Oct. 31, 2009

Courtesy of West Chester

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Quarterback Joe Wright threw for a season-high 326 yards and two touchdowns to WR Dan DePalma as West Chester University shocked the 10th-ranked Bloomsburg Huskies, 30-14, on a rainy Saturday afternoon in a PSAC East showdown at John A. Farrell Stadium.

West Chester (6-4, 5-2 PSAC East) sent Bloomsburg (8-2, 5-2) to its second straight loss, putting a damper on the Huskies’ playoff hopes, if not crushing the visitors’ chances at hosting a postseason contest. The loss, coupled with Bloomsburg’s loss at Shippensburg last week, marked the first time since 1999 that the Huskies dropped consecutive league tilts.

The Golden Rams finish the regular season in a tie for second place with the Huskies. Shippensburg (8-2, 6-1), by virtue of its 31-10 victory over Cheyney Saturday, is the PSAC Eastern Division champion and will play Western Division champ California (Pa.) (8-2, 7-0) in the conference championship game next Saturday.

West Chester will host Mercyhurst (4-6, 3-4) while Bloomsburg hosts Gannon (5-5, 3-4).

Wright was 23 of 38 on the day and did not throw an interception. DePalma caught nine passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first half. His second TD reception came on a 4th-and-4 play from the Huskies’ 24-yard line with just six seconds remaining in the half.

West Chester’s top-ranked defense in the conference was stifling against the run, holding the Huskies’ offense to a season-low 47 yards on the ground. Bloomsburg came into the tilt averaging 175.3 rushing yards per game. Senior linebacker Mike Dell led the Rams with nine total tackles and one sack. He also forced a fumble and was credited with two QB hurries. West Chester forced three fumbles in all, recovering one, and intercepted one pass by Bloomsburg quarterback Dan Latorre, who finished 18-for-36 for a career-high 350 yards and two TDs.

Bloomsburg looked confident early, scoring its only two touchdowns on its first two possessions of the game – the first coming on a 57-yard pass from Latorre to Cory Stigler, putting the Huskies up 7-0, and the second on a 7-yard hookup between Latorre and Stigler that put Bloomsburg up 14-7.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter after West Chester went three-and-out on the game’s first possession. However, the Golden Rams finished off two drives in the second quarter to take a 28-14 lead into the break. WCU scored touchdowns on four of its six first-half drives.

The Golden Rams scored 23 consecutive points to put the Huskies away during the final 45 minutes of the contest. DePalma scored on pass receptions of 38 yards and 24 yards while RB D’Andre Webb scored from four yards out all in the second quarter.

West Chester was awarded a safety on Bloomsburg’s first drive of the second half when the Huskies were whistled for a holding call in their own end zone.

Bloomsburg tailback, Derrick Price, was held in check. He gained 25 yards on 10 carries in the loss. Stiger finished with four catches for a game-high 122 yards and the two scores to lead the Huskies’ offensive effort.

West Chester converted 7 of 10 third-down opportunities in the first half, then held the ball for 11 minutes of the third quarter, keeping Bloomsburg at bay.

Mike Holland registered eight tackles, including five solo efforts. He was also credited with two QB hurries. Corey Rhood forced a fumble, and Matt Colyar was credited with three pass breakups and a QB hurry.

CB Kevin Garland intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards. Cordero Newkirk recovered a Bloomsburg fumble at the West Chester 3-yard line.