The Gannon University football team fell 35-10 to host Kutztown Saturday due largely to Collin DiGalbo’s five-touchdown performance at Andre Reed Stadium.
The loss dropped Gannon’s overall record to 1-2 going into Saturday’s 1 p.m. Homecoming matchup with Clarion at McConnell Family Stadium.
Saturday’s meeting will mark the start of Gannon’s PSAC West schedule.
The Knights’ defense had a tough time containing unbeaten (3-0) Kutztown Saturday, as the Bears outgained Gannon 505-268 despite possessing the ball less than one minute more than the Knights.
The Knights got off to a solid start, taking the opening kickoff and driving to the Kutztown 15-yard line. But a pair of incompletions, a 3-yard loss and a holding penalty pushed Gannon back to the Bears’ 28, and Brian Strybel failed to convert a 45-yard field goal attempt.
After the Knights’ defense forced a Kutztown punt, Gannon again moved the ball, marching from its own 14 to the Bears’ 26. But a third-and-2 play resulted in a 2-yard loss and an incomplete pass on fourth down gave Kutztown possession at its own 28.
From there, the Bears went on a 72-yard drive to set up DiGalbo’s 5-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first quarter.
Another long drive by Kutztown, this one 71 yards in 10 plays, ended with DiGalbo finding the end zone on a 9-yard run for his second rushing touchdown and 14-point lead.
Gannon put together its third lengthy drive of the half midway through the second quarter, marching from its own 25 to the Kutztown 15 before settling for Eric Scarpino’s 32-yard field goal. Quarterback Jimmy Keefe’s 43-yard completion to Sam East was the big play of that drive, which cut Gannon’s deficit to 14-3 at halftime.
It only took Kutztown 53 seconds to find the end zone on its first possession of the second half. DiGalbo found Abdul-Hassan Neblett for his first passing touchdown, this one from 8 yards out to make it 21-3.
A fumble by Keefe at Gannon’s 23-yard line set up Kutztown’s next score, DiGalbo’s 4-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the third quarter. That boosted the Bears’ lead to 28-3.
On the first drive of the fourth quarter, the Knights trimmed Kutztown’s lead when Khwan Mickens stripped the ball from Bears’ running back Darryl Davis-McNeil and took it back 80 yards for the scoop-and-score touchdown.
That cut the lead to 28-10, but the Bears scored once more on DiGalbo’s 17-yard run to set the score 35-10.
DiGalbo ended the game with 25 completions in 32 attempts for 316 yards and an interception. He was responsible for all the Bears touchdowns, rushing for three and throwing for two, and picked up 100 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
Keefe was 18 for 38 for 202 yards and threw one pick. He was also sacked six times.
Melvin Blanks rushed for 92 yards on 13 attempts for the Knights.
Defensively, A.J. Satcher led the way for Gannon with nine total tackles – six of which were solo. Aaron Webb contributed seven tackles and Keith Thompson added six tackles and a fumble recovery. Dorian Jones nabbed an interception for Gannon.
Clarion brings a 2-1 record into Saturday’s Homecoming matchup with the Knights. The Eagles hold a 7-4 edge all-time in the series, including a 14-9 win over Gannon last year.