PREVIEW: Football heads to Kutztown-Huskies take their 2-2 record to Kutztown to battle unbeaten Golden Bears

Matt Rushforth, Sports Editor

The Bloomsburg University football team takes a 2-2 record on the road to battle Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PSAC) rival Kutztown to face the perfect 3-0 Golden Bears on Saturday, Sept. 29.

The Huskies are coming off a conference win with a 28-24 victory over Shippensburg. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Erik Benjamin led the way for BU and threw for a career high three touchdown passes in the win.

Bloomsburg comes into the game with a 47-23-1 record historically against the Golden Bears. Kutztown opens their PSAC play undefeated in 2018.
Quarterback Erik Benjamin enters the contest with a 48% completion rate and 546 yards in the four games played. Benjamin has thrown for four touchdown passes and has rushed for another four scores.

Behind Benjamin, the Huskies have been running an offense that consists of multiple running backs. Leading BU in rushing is senior running back Hakeem Sillman. Sillman has rushed for 355 yards off 63 attempts. Behind Sillman, head coach Paul Darragh is substituting redshirt juniors Qmac Quiteh, Alex Gooden, and Tre Green. Silllman and Gooden are also returning kickoffs for the Huskies.

Darragh has shown to favor his running game thus far in 2018, as leading receiver redshirt junior Jay Popson has accounted for 189 yards. Behind him lies reshirt junior receiver Michael Allen, who led the Huskies in receiving yards in 2018. Allen has scored two touchdowns in 2018 and is seen as the go-to receiver and punt returner for Bloomsburg.

Junior receiver Kieron Smethers made a surprise appearance in the previous win over Shippensburg as he celebrated his first career touchdown and caught two catches for sixteen yards in the win. BU favored the 6’5 Smethers on key third downs as he drew multiple pass interference penalties because of his height. The junior also plays as the team’s punter.

Defensively, the Huskies are led by redshirt senior defensive back Josh Salak, who has totaled 18 solo tackles and is coming off a career high seven tackles with a fumble recovery and an interception in the Huskies win over Shippensburg. Salak was named PSAC Eastern Division Player of the Week for his performance.

Joining Salak in the defensive backfield is redshirt senior Dexter Jordan. Jordan leads the Huskies in interceptions with two on the year and has tackled 19 ball carriers (12 solo).

Up front in the Huskies defense is led by senior linebacker Nate Monroe, who has accounted for 32 tackles (eight solo) for Bloomsburg. Joining Monroe is redshirt junior linebacker Alex Annan who has accounted for 30 tackles (eight solo) of his own.

Kutztown enters the contest with a perfect 3-0 record with wins over all non-conference opponents. The Saturday night game is the Golden Bears first game in PSAC play. Kutztown is coming off a 48-33 victory over Gannon University with a stellar performance from redshirt sophomore quarterback Eric Nickel. Nickel threw for five touchdowns and rushed for one in the Golden Bears victory. Nickel was named PSAC Eastern Division Athlete of the Week for his performance.

The PSAC Eastern Division is filled with conference play as West Chester and Shippensburg face off along with East Stroudsburg and Millersville. The end of the packed weekend could result in a much different set of standings.

Bloomsburg continues its five-consecutive conference game stretch as they head 2-2 into the heart of their schedule. The Huskies are in search for their first PSAC title since 2013.

The Huskies and Golden Bears are set for a 6:05 kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Andre Reed Stadium. Tune into the contest on 106.5 FM.