Offense and Defense Clicks in 38-7 Win over Dickinson

Offense and Defense Clicks in 38-7 Win over Dickinson

Quarterback Nick Crusco threw for 210 yards and ran for 50 more, Cameron Ott rushed for 88 yards and Mikah Christian finished with 91 yards receiving while Connor Thompson made 11 tackles and Ryan Ganard intercepted a pass as the Susquehanna University Football team rolled to a 38-7 victory over Dickinson College Saturday afternoon in a Centennial Conference game on Amos Alonzo Stagg Field in Selinsgrove.

The River Hawks (3-2 Overall, 2-1 Centennial) scored a pair of early touchdowns in the first quarter and added two more in the third quarter before finishing the game with a pair of scoring drives in the final quarter including a 50-yard punt return by Terrell Brown for the Susquehanna scoring.

Dickinson (1-4, 1-3) scored its only touchdown in the first quarter after recovering an onside kick attempt to give the Red Devils field position inside Susquehanna territory.

The River Hawks had three long scoring drives with scoring drives of 11, 10 and 11 plays each and an additional scoring drive of 10 plays that ended with a field goal by Connor Lustenberger as Susquehanna controlled the clock.

The Susquehanna defense was on top of its game forcing seven punts and stopping drives with a forced fumble and interception. The Devils did not get into the Susquehanna half of the field for the entire second half and only once in the final three quarters.

The River Hawks opened the game with a long 11-play scoring drive capped by a five-yard Ott run. The big play in the drive came near midfield on a long third-down situation with a pass attempt to Christian that was flagged for pass interference. Crusco also had a key 13-yard run on a third-and-short later in the drive to put the ball in the red zone at the Dickinson 18-yard line.

On the ensuing drive, the Susquehanna defense showed its strength with a forced fumble by Thompson on the third play of the drive giving the ball back to the River Hawks offense inside the Dickinson 40.

After two Ott runs including one for 19 yards, Crusco connected with Christian for a 15-yard TD pass and catch to give Susquehanna an early 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Susquehanna attempted an onside kick but the ball was touched before traveling 10 yards and Dickinson had good field position and ran the ball eight of the nine plays in the drive that was capped by a nine-yard TD run to trim the lead to 14-7.

After an interception on the next Susquehanna drive, the defense stepped up again forcing a short drive when a fourth-down attempt was stopped with an incomplete pass as Susquehanna took over passion on downs.

Two plays later, Dickinson had the ball again after a Susquehanna fumble but the defense forced another three-and-out drive that ended with a Dickinson punt.

Neither team was able to score in the second quarter as the River Hawks took the 14-7 lead into the halftime break.

Susquehanna avoided disaster after a fumbled punt return as Tucker Garner came up with the loose ball to retain possession for the River Hawks.

Susquehanna took advantage of the break and marched down the field with a 10-play 45-yard drive capped by a four-yard Diamente Holloway run into the end zone as the River Hawks went up by a 21-7 score.

Ganard intercepted a pass on the next Dickinson drive and Crusco engineered another long drive with an 11-play drive capped by a Crusco pass to Holloway and a 28-7 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Lustenberger kicked a 27-yard field goal early in the period for a 31-7 lead and Brown returned a punt late in the quarter for a 50-yard score. It was the first punt return for a TD since 2013 when Duke Hyacinthe returned a blocked punt three yards for a TD against Muhlenberg.

Susquehanna put together 387 yards of total offense on the day and limited Dickinson to 157 yards. The Red Devils were 3-for-12 on third down conversions and 0-for-2 of fourth down attempts.

Thompson led the Susquehanna defense with 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while Cole Dixon had eight tackles, two sacks and a pass break up. Ganard had the lone interception and Garner finished with five tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries.

The River Hawks will travel to Moravian for an October 7 Centennial Conference game and then return home after the off week for a Homecoming battle with Ursinus on October 21.