SU Faces JHU in Conference Opener

SU Faces JHU in Conference Opener

This Saturday, Susquehanna and Johns Hopkins both kick off the 2011 Centennial Conference portions of their schedules as SU travels to Baltimore for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Complete Game Notes

There was a lot that led up to Susquehanna’s 33-30 overtime win against Wilkes last Saturday afternoon, but what will stand out most was the game-winning field off the leg of freshman kicker Spencer Hotaling.
    The Crusaders closed out the fourth quarter with back-to-back scores over the final three minutes, including a game-tying two-point conversation, to force overtime after trailing by 15 (30-15) with just 7:07 left.

    An early second-half rally by Susquehanna team was halted by costly miscues and a high-powered Johns Hopkins offense as the Crusaders dropped a 49-24 home decision to the Blue Jays on Oct. 23 of last season.
    That game, part of SU’s Homecoming Weekend, saw SU put up a fight after going down 28-7 with a second-half rally that cut JHU’s lead to only four points, but turnovers late in the contest proved to be the Crusaders’ downfall.

    Senior quarterback Rich Palazzi was instrumental in helping his squad take down Wilkes and his efforts earned him Centennial Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors.
    Palazzi completed 36-of-57 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns in SU’s 33-30 victory.
    His 36 completions are the best single-game mark in program history while his 421 yards are good for second all-time in single-game history, behind only Todd Coolidge (494 vs. Muhlenberg – Sept. 12, 1987).

    The Crusaders’ overtime game on Saturday was its first in four years when SU lost a 49-42 decision at St. Lawrence on Sept. 22, 2007.
    Saturday’s win was its first overtime victory since Sept. 18, 1999 in a 27-26 home win against King’s.

    Senior Mike Ritter received preseason honors from, as the wide receiver earned All-America North Offense Second Team honors from the organization.
    Ritter was one of 11 Centennial Conference players, and one of only four offensive players, to receive Preseason All-America honors, for which only seniors are eligible.
    Ritter is coming off a career year, one in which he was named a First-Team All-Centennial Conference player. During his junior campaign, he put up some of the best single-season numbers by a Crusader wide receiver in recent history. He led SU with 68 catches for 963 yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing one game due to injury. He averaged 107 yards per game and his 68 receptions were the fourth-best single-season mark while his 963 yards ranked him fifth.

    Seniors Jesse Eggerton, Matt Knouse and Mike Ritter will serve as tri-captains in 2011.

    Head coach Steve Briggs is back for his 22nd season at the helm of the program. Briggs, the 2009 Liberty League Coach of the Year, has compiled a career record of 114-106, making him the winningest coach in program history.
    Briggs’s coaching staff has a few familiar faces, as well as many new ones. Returning are offensive coordinator Nate Milne, defensive coordinator Brad Fordyce, quarterback coach Scott Knapp and running backs coach Derek Pope ’09.
    The additions to this year’s staff include Paul Russick ’10 (Asst. OL), Eric Walker (DL), Mark Ryan (SE), Mike Weick (LB), Skyler Fultz (TE) and Mike Ferriero (Asst. DB).

    Among the most glaring absences on the sidelines this year is that of longtime SU football legend Bob Pittello ’51, who passed away in January.
    Pittello, a member of the SU Sports Hall of Fame, was both a player and coach for the Crusaders for nearly five decades and was active in the collegiate football world for more than 50 years.
    Pittello had been with the team as either a player or a coach longer than anyone in the program’s history and was the only player in team history to have his jersey number retired. The University retired his No. 66 during the 1998 season. In 2001, the football locker room was formally named in Pittello’s honor.

    Former SU standout quarterback and current assistant coach Derek Pope ’09 spent the offseason doing something familiar - playing quarterback - in an unfamiliar location - Finland. Pope was signed by Vantaa Taft of the American Footbal Association of Finland and earned the starting nod.
    Pope helped lead his squad to its second-straight championship.

    The football team was one of a handful of varsity Susquehanna teams who took a break from preseason to help a worthy cause.
    On Aug. 20 and 27, coaches, teams and players traveled to the Little League World Series to raise money for Big Brother, Big Sisters.

    Six players on the 2011 roster hail from Selinsgrove, Pa.—the home of the university: senior linebacker Justin Stover, senior split end Mike Ritter, junior defensive back Teighler Doak, junior linebacker Aaron Inch, sophomore defensive lineman Jon Trego and freshman kicker Spencer Hotaling.

    Not only was Sept. 4, 2010 the first game of the fall for Susquehanna, it was also its first game as a member of the Centennial Conference.
    The Crusaders’ final one as a member of the Liberty League came in 2009, capping off a three-year tenure with the conference.
    The Crusaders were picked to finish in a tie for eighth in the preseason Centennial Conference poll, voted upon by the coaches. Ten teams will compete for the Centennial Conference championship this fall.
    Johns Hopkins, which grabbed a share of the 2010 Centennial Conference Championship, topped this year’s poll.
    1.     Johns Hopkins (14) - 157
    2.     Ursinus - 130
    3.     Muhlenberg (4) - 129
    4.     Franklin & Marshall (2) - 116
    5.     Moravian - 98
    6.     Gettysburg - 79
    7.     Dickinson - 66
    8.     McDaniel - 54
            Susquehanna - 54
    10.     Juniata - 18
() indicates first place votes

    The Susquehanna University Quarterback Club luncheons are back this season.
    The luncheons are held every Friday at noon throughout the football season.         
    As in years past, the event will take place in the Apple Community Room of the James W. Garrett Sports Complex on the Susquehanna campus.
    A yearly membership to the QB Club is $40. Every week features the weekly Gus Weber Crusader Player of the Week.
    Also, don’t forget about helping support all of SU’s athletic teams by donating to the Varsity Club. Information can be found online at

    Last February, Susquehanna University inducted seven members into the SU Sports Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2011. The class included three individuals with connections to the football program: Mike Gerhart ’95, dedicated SU employee Joe Herb ’63 and Tim Lawlor ’77.        Gerhart was a star on the football field as a three-year starter at cornerback who finished his career with 148 tackles, six interceptions and 25 pass breakups. Gerhart was a two-time MAC All-Star and was named Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior. His senior season, he tied the NCAA Division III record with a 100-yard interception return.
    Herb’s induction stood out as he entered the Hall of Fame not only as a former student-athlete at Susquehanna, but also for his 40 years of service to the University. Herb was a varsity letterman on the baseball team during his days as a Crusader. After graduation, he began assisting the football program by filming both home and away games for 40 years.
    Lawlor was a four-year starter who still stands near the top of several all-time lists. As a freshman, he set the single-season rushing record for a Susquehanna rookie after rushing for 669 yards in 1973. At the time, Lawlor was the first freshman to rush for at least 500 yards in a season. His rookie record mark stood until 2006 when Dave Paveletz ’10 set a new record.

    Fans can now keep up-to-date on all things Crusaders in a variety of ways. Susquehanna’s athletic website,, remains the place to visit for game recaps, statistics and more.
    In addition, fans can follow GoSusQu on where links to releases, in-game updates and more are posted.
    Finally, SU athletics recently launched its own facebook page. Fans can search Susquehanna Crusaders on and become a friend in order to access photos, links to recaps and stories, in-game updates and more.

    On Sept. 2, Crusader fans who logged onto may have noticed something different - like an entirely new website! The new-look site contains all of the same information fans expect from the previous site but with an updated look. Make sure to check it out for yourself!