After being routed last week by Bloomsburg University, the West Chester University Golden Rams wasted no time in turning their season back around and moving forward. On Saturday, Cheyney University stepped into John A. Farrell Stadium to take on the Rams in a PSAC duel of one of the top conference teams against one of the worst.
After their blowout loss last week, the Rams were looking for a way to get themselves back on track. Cheyney provided that opportunity. A struggling Wolves team (0-9), who has not been able to put the pieces together all season, could not stop the Rams all afternoon, as WCU rolled to a 58-0 victory.
After struggling against Bloomsburg last week, senior quarterback Sean McCartney was back to his normal self that we have seen all season. McCartney controlled the air, throwing for 122 yards on 11-16 passing, along with three touchdowns. Although his stats were not through the roof, McCartney was efficient, and found his receivers easily, a key that will be a necessity as the Rams enter the final stretch of the regular season. The offensive line dominated in the trenches all day, giving McCartney as much time as he needed in the pocket.
Senior Mike Doty had one of his best games of the season, catching two of McCartney’s three touchdown passes. Doty in total, caught six passes for 63 yards, both team highs, while Tim Brown trailed him with five catches for 43 yards. Senior Erick Brundidge caught McCartney’s other touchdown pass from 22 yards out, which was his only catch of the day. The Rams’ other receiving touchdown was caught by Brown, but was thrown by sophomore quarterback Andrew Derr.
We have caught glimpses of Derr throughout this season, but all have been good. He makes smart decisions, can tuck away the ball and run, all the while possessing an extremely strong arm. After sitting two years behind McCartney, he clearly has learned a great deal about the WCU offense and will be a strong asset for this season and seasons to come. Filling the shoes of a quarterback with a resume like McCartney will be tough, but Derr has already put himself in a good positition to do so when the McCartney-era ends at West Chester.
The passing game was strong on Saturday afternoon, but the Golden Rams’ rushing attack was what put this game completely out of reach for the Wolves. Brandon Monk, who we have seen collect the most carries all year, rushed the ball a team-high of 18 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Monk’s strong play has been a rock for this Golden Ram offense week in and week out. Complementing Monk, Jarel Elder carried the ball 16 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. Elder continues to play well, which is resulting in more carries and opportunities for the red-shirt freshman.
Along with the Elder and Monk, who we have seen perform numerous times this season, red-shirt freshman Anthony Brown ripped onto the scene with a big game for the Rams. Brown, who had only seen 12 carries prior to Saturday, got his shot in the second half. Brown carried the ball 13 times for 79 yards, not a bad start for the young man. Brown helped control the second half and make the win as easy as possible for the Golden Rams.
Eddie Elliot was somewhat absent on the offensive side of the ball Saturday afternoon. Perhaps because the Rams jumped out to such a quick lead, Elliot’s carries were limited. Whatever the case may be, Golden Ram fans can be sure that as playoffs roll around, Elliot will not go unnoticed in any big games. Elliot carried the ball only three times Saturday, but made the most of it by compiling 18 yards on those three carries. Elliot’s versatility will certainly be a large part of the weapon arsenal for West Chester entering the playoffs.
On the defensive side of the ball, there was never a doubt. The Golden Rams’ defense owned every aspect of the game. Cheyney could only muster 47 total yards on the day, despite running 48 plays.
Senior defensive end Mike Culbreath had his best game of the season, leading the Rams with seven total tackles, forcing two fumbles, recovering one, and registering two sacks. Culbreath, who flies under the radar, but is a strong talent for the Golden Rams’ defense, has appeared in games in his past two seasons as a Ram.
Sophomore Pete Galiano had a nice game for the Golden Rams as well. A second-year player for the Rams, Galiano is still adapting the WCU defense to his mind after transfering from the University of Tampa last year, but he is definitely showing he can be a strong asset for this team.
The Rams did not see any in game appearances from senior All-Americans Al-Hajj Shabazz or Ronell Williams, not because of injury or anything bad, just a week off when going up against a not as talented team, with two very important games approaching. With Shabazz and Williams on the bench, Coach Zwaan got to check out some of his younger guys coming up through the program. Players like Andrew Cohen, Shaquil Ryder, and Mike Labor also saw limited snaps in Saturday’s victory. Despite all the starters on the bench, WCU managed to force six Cheyney fumbles and recover four of them.
Saturday’s game saw a lot of new faces for the Golden Rams, but that was not a bad thing. Watching the game, one could almost see a glimpse of what the future has in store for WCU football. The future looks bright, as we saw many young players step up to the plate on Saturday and play great. The role of underclassmen for this team will be huge as the Golden Rams enter the November/December football days. With PSAC’s and playoffs right around the corner, the Rams will definitely need fresh legs and smart minds ready on the bench at any moment.
Next up is another tough match-up for West Chester. East Stroudsburg enters the game 6-3, but their three losses came against three tough teams, Slippery Rock, Bloomsburg, and Kutztown. ESU always comes ready to play, which is exactly what the Golden Rams will have to do if they want to keep themselves in the hunt for PSAC champions.
After their loss to Bloomsburg, West Chester fell from eighth in national polls to number 20. With only one secured regular season game left before a possible PSAC championship game, the Rams will need this big win against ESU to help secure a spot in the national playoffs and a chance for a rematch against Bloomsburg for the PSAC championship.
AJ Arcaini is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu