After 11 exciting weeks of football, the season has officially ended for the Gannon University Knights.
The team concluded its record-setting season on a high note with a 39-7 victory over Millersville on the road Saturday.
The win, sparked by standout junior running back Marc Jones — who went over 2,000-yard rushing mark with plenty to spare and scored two more touchdowns — left the Knights with an overall mark of 5-6.
Three of those losses came by a combined total of nine points — a four-point loss to Slippery Rock, a two-point loss to Mercyhurst and a three-point loss to California University of Pennsylvania.
Jones entered the game needing just 18 yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark and finished with 194 yards — the sixth time he rushed for at least 180 yards in a game this year. He topped the 100-yard mark for a school-record 10th time.
Jones wound up averaging 197.8 yards rushing per game — eighth all-time among NCAA Division II players. His season rushing total of 2,176 yards is the 13th highest single-season total in Division II history.
Altogether, Jones finished with five other single-season Gannon records in addition to his 2,176 rushing yards and his 100-yard rushing games. Those records are 29 rushing touchdowns, 31 total touchdowns, 186 points, 2,464 all-purpose yards and an 8.1 rushing yards per carry mark.
Jones’ 29 rushing touchdowns easily led all of Division II, as the next closest competitor came in with 20.
As a team, Gannon finished the season with 426 points, eclipsing the previous record of 414, set in the 2014 season.
Jones was very happy about this season all around.
“It feels great,” he said. “With the season being over I have time to relax and look back on things with my family and teammates.”
The Knights were more than a one-man show against Millersville, as they put together 345 yards offensively and allowed less than half that on the defensive end, as Millersville finished with 159 total yards.
Gannon shut out Millersville in the first three quarters of this game. The team would claim three sacks and four interceptions — all by individual players. Anthony Howard returned one of those interceptions 20 yards for Gannon’s final touchdown.
Howard was named the PSAC’s Western Division defensive player of the week, as he also led the team with eight tackles.
The Knights held the Marauders to just 58 passing yards. Noah Harris-Lyles and Martell Davis each had seven tackles while Andrew Berger had four stops, two tackles for loss and one blocked kick.
Jason Dambach, making his first start at quarterback, completed just four passes for 47 yards, as the Knights piled up 298 yards on the ground. One of Dambach’s completions went for a 27-yard touchdown to Tyler Palka. Dambach also scored on a 27-yard run.
Senior Karch Holland closed out his Gannon career with field goals from 30 and 39 yards out.
With the season officially done the team already is looking forward to the 2018 season. Jones said he and his teammates know they were better than a 5-6 record might indicate.
“We have a lot of key guys coming back next year, and if we can stay together I don’t see why we can’t compete next year and have those close games go our way,” he said.