LANCASTER, Pa. – Looking at the box score, fans would never realize the Susquehanna football team did indeed play in a snowy, windy game on Saturday at Franklin & Marshall as the Crusaders came away with a decisive 40-13 victory over the Diplomats.
SU (5-3, 4-3), thanks in large part to four Greg Tellish (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) touchdowns, defeated F&M (3-5, 3-4) for the first time in program history and secured a non-losing season in the process.
SU outgained the Diplomats 325-215, with 179 of those yards coming on the ground. The Crusaders also held the ball for 7:30 more than F&M and had 19 first downs to the Diplomats’ nine.
Tellish finished with a game-high 132 yards on the ground and 87 receiving yards. Three of his four touchdowns were of the rushing variety and he averaged 4.6 yards per carry.
QB Rich Palazzi (Newfoundland, Pa./Wallenpaupack) had a modest 9-for-14 day while battling weather conditions that were not exactly conducive to passing the ball.
On the defensive side of the field, Jack McCarty (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) and Trevor Terpening (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) had a team-leading six tackles apiece, all of which were of the solo variety. Will Dyson (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) accounted for SU’s lone interception of the game.
Tellish opened the scoring with a 15-yard run into the end zone with 9:36 on the clock. Spencer Hotaling (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) connected on the PAT for an early, 7-0 Crusaders lead.
Tellish made it back-to-back touchdowns midway through the second quarter when he reeled in a Palazzi pass and ran it 57 yards for the score. Hotaling missed the PAT but SU still retained a 13-0 edge.
After the 13-point first half, Susquehanna erupted for 27 second-half points to run away with the win. The teams both tossed interceptions on their first drives of the third quarter but SU, or more specifically Tellish, rebounded quickly. With 9:17 on the clock, Tellish found the end zone for the third time on a 13-yard run. Despite another missed PAT, which proved problematic all game due to the conditions, it stood 19-0 SU.
Tellish finally let someone else put points on the board when Palazzi took matters into his own hands and ran a QB sneak into the Moravian end zone for a 26-0 lead after Hotaling’s successful PAT.
The Diplomats broke up the shutout just over three minutes later when John Kaschak ran for 34 yards into the SU end zone to make it a 26-7 ballgame, which remained the score at the end of three quarters.
There was no stopping Tellish, though. Just 2:51 into the fourth and final quarter, he again worked his way into the end zone for his fourth touchdown on the afternoon and a 33-7 Crusader advantage.
F&M responded with seven points of its own to cut SU’s lead to 33-14 but it was too little too late. Matt Lottes (Muttontown, N.Y./Long Island Lutheran) entered the game to give Palazzi a rest and promptly ran another successful QB sneak to put his squad up by 26 with less than eight minutes remaining.
SU returns home next weekend to host McDaniel on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Senior Day.