Gannon routs Kutztown

 

En route to Kutztown’s Andre Reed Stadium Saturday, the Gannon University football team hit a little bump in the road.

A faulty brake line on one of the team buses forced both the offensive and defensive teams to cram into one bus for the remainder of the trip. When the Golden Knights finally got to the stadium, there were no brakes to stop the Gannon offense.

The Knights set a school record for total yards (712) and senior quarterback Liam Nadler threw for five touchdowns, as Gannon routed Kutztown 66-31 in front of 1,735 fans.

Usually when your bus breaks down on the way to a game it’s a sign of more bad things to come.

For the Gannon football team, it was the exact opposite.

“I think in a strange way it kind of focused us,” Nadler said. “It’s a little bond that forms – we developed more team chemistry.”

All cylinders were clicking on offense right from the start when Nadler connected with Jesstin Hamm for a 62-yard touchdown pass just 1 minute, 42 seconds into the game.

Gannon added 14 more to jump out to a 21-0 lead after one. Brock Jones scored his first of three TDs with 6:50 left in the first quarter, before the duo of Nadler and Hamm found the end zone again, this time from 31 yards out.

A fumble late in the first quarter gave Gannon the ball back with 25 seconds left and it would only take 1:37 to capitalize on it. Nadler threw his third TD of the day less than three minutes into the second quarter when he found Brendan Klemensic for a 34-yard score.

Kutztown made a dent into the Gannon lead when Chad Barton connected with Kellen Williams for a 70-yard TD pass with 10:12 left in the half.

Gannon went into the locker room with a 38-10 lead at the half and would extend it to as many as 42 when Jones ran in for a 38-yard TD to make it 66-24 with 10:50 left in the game.

Hamm said despite the Knights being handed tough situations, they’ve been able to come together to overcome the challenges.

“Whether it’s a game or bus, we do what we have to do to get over the situation,” Hamm said.

Hamm recorded his seventh career 100-yard receiving game with 138 yards on seven receptions, including three TDs.

All three of those TDs came from Nadler, who finished 28-of-36 for 412 yards and five TDs, tying his own school record.

Gannon returns home Saturday to clash with Clarion (3-0) in the first PSAC game of the year for both programs.

Gannon coach Brad Rzyczycki said it’s a matter of coming out focused to beat an undefeated Golden Eagle team.

“Clarion plays hard,” Rzyczycki said. “We have to execute and do the things we’ve been doing. But we have to match their intensity.”

Hamm said despite Gannon’s strong start, his team certainly isn’t taking Clarion for granted this week.

“We can’t afford to underestimate any team or let any team hang around thinking they can beat us,” Hamm said.

“We have to play our game and do our job and as long as we do that we will be successful.”

Kickoff is set for noon at McConnell Family Stadium.

 

DOMINIC SANSONE

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