The West Chester University Golden Rams advanced to the NCAA Division II National Quaterfinals after a game-clinching pass in the fi nal minute against the Shippensburg University Red Raiders on Saturday. The Golden Rams fi rst faced the Red Raiders at home during the fi nal game of the regular season. Shippensburg defeated the Golden Rams 24-21, making them the top seed in the Northeast Region. Shippensburg had a bye last week, while the No. 4 Golden Rams defeated LIU-C.W. Post 35- 3.The victory over Shippensburg brought the Golden Rams’ record to 10-3 overall, which ties the school record for number of games won in a season. The Golden Rams will face the East Stroudsburg Warriors next Saturday in the NCAA Division II Northeast Regional Championship, the quarterfi nals.
The Golden Rams rallied from a 28-27 deficit to take the lead with 33-28 as sophomore TB Osagie Osunde stormed into the end zone on a 59-yard drive with only 1:25 left in the fourth quarter.
The touchdown by Osunde was set up by a 44- yard throw from senior quarterback Bob Findora to senior wide reciever Omar Harris. That moved the Golden Rams to the Shippensburg 25, and four plays later, the Golden Rams regained the lead. At just 2:46 into the game, Findora threw a 61- yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Brandon Simmons giving the Golden Rams a 7- 0 lead. Simmons, caught four passes for 124 yards for the day with two scores, bringing his total yardage for the season to 1,248, second all-time in school history. “Everything was clicking for us today when it had to,” said Simmons.
The offense racked up 432 total yards for the game. This was the second straight time the offense racked up over 400 yards against one of the nation’s top defenses. Senior WR Matt Chambers caught his second career touchdown pass with 14:47 left in the second quarter. On a fourth and 13 from the Shippensburg 34, Findora threw a pass that looked like it should have gone out of bounds. Chambers stretched both hands on a brilliant effort to tip the ball up in the air, then turned around completely to catch the ball as it descended and ran into the end-zone for a touchdown to bring the score to 14-7 for the Golden Rams.
On their next possession, the Rams scored another touchdown thanks to Osagie Osunde, who accounted for every yard during that possession. During the fi nal play, Osunde raced into the end zone after breaking several tackles to give the Golden Rams a 20-7 lead. Osunde fi nished the game with a total of 75 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. At 4:59 in the second quarter, Simmons scored his second touchdown for the day off of a pass from Findora. Findora fi nished 12 for 25 with three touchdown passes and a career high of 324 yards.
The Red Raiders, who were dominated by the Golden Rams defense in the fi rst half, trailed 27-7 at the half, but they came out strong in the second half to score three touchdowns, taking the lead 28-27.
The Golden Rams failed to score on any of their possessions during the second half until the WCU defense stopped the Shippensburg offense with 2:53 left in the game.
Senior DB Isiah Harrison, who had caused a Ship fumble in the fi rst half picked off a throw by Ship QB Tony Gomez in WCU territory to win the game. Senior defensive lineman Eric Maynard and senior FS Joe Brooks led the Golden Rams defense for the day. Brooks posted nine tackles; Maynard had seven. Senior captain Graham Eggleston and freshman linebacker Jimmy Lewis each recorded a sack for the day. This story was compiled from www.wcupagoldenrams.com.