Gannon bounces back over Boro

The Gannon University football team had something to prove coming off a disappointing 45-38 loss to crosstown rival Mercyhurst University on Oct. 11.

The Knights answered the call in dominant fashion.

Gannon went on the road and routed Edinboro University, 52-7, on both sides of the ball Thursday.

The defense’s lone blemish of the game came three minutes into the contest on a 1-yard touchdown run by Edinboro’s freshman tailback Anfreenee Williams. Coach Brad Rzyczycki said he was pleased with the defense’s strong performance.

“They didn’t play well against Mercyhurst,” Rzyczycki said. “This is a proud group and they needed a strong response.

“They tackled well in space and definitely dominated.”

Junior running back Brock Jones knotted the score, 7-7, following a season-best 64-yard touchdown run with 7:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Junior quarterback Liam Nadler followed Jones’ lead and punched in a 7-yard touchdown run to give the Knights the 14-7 lead with 10 seconds left in the first quarter, and never looked back.

Nadler found junior wide receiver Jesstin Hamm for a 6-yard touchdown reception to extend the Gannon’s gap to 28-7 in the second quarter. The score marked Hamm’s team-high seventh touchdown reception of the season. The next closest Knight in touchdown catches is Jones with two.

Rzyczycki said Hamm’s development over the past three seasons has led to his spike in scoring, and his increased attention to helping the offense when the ball isn’t in his hands has benefited the team.

“He has had more one-on-ones this season and that leads to more scoring opportunities,” Rzyczycki said. “He is a great blocker and that has really helped his overall game.”

Hamm’s blocking in unison with the Knights’ offensive line allowed Jones to finish the game with three touchdown runs from more than 20 yards out.

The defense held Edinboro scoreless in the final three quarters of the contest. Sophomore defensive back Mike Zanders led the Knights with eight tackles. Rzyczycki said that Zanders’ work ethic and on-the-field mentality makes him the best tackler for the Knights.

“We put him in a position where he can make a stop each play,” Rzyczycki said. “He will run to the ball effortlessly all game.”

The Knights return home to take on Seton Hill at noon Saturday at Gannon University Field. The Griffins are currently 2-5 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, but are coming off a 30-16 win over Clarion University.

Gannon cannot afford to overlook Seton Hill, but the final two matchups against California University of Pennsylvania and IUP will determine the success of the 2014 season.

Cal sits at 6-1 and IUP currently boasts a 5-2 record. Gannon sports a 5-2 record with a 4-2 mark in the PSAC.

The Knights will have to win out if they hope to achieve their aspirations to play in the PSAC championship game.

CONNOR SONDEL

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