TOWSON, MD —
Frostburg State converted five Salisbury miscues into 35 points as the Bobcats trounced the 14th-ranked Sea Gulls, 37-7, in front of 2,500 rain-soaked fans in the Fourth Annual Regents Cup Game Saturday afternoon at Towson Stadium.
The Bobcats, who won their second straight Regents Cup title and third in the four-year history of the contest, also captured their second Atlantic Central Football Conference crown in the league’s four-year existence.
FSU finishes the season 6-4 overall and 3-0 in the ACFC and spoiled Salisbury's bid at a perfect regular season. The Sea Gulls fall to 9-1 overall and 2-1 in the league.
"We had all three facets of the game working today," said FSU head coach Rubin Stevenson, a 1987 graduate of Salisbury and a member of the last Sea Gull team to go undefeated in the regular season (10-0 in 1986). "We ran the ball extremely well on offense, the defensive line played great and we were outstanding on special teams."
Frostburg State, which evened the all-time series at 15 by winning for the 12th time in the last 14 meetings, opened an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a pair of Salisbury miscues on special teams.
The Sea Gulls took their first possession and moved to the FSU 30 before being forced to punt. The snap sailed over punter Rick Nistler’s head and rolled back to the Sea Gull 18, where Nistler turned and kicked it out of bounds along the Salisbury sideline.
The illegal kicking penalty set the Bobcats up at the SU 9, and FSU wasted little time capitalizing as junior Tim Pearson (Baltimore, Md./Lake Clifton) ran through a gaping hole and into the end zone on the next play to give the Bobcats a 7-0 lead.
The Sea Gulls then gave the ball right back to the Bobcats on the ensuing kickoff as returner Richard Mann fumbled after being drilled by FSU freshman Chris Lentz (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run).
Bobcat sophomore Ken Lavely (Middletown, Md./Middletown) recovered at the SU 28, and, three plays later, junior Grant Burrough (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) hit junior Roy Olson (Lexington Park, Md./Great Mills) with a 17-yard touchdown pass to give the Bobcats a 14-0 lead.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse for Salisbury, they did, as Mann again coughed up the ensuing kickoff after another hard hit by Lentz. FSU junior Rob Coffeen (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air) pounced on the ball and the Bobcats took over at SU 23, but their drive stalled and a 21-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
Salisbury's woes continued on its next possession, which ended when Bobcat junior A.B. Wilson (La Vale, Md./Allegany) nailed quarterback Dustin Johnson on a blitz from the blind side causing the freshman to fumble. Senior Allen Jordan (Edgewood, Md./Edgewood) recovered at the SU 29, but the Bobcats again couldn’t capitalize.
The Sea Gulls looked to get on the board on their next attempt, moving from their own 15 to midfield behind a pair of Johnson runs. But, the Bobcat defense came up big, as Lentz stripped running back Reggie Boyce and Jordan recovered at the FSU 41.
Pearson, who was used mostly in relief roles through most of the season, sparked the Bobcat ground game, ripping of runs of 18 and five yards before completing the drive with a 20-yard scamper that gave FSU a commanding 21-0 lead just over 17:00 into the game.
Pearson finished with a career-high 162 yards on 18 carries.
Salisbury, which hadn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game all season, continued to implode on special teams on its next possession. Punting from its 31, the snap again was high and rolled into the end zone, where Nistler fell onto the ball for a safety and a 23-0 Bobcat lead at the half.
FSU kept the pressure on in the second half and used another Sea Gull special teams blunder to score. Nistler’s punt from the SU 47 was blocked by Wilson, who corralled the bouncing ball at the Sea Gull 19 and raced into the end zone to give the Bobcats a 30-0 lead.
Salisbury finally got on the board late in the third when Boyce raced in from 21 yards out. The play was set up by a Bobcat fumble that was recovered by Mike Myrtle at the FSU 47.
Bobcat sophomore James Clash (Baltimore, Md./City College) put the finishing touches on FSU’s dominating performance when he stepped in front of a Johson pass and returned the ball 31 yards for a touchdown with 6:28 to play.
FSU shut down the Sea Gulls, who entered the game ranked No. 3 in the nation at 351.9 rushing yards per game, to the tune of just 78 yards on 54 attempts. SU lost 80 yards on the two bad punt snaps but was also stopped for 67 more negative yards by a strong Bobcat defensive effort.
"It was really big for us to get up on them early," said Stevenson. "We wanted to make them one dimensional and to have to throw the ball to win."
On the other side, FSU, which featured a passing attack that ranked among the nation's best at 298.0 yards per contest, turned to its running attack to control the game, amassing 154 yards on the ground.
Burrough, coming off a school-record 452-yard passing performance last week, was just 7-14 for 74 yards and a touchdown, but the Bobcats didn't need to turn to his arm, especially considering an average field position of their own 48-yard line.
FSU started four of its first five drives inside the SU 30 and outgained the Sea Gulls, 228-205 in total offense.
Johnson, who came into the game the nation's 26th leading rusher at 120.7 yards per game, was held to 52 yards on 22 carries. He was also just 9-of-20 for 127 yards and an interception.
Bobcat sophomore defensive lineman Kevin Culbert (Purcellville, Va./Loudoun Valley) earned Mike McGlinchey Player of the Game honors for FSU after recording a career-high 19 tackles, including seven solos, eight for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Sea Gull sophomore linebacker Brad DeHaven was named SU’s Player of the Game after making 10 stops and forcing a fumble.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303