Thursday, August 31, 2017

Week 1 - No. 17 Bobcats Pull Away From No. 18 Mustangs in Season Opener

Photo Courtesy of Stevenson Sports Information
FROSTBURG, Md. – Grayson Boyce rushed for three touchdowns as No. 17 Frostburg State University pulled away from No. 18 Stevenson University for a 33-7 non-conference football win Thursday night at Bobcat Stadium. The game was the season opener for both schools.

Stevenson had won four straight season openers, with its last loss in a lid-lifter coming in the 2012 season.

Frostburg opened the scoring with 5:17 to go in the first when a four-yard rush by Boyce capped a five-play, 22 yard drive set up after a Mustang fumble in its own end. The game remained 7-0 until a 31-yard completion from junior Dan Williams to senior Devin Salisbury with 55 seconds left in the first capped a seven-play, 74-yard drive to tie the game 7-7.

The hosts took a 10-7 lead with just over five minutes to go in the second quarter when Hassan Mostafa banged a 28-yard field goal attempt off the left upright and through to make it 10-7. Three straight bad snaps, including one on fourth down, on Stevenson's next possession, set the Bobcats up at the Mustang 3, and it took just one play, a three-yard run by Boyce, to make it 17-7 3:45 before halftime.

Frostburg State had the only score of the third quarter, as a one-yard run by Boyce capped a 31-yard drive to make it 24-7. The Bobcats were driving at the start of the fourth, but a goal line stand on first and goal from the 3 held the hosts at bay. However, on the first play of the ensuing offensive drive, a fumble was recovered by Frostburg State in the end zone to make it 30-7 with 11:14 remaining. A 26-yard field goal with 6:04 remaining closed out the Bobcat scoring.

After the Mustangs forced a Bobcat three-and-out to open the game, Stevenson nearly scored on its first play from scrimmage as Williams connected with Preston Addo for a long completion. Addo broke a tackle, but was tripped near the 10 and stumbled to the Frostburg 3 for a 76-yard completion. However, the Mustangs were unable to punch it in and turned it over on downs.

Stevenson mustered 18 yards of offense in the second half and was outgained 322-154 by the Bobcats. The Mustangs were whistled for nine penalties for 115 yards, while Frostburg saw 10 flags thrown against it for a total of 81 yards. The hosts also controlled the time of possession battle, holding the ball for over 37 minutes.

Williams finished 14-26 passing for 174 yards and a touchdown. He did not throw an interception, but was sacked five times. Salisbury finished with five catches for 65 yards, while Addo had four catches for 80 yards. The Mustangs rushed for -30 yards on the evening on 19 carries and also fumbled five times, losing three.

Defensively, senior Cory Pietrzyk led Stevenson with 11 tackles, while Pitts and junior D.J. Broxton each had nine stops, with Pitts also recording a sack and a forced fumble. Junior Ashton Leschke and sophomore Zach May each added eight tackles. The Mustang defense had a takeaway for the 45th straight game, but did not record an interception for the first time since October 25, 2014 against FDU-Florham, a span of 26 games.

Stevenson will look to bounce back next Saturday, September 9, when it hosts King's (Pa.) College for its home and Middle Atlantic Conference openers. Kickoff at Mustang Stadium is slated for noon.