SHIPPENSBURG — The Shippensburg University football team, aided in part by the remnants of Hurricane Ian, held the No. 4 Shepherd University Rams top-ranked offense to just 7 first-half points, but the Raiders were out-scored 16-0 in the third quarter and 23-6 after halftime to drop a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division matchup on a rainy, blustery Saturday at Seth Grove Stadium, 30-13.
The Raiders (2-3, 1-1 PSAC East) took an early lead on an 80-yard TD run from sophomore running back Khalid Dorsey (York/York) with 2:05 remaining in the first half. Dorsey set a new single-game career high with 119 yards rushing in the contest.
The Rams (5-0, 2-0 PSAC East) answered with a touchdown less than two minutes later, with reigning Harlon Hill trophy-winning quarterback Tyson Bagent finding Brian Walker in the end zone from 26 yards out to even the score, setting up the visitors for a big second half. Bagent completed 27-of-45 passes total for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
Shepherd took the lead early in the third quarter courtesy of a Shippensburg safety. The Raiders, attempted to punt deep inside their own territory, but the snap flew over the head of the Ship punter and out of the end zone.
Bagent found Walker again for a 2-yard TD pass midway through the third quarter, and after a Raider turnover, Shepherd tailback Ronnie Brown converted a 20-yard TD run to give the Rams a commanding 23-7 edge after three.
The Raiders attempted to claw their way back in the fourth quarter, with redshirt-freshman quarterback Sam Johnson III (Detroit, Mi./Walled Lake Western (Boston College)) delivering a dime downfield to redshirt-freshman wide receiver Alex Rufe (Lebanon/Lebanon) for a 57-yard Raider touchdown, cutting the score to ten points with 6:05 remaining, 23-13.
Brown, who finished with 171 yards rushing, quickly snuffed out the Raider momentum, breaking a 43-yard TD burst with 1:33 left.
Johnson held his own against his counterpart, finishing 17-of-29 on pass attempts for 197 yards and a touchdown. His only blemish came in the form of two second-half interceptions.
The Rams were able to sustain drives better in the poor conditions, evidenced by their third-down conversion rate (8 of 16). The Raiders, on the other hand, converted just 3-of-11 third down attempts, and 1-of-4 on fourth down.
Defensively, the Raiders got standout efforts from redshirt junior linebacker Tyler Simon (13 tackles, 1 forced fumble), and redshirt sophomore defensive back Khi’on Smith (7 tackles, 2 pass breakups).
Sophomore wide receiver Redd Douglas, the top return man in DII entering play Saturday, broke a 60-yard return in the second half.
Shippensburg will visit West Chester University for the Golden Rams’ Homecoming Game Saturday at 2 p.m.