Third-string quarterback, Cameron Tobias attempted to connect with redshirt-senior David Cook on a fade in the corner of the end zone, but it was sophomore tight end Del’Vaughn Dennis who came down with the game-winning touchdown pass with two seconds left in a thrilling victory over Millersville, 36-28.
Shaun Jones, a redshirt-senior, started his first career game at quarterback for the Bald Eagles with Caleb Walton sidelines with an injury. Walton’s injury snapped his streak of 23 consecutive games started for LHU.
The Jones-led offense took the field for the first time and orchestrated a 13 play, 81-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdown reception by Dennis. The Bald Eagles took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.
Following a 56-yard touchdown pass from Millersville to even the scoring, junior Malyk Harris scampered for a 24-yard touchdown run to put Lock Haven up, 14-7. Harris received 28 carries on the day as he was filling in for the injured Beau Swales. Like Jones, this was Harris’ first career start at running back and he took advantage of the opportunity that was presented to him. His 28 carries led to 200 yards (7.1 average) and two touchdowns. The 200 yards was the most for a Bald Eagle running back since 2005 and the ninth-most all-time.
Millersville answered right back with a score of their own with 2:37 left in the first half, but 46 seconds later, Harris found the end zone with a 48-yard touchdown run to send LHU to the half with a 21-14 lead
For the fourth time this season, the Lock Haven offense was shut out in the third quarter. The third quarter has been a season-long problem for LHU as they average a mere 3.75 points in the quarter. For context, the offense averages 6.75 points in the first quarter, 8.25 points in the second quarter and 6.88 points in the fourth quarter.
The Marauders connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to know the game up at 21 which set up a decisive fourth quarter.
Following an Alex Boumerhi field goal, Millersville struck through the air to take their first lead of the game, 28-24. Millersville sophomore, Kevin Wiggins tormented the LHU defense all day as he hauled in 12 passes for 150 yards and four touchdowns. Wiggins’ four touchdown receptions set a Millersville school-record.
With 2:34 on the clock, the LHU offense went back to work looking for their second consecutive win.
Facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Millersville 11-yard line, Tobias looked in Cook’s direction with the game on the line. The Millersville defensive back was in position to make a play, but failed to get his head around and as Cook attempted to bring the ball in, it hit the defensive backs helmet and popped into the air. Enter Del’Vaughn Dennis. Dennis was paired with Cook to Tobias’ left and was running a 9-route combination. As the Millersville DB was signaling incomplete to the referee, Dennis and Cook were celebrating with their teammates.
Dennis ended the game as the team’s leading receiver with seven receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
On the ensuing kickoff, Millersville attempted to lateral the ball but fumbled and Connor Marisco scooped and scored to end the game at 36-28.
Defensively, senior linebacker, Tony Ballon continued to anchor the unit. He recorded 13 more tackles which pushed his team-high total to 77 on the season.
The victory marked the second straight season that Lock Haven completed the Cheyney/Millersville sweep.
Head coach Dave Taynor and his team will return to Hubert Jack Stadium on Halloween to play the Golden Bears of Kutztown at 1 p.m. The all-time series between these institutions is deadlocked at 14-14-1, but Kutztown has won the last seven meetings.
Lock Haven will be seeking their third consecutive victory which has not happened since 1981.