Frostburg State (2-7) seeks to salvage a disappointing season with an upset win today over Salisbury (9-0), which is ranked No. 5 in the AFCA poll, No. 6 in the Don Hansen Gazette poll and D3football.com poll.
The Bobcats are coming off a 30-19 road loss to Waynesburg and look to avoid their worst finish since a 2-8 mark in 1987. FSU is guaranteed back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since a three-year stretch from 1986-1988.
Salisbury, which pounded Shenandoah 42-7 last week, captured its first-ever Atlantic Central Football Conference championship with a 35-18 victory against Wesley October 30 and is seeking its third undefeated regular season in school history.
Frostburg State leads the all-time series with Salisbury by a slim 16-15 margin. The teams have met every year since 1973.
The Sea Gulls dominated the series in the 70’s and 80’s, winning 13 of the first 16 contests, but the Bobcats have turned the tables, claiming 13 of 15 battles since 1989.
Since the series was renamed the Regents Cup Game in 1999, FSU has won four of the last five meetings, including three straight.
Frostburg State Head Coach Rubin Stevenson (Salisbury ‘87) is in his fifth season at the helm of the Bobcat program. Stevenson, who holds a 21-27 record, has led FSU to two ACFC championships (2002 & 2003), three Regents Cup titles (2001, 2002 & 2003 – awarded to the annual winner of the FSU-Salisbury game) and one ECAC Southwest Championship game appearance (2002). Stevenson’s squad won nine straight ACFC games from October 27, 2001 to September 25, 2004.
Salisbury Sherman Wood (Salisbury ‘84) has resurrected his alma mater’s program is his six seasons as head coach. Wood, who is 36-22 at SU and 59-59-1 overall, has guided the Sea Gulls to 25 victories in their last 29 games over the last three seasons. After 2-7, 5-5 and 4-6 campaigns to begin his tenure, Wood’s squads have posted 9-2 and 7-2 marks and have been nationally ranked each of the last three years. Wood was a four-year letterman as a defensive back for the Sea Gulls from 1980-83 and finished with seven career interceptions, including two returns for touchdown. He was a starter and team captain on the 1983 team that earned Salisbury's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and advanced to the national semifinals.
SCOUTING THE SEA GULLS
Salisbury looks to complete its third undefeated regular season in school history with a win against arch rival Frostburg State today. The Sea Gulls captured their first-ever Atlantic Central Football Conference championship with their 35-18 win over Wesley October 30, are 9-0 for the second time in three years and have steadily climbed the AFCA Poll all season, reaching No. 5 in the last two rankings.
Salisbury is coming off an impressive 42-7 non-conference win at Shenandoah last week. The Sea Gulls piled up 445 yards in total offense, including 380 yards rushing on 56 attempts. Junior fullback Leroy Satchell ran 26 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way.
Salisbury broke open a 7-7 contest with 14 second-quarter points, scored again on its opening drive of the third quarter and added 14 more points in the fourth.
The Sea Gulls boast one of the most potent offenses in the nation, ranking fifth in rushing yards per game (321.4) and 15th in scoring (39.6). Satchell paces the team with 151 carries for 1,004 rushing yards and an ACFC-best 12 touchdowns, while junior quarterback Dustin Johnson has added 524 yards and five touchdowns. Salisbury has scored 33 of its 41 offensive touchdowns on the ground.
Johnson is 30-of-70 passing for 329 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore Mark Higgins is the team’s leading receiver with 11 catches for 102 yards and two scores, while freshman wideout Chris Newton has caught nine passes for 165 yards (18.3 average) and a team-best three touchdowns.
The Sea Gull defense has been equally impressive, allowing just 238.1 total yards and 75.3 rushing yards per game to rank among the national leaders in both categories. Senior linebacker Brad DeHaven tops the team with 57 tackles, including 14 for loss and eight sacks. He also has three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Sophomore Byron Westbrook is one of the dangerous players in the nation on both special teams and defense. He is averaging 16.2 yards per punt return and has returned two for touchdowns this season, and he also has six interceptions, including an 80-yard return for another score.
THE BOBCATS LAST WEEK
Senior Jeff Dumm ran for a touchdown and threw another to lead host Waynesburg to a 30-19 win over Frostburg State Saturday afternoon at John F. Wiley Stadium. The Yellow Jackets improved to 6-3 with their 12th straight home victory, while the Bobcats fell to 2-7.
Waynesburg opened the scoring on a 32-yard field goal by Ben Popson with 10:14 left in the first quarter, but Frostburg State answered on its initial possession as senior Nick Quisgard booted a 32-yarder to cap a 10-play, 50-yard drive. Freshman Antoine Beale carried six times for 36 yards to spark the scoring march and finished the day with a career-high 115 yards on 24 attempts.
The Yellow Jackets needed just seven plays to move back in front when Dumm hit Ivan Hawkins with a 10-yard scoring pass. Popson’s extra point attempt was no good.
