced Bloomsburg into a three and out on the opening drive of the second half and got great field position with a bad punt that was downed at the Skyhawks 48. Regan moved Stonehill to the Huskies 35 before the drive stalled, but senior Ryan Handy (Howell, New Jersey/Howell) pinned Bloomsburg inside the five yard line with a well-placed 32 yard punt.

Stonehill got great field position again at its 43 yard line after a Bloomsburg punt, but was unable to get a first down before turning the ball over on downs to set up the Huskies first touchdown.          

Stonehill (0-1, 0-0 NE-10) is back in action on Friday night, September 12, when it opens its Northeast-10 Conference schedule at rival Bentley University at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Saturday, September 27, to host Merrimack College as part of Family Weekend at the College at 6 p.m. Bloomsburg (1-0, 0-0 PSAC) hosts California (Pa.) University next Saturday at 2 p.m.

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