Scoring 63 points in a game is something West Chester University attendees have grown accustomed to seeing from the Golden Rams’ basketball team, but the roles reversed on Saturday afternoon as WCU’s football team (2-1) treated the 4,567 fans that filed into John A. Farrell Stadium to a high scoring affair as they defeated Edinboro University (2-1) by 34 points.
West Chester’s offensive onslaught was pioneered by running back Jarel Elder, who netted 167 total yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. Two of those scores came via the ground where Elder amassed 85 yards on 13 attempts, and the other one via the air as he reeled in two catches for 67 yards and one touchdown.
The Golden Rams scored on five of their six first half drives.
WCU’s 62 points are the most the Golden Rams have slapped on an opponent since they put the same number on Millersville University in 62-7 win during the 2014 season.
Quarterback Paul Dooley had a strong showing, going 12-19 for 164 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Dual-threat quarterback A.J. Long also logged some possessions as the signal caller in the win, going 3-5 for 80 yards and one touchdown. Long also ran the ball six times for 24 yards.
West Chester commenced Saturday’s action with a pair of scores a mere 34 seconds apart. First, a five-yard scamper from Elder put the Golden Rams on the board then a forced fumble from defensive back Jordan Burney, which was recovered by defensive back Quintin Smith, set the stage for a 29-yard pass from Dooley to Rasheem James, who stood unguarded in the endzone.
By the end of the first quarter WCU’s lead had ballooned to 27 thanks to a 58-yard run from Elder and a 31-yard interception return from linebacker Kevin Duggan.
West Chester capitalized on every miscue the Fighting Scots made, and there were a host of blunders for Edinboro on the afternoon.
Edinboro fumbled the ball three times, two of which were lost to the Golden Rams, and quarterback Jake Sisson threw two interceptions.
In addition to the turnovers the Fighting Scots were hindered by penalties.
Edinboro was penalized nine times for 88 yards, each of which either negated the momentum they were beginning to manufacture or conceded optimal field position to the Golden Rams.
The most fruitful offensive quarter for Edinboro was the second, where they managed to put two touchdowns on the board, both on short touchdown passes.
West Chester’s defense did an excellent job of neutralizing the Fighting Scots’ attack, and Burney was one of the brightest stars.
In addition to his forced fumble, Burney recorded four tackles (one for a loss) and broke up three passes.
Tyler Morrissey was another defensive standout in the rout, leading WCU with six tackles and recovering a fumble.
Other defensive contributions came from the likes of Diquan Gilbert (one sack for eight yards, forced fumble), Omar Peterkin (one sack for one yard) and Shaquille James (interception).
Just as on the scoreboard, West Chester edged out Edinboro in most major metrics, including first downs (22-21), total yards (466-386) and average yard per play (7.5-4.9).
This is a refreshing bounce-back win for the Golden Rams, who suffered a tough and exhausting loss to Slippery Rock just a week ago, a defeat in which WCU had to mount two separate comebacks just to put themselves within striking distance.
After three non-conference clashes, West Chester will open PSAC play on the road this Saturday against Lock Haven University (0-3). WCU trumped Lock Haven 37-7 last season, but that victory came in the comfy confines of John A. Farrell Stadium.
West Chester hopes last year’s act travels to Lock Haven’s Hubert Jack Stadium, as they’ll look to set the tone for this season’s PSAC play with a win.
After venturing to Lock Haven, the Golden Rams will return home on Sept. 30 to take on Kutztown University (2-1).
B.J. is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at WB806695@wcupa.edu.