Luke Cunkelman pushed Waynesburg’s lead to 17-3 when he intercepted a pass by sophomore Jimmy Ward and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown with 6:31 left in the opening half, but Ward atoned for the miscue by connecting with senior Adam J. Snyder for a 28-yard scoring pass on Frostburg State’s next possession. Quisgard’s extra point try failed and the Bobcats trailed 17-9.
Dumm led the Yellow Jackets down the field in the closing minutes of the half and capped a seven-play, 66-yard drive with a one-yard plunge with just 13 seconds remaining to give Waynesburg a 24-9 lead at the break.
The Bobcats got a spark to start the second half when sophomore Antoine Lewis returned the kickoff 19 yards to the 39. Ward then connected with sophomore Fred Howze for gains of 15 and 39 yards on consecutive plays to give Frostburg State a first down at the Yellow Jacket five-yard line, but Waynesburg held and the Bobcats had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Quisgard to make it a 24-12 contest.
Frostburg State cut its deficit to 24-19 when Ward and Snyder teamed up for another 28-yard scoring pass with just four seconds remaining in the third quarter, but Eric Daniels sealed the victory for Waynesburg when he dashed 28 yards into the endzone with 1:40 left.
Ward finished 16-of-35 for a career-high 241 yards and Snyder grabbed eight passes for a career-best 121 yards to help the Bobcats amass a season-high 379 yards of offense.
Junior Jon Menz led the Frostburg State defense with a career-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops and one tackle for loss. He also broke up two passes and intercepted another.
The Bobcats held the Yellow Jackets to 326 total yards, well below their 442.0-yard average that ranked 24th in the nation entering the day.
Frostburg State Head Coach Rubin Stevenson and Salisbury Head Coach Sherman Wood are certainly no strangers to one another. The two were teammates — and roommates — at Salisbury in 1982-83 and helped the Sea Gulls reach the 1983 NCAA Division III national semifinals. Also, Stevenson was in Wood’s wedding and is the godfather of Wood’s daughter.
PLAYING THE SPOILER
Frostburg State meets a 9-0 Salisbury team for the second time in three years looking to play the role of spoiler. The Bobcats handed the Sea Gulls, then ranked No. 14 in the AFCA poll, a 37-7 defeat in 2002 to win the Atlantic Central Football Conference crown. Last year, Salisbury entered the meeting 7-1 and still in contention for a second straight NCAA playoff berth, but the Bobcats posted a thrilling 15-14 victory.
TAKING THE TOUGH ROAD
Salisbury is the third Frostburg State opponent of 2004 to earn a national ranking in the American Football Coaches Association poll. Montclair State was listed as high as No. 15 (Sept. 28), while Waynesburg reached the No. 22 spot (Sept. 21). Salisbury has been in the AFCA poll each of the last six weeks, working its way from No. 19 (Sept. 28) to No. 5 (each of the last two weeks).
ALL BUT THE SCOREBOARD
Frostburg State had the advantage in nearly every statistical category but the scoreboard in its 30-19 loss to Waynesburg last week. The Bobcats held the lead in first downs (19-16), rushing yards (138-132), passing yards (241-194), total yards (379-326) and time of possession (30:21-29:39).
Senior Mike Kitchen has had an up-and-down season for the Bobcats this year. After struggling with injuries and gaining just 168 yards on 75 carries in FSU's first five games, Kitchen exploded for 396 yards and three touchdowns on 99 carries in the next three games. He carried 34 times for 121 yards and two scores against Widener (Oct. 16), ran 35 times for 142 yards and a touchdown versus Maryville (Oct. 23) and had 30 carries for 133 yards against Westminster (Oct. 30). Another nagging injury limited him to just four rushes for five yards last week at Waynesburg.
After struggling the first five games of the season, FSU’s offense found its rhythm in a 22-0 win over Maryville. The Bobcats set season highs for rushes (52), rushing yards (206), total yards (358), first downs (22) and points (22).
THIRD’S NOT THE CHARM
After not allowing a single point in the third quarter over its first four games, Frostburg State gave up a combined 36 in losses to Wesley and Widener. Wesley put 16 points up in its 22-0 victory October 9, and Widener scored 20 in its 54-19 win October 16.
MODEL OF EFFICIENCY
Sophomore Jimmy Ward had his most effective game of the season against Maryville, completing 11-of-16 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown. He did not throw an interception for the second straight game and was sacked just once. In FSU’s previous five-game losing skid, Ward was picked off seven times and was sacked 21 times.
Junior linebacker Chris Lentz was named the ACFC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in FSU’s 22-0 win over Maryville. Lentz had a season-high 14 tackles, including a 12-yard sack, for the Bobcats, who held Maryville to just 36 rushing yards on 40 attempts. Maryville entered the game averaging 216.7 yards on the ground.
Freshman linebacker Moses Fokou was named the ACFC Rookie of the Week after making 10 tackles, including one for loss and a half sack, in his collegiate debut against Apprentice September 11. FSU held the Builders to 191 yards on 71 plays, a paltry 2.7-yard average.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303