The UR football team earned its fifth straight win on Saturday in a 38-20 manhandling of Susquehanna University.
Led by freshman running back Clarence Onyiriuka, the Yellowjackets rushed for 282 yards, 219 of which came from Onyiriuka, and their offensive domination was supplemented with 282 passing yards, including a 54-yard touchdown pass.
Susquehanna looked to be a possible threat, as it started off the game’s scoring. With a little under six minutes left in the first quarter, it finished an 11-play, 92-yard drive with running back Dave Palvatez making a 1-yard leap into the end zone over a mass of defenders. With that, Susquehanna took the lead, 7-0.
Its lead didn’t last long, however. On the ensuing drive, UR started at its own 26-yard line and quickly moved down the field. Onyiriuka made a 15-yard run for a first down, which was followed by two short runs. On the next play, sophomore quarterback Adam Barrett threw a bomb to sophomore wide receiver Zach Ingoldsby, who ran it down to the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown for his second touchdown of the season. The following PAT from sophomore kicker Griffin Moar evened up the score at seven.
After a three-and-out from the Crusaders’ offense, the Yellowjackets took the ball and, soon after, they took the lead with a 5-play, 51-yard drive. Onyiriuka moved the ball down the field with a 36-yard run. This placed the ball at Susquehanna’s eight. On a second-and-seven, Onyiriuka finished off the drive just a few seconds after the start of the second quarter to give the ‘Jackets a 14-7 lead – a lead that they kept for the rest of the game.
UR’s next drive ended in an interception. However, the Crusaders were unable to capitalize and were forced to punt the ball back to the ‘Jackets.
UR started at its own 31-yard line, and, midway through the second quarter, Barrett sent a 15-yard pass to Onyiriuka, who scored for the second time in the game. Moar’s PAT attempt failed, and the Yellowjackets took a 20-7 lead.
The Crusaders gave the ‘Jackets a scare by responding strongly in their next possession. Susquehanna followed UR’s touchdown with a 4-play, 56-yard drive in just over a minute of play to make the score 20-14 with just over five minutes left in the first half. This remained the score as the game entered halftime.
UR started the second half strongly, though, making a 9-play, 62-yard drive that ended in a 4-yard run into the end zone from Onyiriuka after receiving the kickoff to start the half. The team successfully attempted a 2-point conversion with a run across the goal line from Onyiriuka to make the score 28-14 and give the ‘Jackets some insurance.
Onyiriuka scored his fourth touchdown of the game with a little over two minutes left in the third quarter. The drive started when senior defensive back Andy Rape returned a punt 24 yards to place the ball at Susquehanna’s 35-yard line. In two plays, the ball was in the end zone off a 21-yard run from Onyiriuka, making the score 35-14.
The Crusaders attempted one more comeback with a touchdown on their return possession, but it was too little too late.
Their 10-play, 71-yard drive ended with a touchdown just into the fourth quarter. However, this was the last score of the game for Susquehanna.
UR’s final score of the game came after an interception at the Susquehanna 43. The drive ended when Moar kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the final score of the game, 38-20.
Filling in as the lead running back for senior Matt Bielecki, who sat out due to injury on Saturday, Onyiriuka’s performance earned him the title of Liberty League Co-Offensive Performer of the Week.
He is the first freshman at UR in 13 years to score four touchdowns in one game. He now totals nine touchdowns for the season, which ties him with Bielecki for the lead. His rushing yard total is currently at 519 yards, averaging 64.9 per game.
The Yellowjackets are now 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Liberty League, which ties them for third place in the league with Hobart College.
This weekend, they travel to face Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. RPI is currently tied with Union College for first place in the Liberty League. The ‘Jackets then finish out the regular season at Hobart.
Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.