Crusader Football Falls at Home to F&M

Crusader Football Falls at Home to F&M

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – In a game highlighted by big plays and an exciting finish, the Susquehanna football team just could not pull off the come-from-behind win, falling 13-8 at home against conference foe Franklin & Marshall.

Down 13-8 with 5:30 to play, Susquehanna's nine-play, 62-yard drive came to an end after the Crusaders turned the ball over on downs. Thus, with just 1:54 left in the game, the Diplomats (5-3, 4-3) were able to run the clock out and secure the five-point margin of victory. Penalties proved costly for the Crusaders, especially on that late, fourth-quarter drive.

The Crusaders (1-8, 1-7), whose depth was limited by injury, passed for 134 yards between starter Nick Crusco (Oak Ridge, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and backup Matt Thies (North Caldwell, N.J./West Essex), who replaced Crusco for good early in the fourth quarter. Crusco finished 7-for-24 for 58 yards while Thies went 6-for-14 for 76 yards.

Ian Richardson (Hatfield, Pa./Cavalry Christian) again had a 100-plus yard day with 103 yards on the ground. Casey Crotty (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy) led the receiving corps with four catches for 48 yards.

Defensively, one would be hard-pressed to find a more productive day than the one from Ian Murray (Tyrone, Pa./Tyrone) who had eight tackles, three for a loss, one sack, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.

With the game still scoreless early in the opening quarter, Franklin & Marshall's second drive of the day came to an abrupt end when Cody Miller (Towanda, Pa./Towanda) intercepted Matt Magarity on the very first play of the drive, giving SU the ball at the Diplomats' 26-yard line.

While the Crusaders were unable to get a touchdown out of the turnover, Spencer Hotaling (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area) did boot a 23-yard field goal for the 3-0 SU lead.

Unfortunately, F&M responded with a six-play, 58-yard drive that ended in a Magarity touchdown pass to Jordan Zackery. The tide turned quickly again in the Crusaders' favor, though, when Billy Zwicharowski's extra point was blocked by Jim Barry (Staten Island, N.Y./Brooklyn Poly Prep), recovered by Miller and returned 58 yards for a safety and a 6-5 ball game.

The lone second-quarter points came in the form of a Magarity 14-yard pass to Paul McGann for a 13-5 lead. The Diplomats had a chance to tack three more points on the board but a 45-yard Connor Ryan field goal attempt as time expired was short.

The teams traded drives in the third quarter but SU was driving as the game went into the final period of play. On third and eight, Crusco's pass to Buckley fell incomplete but Hotaling partially salvaged the drive with a 34-yard field goal to make it a five-point game (13-8).

The Diplomats had the ball on the SU two-yard line when Magarity fumbled the ball after being sacked by Murray. Susquehanna then got the ball back on their own eight-yard line with 5:30 to play.

Thies and the Susquehanna offense moved the ball to the F&M 21-yard line but a 15-yard clipping penalty moved the back to the 36-yard line for a first-and-25 situation. SU was unable to convert on an eventual fourth-and-19 play, ultimately sealing the win for the Diplomats.

The Crusaders take to the road for the final time this season when they travel to McDaniel on Nov. 8 for a 1 p.m. kickoff.