LANCASTER, Pa. – Seventy-seven points and 870 yards of offense were racked up between the Susquehanna and Franklin & Marshall football squads on Saturday afternoon in Lancaster. Unfortunately for SU, the Crusaders fell just five points shy of the win, falling 41-36 in their second-to-last road game of the season.
Susquehanna (1-7, 1-6) put up 16 points in the fourth quarter as the team attempted to comeback from a 28-20 deficit but the Diplomats (5-3, 5-2) countered with 13 points of their own to secure their lead and hold on for the win.
SU wideout Denzell Walker (Baltimore, Md./McDonough School) highlighted the offensive performance with 11 receptions for 201 yards and two touchdowns. His 11 receptions were the fourth-most in a single game in Crusader history while his 201 yards were fifth-most.
Quarterback Mark Rosenbaum (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) racked up 318 yards through the air, going 22-for-33 with zero interceptions. On the ground, Tim Wade (Doylestown, Pa./La Salle College HS) was held to just 54 yards on 22 carries as Susquehanna had only 91 yards rushing on the day versus 197 by Franklin & Marshall.
The first quarter certainly did not give any indication of the offensive explosion that was to come as the teams each put up just one touchdown apiece. The Diplomats got on the board first when a T.J. Morton [Elkton, Md./Salesianum (Del.)] punt was blocked and returned 10 yards by Nick Porcelli for a 7-0 game just three minutes into the action.
It took SU just over two minutes to respond, though, when Pat Murtha (Farmingdale, N.J./Colts Neck) broke through for a two-yard rushing score and after a Spencer Hotaling (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area) PAT, it was knotted at seven.
The Diplomats added 14 points in the second quarter while their defense held the Crusaders to just one Hotaling field goal, a 32-yarder as time expired in the half that made it 21-10 still in favor of F&M.
Whatever head coach Steve Briggs said to his team at halftime seemed to work as SU came out of the locker room and promptly put together two unanswered scoring drives. Walker reeled in an 18-yard pass from Joe Dorsey (Randallstown, Md./Franklin) for a touchdown that cut the lead to 21-17 and Hotaling knocked a 30-yard field goal through the uprights to suddenly make it a 21-20 ballgame.
Unfortunately, the Diplomats ended the quarter with a touchdown to go back up by eight (28-20) with just one quarter left to play.
Susquehanna was not ready to call it a day, however, as Rosenbaum connected with Walker for a 13-yard score. SU’s two-point conversation attempt failed, though, to keep it 28-26 with 14:27 still to play.
F&M added another touchdown just 66 seconds later before Hotaling connected on his third field goal of the game, this time a career-long 43-yarder, for a 35-29 score with 9:13 on the clock.
The Diplomats’ offense kept putting points on the board, though, adding another touchdown to take a 12-point lead (41-29) while leaving the Crusaders only 2:42 with which to work.
With 1:39 on the clock, Will Howell (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Rosenbaum and a Hotaling PAT made it a one-score game at 41-36. SU did get the ball back but ran out of time on its last drive to complete a comeback.
Defensively, Ian Murray (Tyrone, Pa./Tyrone) led the team with 12 tackles while Cody Miller (Towanda, Pa./Towanda) added 10 solo tackles, three of which went for a loss.
SU plays its final home game of the season next Saturday when the Crusaders play host to McDaniel for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The team’s senior members will be honored prior to the start of the game.
Football Loses Shootout at Franklin & Marshall