MILLERSVILLE — Two weeks ago, the Golden Rams (5-1) surrendered twenty-three unanswered points in the second half at Shippensburg University to only defeat the Red Raiders by five points. On Saturday, West Chester shut out the Marauders in the second half to continue their dominance over Millersville (2-4) defeating them 42-14.
From the opening kickoff, the Golden Rams were destined to score at will.
Kevin Garland took the opening kick from the nine-yard line and ran 41 yards to mid-field to give the Rams great field position.
Two plays later, Bill Zwaan, Jr. hit Mike Washington on a 10-yard pass, that Washington turned into a 41-yard catch and run to open the scoring, giving West Chester a quick 7-0 lead.
The Millersville Marauders came out testing the Rams’ secondary. Marauder quarterback Jamal Smith was able to hit 6′ 7″ tight end Derek Fry on a couple of plays and wide receiver Jimmie Cotton on another.
Smith also showed his athletic ability as he was able to scamper on a couple plays, but the Marauders were not able to score on the Golden Rams.
After a punt by Millersville, the Rams came out throwing. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Zwaan hit sophomore tight end Ryan Paulson for an 80-yard catch and run to give the Rams an early 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Marauders struggled to get anything going. Millersville had the ball on their own five-yard line, but running back Brad Lantz fumbled the ball and the Rams All-American linebacker Lateef Ferguson recovered to give West Chester the ball inside the Marauders five-yard line.
On the next play, Zwaan, Jr. gave the ball to Dean Millard who scampered into the end zone, extending WCU’s lead to 21-0.
The Golden Rams tallied their first 21 points off four plays.
“I want points to defend,” Ferguson said. “As long as they score points, that means my job is easier because [the opposition] has to do something to score. As long as we put up points I don’t care.”
The Golden Ram defense continued to play at a dominant level, as they did not allow the Marauders offense to get a first down on consecutive possessions.
When Zwaan, Jr. and the offense came back onto the field, they did not waste anytime in putting up another score.
The fifth-year quarterback hit Millard on a 49-yard pass, and then hit Paulson for his second touchdown of the game, as West Chester took a 28-0 lead.
“It’s real important to come out and establish that big lead in the beginning of the game. It’s tough for them to get back. They tried but we fought them off with our defense,” Zwaan, Jr. said “It’s real important [to have the quick strike ability]. Even if we get down, we know we’re not out of the game. We know we can come back and we know we can get a big lead.”
Smith was able to help the Marauders get on the board late in the second quarter as he ran for a five-yard touchdown to make the score 28-7.
“He’s a good athlete,” Ferguson said of Smith. “But we had to get all eleven hats to the football. When we did that we stopped him. He had a couple of big runs and he wasn’t scared to run.”
After a Zwaan pass was picked off by the Marauders’ Dan McClellan, Smith went to work with his go-to receiver Randall Eggleton. Smith and Eggleton connected three times on the following drive and eventually hooked up for a 28-yard touchdown pass to pull within fourteen points.
As soon as the Golden Rams got the ball back, they went back to work.
Zwaan, Jr. and Washington hooked up for a 53-yard pass to set up Zwaan Jr’s fourth touchdown pass of the first half, this time to Miller from 13 yards out to make the halftime score 35-14.
The second half was a sloppy one. Millersville tried to mount a comeback, but their trickery didn’t pay off as they didn’t execute on a fake field goal on the opening possession of the half.
On the Rams’ first possession, it seemed like it was going to be a full dose of Osagie Osunde.
But on his second carry of the drive, the fifth-year senior fumbled the ball and McClellan was there to recover the ball for the Marauders.
After a Millersville turnover on downs, the Rams were again going to go with a lot of Osunde, but again he fumbled after ripping off a 15-yard run. This was his third fumble in the last two weeks.
“He has carried the ball a lot. He’ll straighten himself out. I think he’s more concerned than I am,” Head Coach Bill Zwaan said.
Late in the fourth quarter, after getting a large dose of Osunde, the Rams finally finished the scoring as Brandon Hargrose plowed through for a one-yard touchdown run, making the score 42-14.
Zwaan Jr. finished the game with 343 yard passing and four touchdowns. Osunde led all rushers with 89 yards on 13 carries. Washington continued his strong play with five catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. West Chester had 516 yards of total offense, while losing the time of possession battle by thirteen minutes.
Next weekend, the Rams return home for the first of four straight contests at Farrell Stadium as they host the Kutztown University Golden Bears Saturday for a 6 p.m. kickoff. The game can be heard live and exclusively on 91.7 FM WCUR, and online at www.wcur.fm
LJ Harrell is a second year student majoring in Business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu