SELINSGROVE, Pa. – A decisive 21-0 blanking by the Susquehanna football team of longtime rival Juniata on Saturday afternoon brought the Goal Post Trophy back to the SU campus after a one-year absence.
The Crusaders (6-4, 5-4) sealed their second-straight winning season, the first time that has happened in a dozen years. The win was also the team's second shutout of the fall and improved SU's record to 28-24-1 in the Goal Post Trophy rivalry, which dates back to 1953.
Touchdowns from three different Crusaders and a defense that allowed only 259 yards to Juniata, recorded two sacks, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups all added up to the three-touchdown win over the Eagles (3-7, 2-7).
In fact, the SU defense did not allow Juniata to reach the red zone all afternoon and limited the Eagles to just 23:33 minutes of possession. Five different SU players accounted for the 10 pass breakups, led by four from Cody Miller (Towanda, Pa./Towanda), who also added two tackles and one interception.
Two seniors – Spenser Ercole (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg Area) and Mike Ritter (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) – combined for two of the three SU touchdowns. Ritter led the SU receivers with nine catches for 118 yards in his final collegiate game. Ercole caught three balls for 53 yards and sophomore quarterback Taylor Kolmer (Churchville, Pa./Churchville) finished 25-for-37 for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
Midway through the first quarter Ercole broke a scoreless game with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kolmer that capped off an efficient seven-play, 60-yard drive that took 3:14 off the clock.
A scoreless second quarter was aided by a three-and-out by Juniata with 1:38 on the clock, a drive that ended with a Mike Statuti sack on third and 10.
The third quarter nearly passed without another score before Ritter worked his way into the endzone for a 14-0 ballgame.
The way the SU defense was playing it appeared as if 14 points would be more than enough to secure the win, but freshman running back Tim Wade (Doylestown, Pa./La Salle College HS) bulldozed his way three yards into the Juniata endzone with 5:25 left in the contest to put his squad ahead by 21.
Any chance the Eagles had at finding the endzone came to an end when Will Dyson (Souderton, Pa./Souderton) intercepted Ward Udinski at the Susquehanna 10-yard line with just 1:21 left.
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