BY JUSTUS STURTEVANT, SPORTS EDITOR
Senior kicker Spencer Hotaling nailed a 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to give the Susquehanna football team a 24-21 win over Moravian on Oct. 18. It was the team’s first victory of the season.
Head Coach Scott Briggs described the win as a huge one for his team. He said: “Our offense was very consistent. We scored and had long drives. Our kicking game was the best we’ve had.”
Freshman quarterback Nick Crusco completed 20 of 25 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Ian Richardson, who was filling in for injured senior back Tim Wade, rushed for 94 yards on 29 carries and tacked on two touchdowns.
Senior defensive back Cody Miller delivered a big performance for the Susquehanna defense, grabbing two interceptions and recovering a fumble.
The Crusaders forced a fumble on the first drive of the game but were unable to capitalize, picking up just one first down before punting the ball back to the Greyhounds.
The Susquehanna defense jumped on the Greyhounds again. This time Miller picked off sophomore quarterback Mike Hayes and returned the ball to the Moravian 36-yard line.
On the very next play, Crusco connected with senior wide receiver Denzell Walker for a 36-yard score to put the Crusaders up 7-0.
The score remained 7-0 until the second quarter, when a special teams penalty by Susquehanna set the Greyhounds up at their own 47-yard line. Sophomore running back Chris Negron capped off a 53-yard drive with a 20-yard dash into the end zone, tying the game at seven.
Junior wide receiver Kwane Hayle helped Susquehanna respond, taking the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to the Susquehanna 49-yard line. The Crusaders took advantage of the short field, and Richardson punched in a six-yard touchdown to put his team back on top.
Hayes and company were not ready to go away, however.
The sophomore found junior tight end Andrew Racobaldo for a 48-yard touchdown strike with just over a minute left in the half to tie the game at 14.
The Greyhounds marched the ball down to the Susquehanna 1-yard line on the opening drive of the half, but the Crusaders defense held strong and Moravian came up empty.
The rest of the quarter passed without much offense. Both teams were forced to punt in each of their remaining drives.
Susquehanna jumped back on top early in the fourth quarter, when another interception by Miller set the Crusader offense up inside the red-zone. Four rushes by Richardson helped Susquehanna take a 21-14 lead.
The Greyhounds responded with a 10-play, 85-yard drive ending with a Negron rushing touchdown.
This set up a big chance for the Crusaders and their freshman quarterback: a chance to construct a game winning drive with just over five minutes on the clock in a tied game.
Crusco, who had made some big mistakes late in games earlier in the season, stepped up, driving his team 40 yards down the field, with some help from Richardson.
On 4th-and-3 with 23 seconds left in the game, Briggs brought on preseason All-American kicker Spencer Hotaling to seal the win.
Hotaling booted the 40-yard attempt straight through the uprights, giving the Crusaders their first win of the season, 24-21.
Susquehanna will be back on the field Saturday at Ursinus. The Bears come into the game 5-1 on the season, but coming off of a blowout loss to Juniata.
Briggs knows that his team, which will likely be without Wade for the second week in a row, will have to be sharp if it hopes to beat the 5-1 Bears, who he expects to be focused after their loss to Juniata.