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Edinboro Passes By Slippery Rock, 35-14

Written by: on Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Special to the Tribune

    SLIPPERY ROCK — If you are an Edinboro Fighting Scot football fan and were concerned about the possibility of a letdown following last week’s emotional win over IUP, you need not worry any longer.
    Shaking off a slow start, the Scots were all over Slippery Rock as they broke out to a 28-0 lead before cruising to a 35-14 win over SRU in Rock Homecoming 2008.
    “We tried to bring things along slow and establish the run a little bit and I don’t think we did a very good job of that,” said Edinboro head coach Scott Browning about the slow start. “I was concerned about the possibility of a letdown, but you I learned one thing a long time ago in this conference and that is you don’t compare scores. I was concerned because we were coming to The Rock and they had a little bit of momentum on their side after a big win over Clarion last week.”
    After a pair of punts to begin the game, the Scots put the offense in high gear as they marched 72 yards on just six plays, quarterback Trevor Harris hitting Rich Cerro for the final five yards and the game’s first score.  Big plays on the drive were runs of 40 and 15 yards by “Spud” Harris for a first-and-goal at the SRU 10.
    “(Trevor) Harris is a very good quarterback and the way they protect him, he can hurt you,” said SRU coach Dr. George Mihalik. “I thought we controlled their running game pretty well, but we just couldn’t stop their pass game. I had hoped we would play better than we did, but you have to give Edinboro credit. They are a very good football team that is strong on offense, they have an outstanding offensive line and quarterback and they play very good team defense.”
    After the Harris-to-Cerro connection, the Scots really got things rolling in the second period as Harris unleashed his right arm in high gear, tossing three more touchdown passes to Jeremy Burr, Josh Brown and Ryan Rybicki for a 28-0 halftime lead.
    “He got into a groove and once you get Trevor in a groove, he can be pretty effective,” said Browning. ”
    For the game, Harris finished with 378 yards passing, the first time this season he surpassed the 300-yard mark this season.
    “I just think coach (Mike) Yurcich did an outstanding job of calling plays,” said Harris about his success. “As for the first quarter, you can’t just blame that on us because the Slippery Rock defense came to play. They were doing a lot of things to confuse us and they played hard. That is a good Slippery Rock team we played today.”
    With the Scots holding a 21-0 lead heading toward halftime, they put together an outstanding drive that resulted in their fourth touchdown that might have been the back-breaker for the Rock.
    “I think that is a tribute to the quarterback and the receivers for being on the same page,” Browning said. “Of course, our offensive line protected and I was trying to get at least a field goal out of it. We came up with a couple of big plays and with those, we had one last shot. We thought if we didn’t get it (a touchdown), we could always come back and kick the field goal to go in up by 24. But we hit it and it worked out for the good.”
    Harris agreed with his head coach about the impact of the drive.
    “Our receivers make plays and that is why I firmly believe we have the best receivers in the conference, if not in the country,” said Harris. “They go out, play hard, make plays and they make me look good. It is a great feeling knowing that you have people like Richie Cerro, Ryan Rybicki, Jeremy Burr, Josh Brown, Gary Nolen and Denayne Dixon. With Spud Davis protecting and the offensive line we have it makes it a lot easier for me to put together a two-minute drill like that one.”
        Not necessarily a big-play team by design, the Scots (7-1, 4-1) used that approach to their win as they finished the game with 22 offensive plays for 10 or more yards.
    “I am not crazy about it, but we were a big play offense today,” explained Browning. “I don’t think we ever got into a rhythm and I don’t think we ever got into what we tell the players as being methodical. But you have to give them credit because I think Slippery Rock’s defense had a big part in keeping us from doing that. We wound up being a big-play offense because that is what they gave us and that is what we were.”
     After The Rock (4-4, 2-3) got on the board with a touchdown in the third period, Harris tied the single game record of five TD passes he had previously set by himself in 2006 against Shippensburg when he tossed a 14-yard scoring aerial to Cerro with 3:31 left in the third period.
    “I think Trevor came out a little anxious,” said Cerro of the slow start. “But when he got things rolling, he did an outstanding job of hitting the seams and that opened things up for us.”

    If there was a negative for the Scots, it would have been in the penalty department where they were flagged 13 times for 147 and those numbers didn’t sit well with Browning.
    “The older I get and the more I sit back and evaluate how you play the game, some things are more important than what the score is at the end of the game,” he said. “I am embarrassed with the way we played with the penalties. I am not sure they were all justified, but we aren’t going to tolerate the 15-yard penalties. We had entirely too many of those. I am embarrassed with it, the players had better be embarrassed with it because we are going to correct the problem.”

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