By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It should be an outstanding college football game on Saturday as West Chester University visits Bloomsburg in the second round of the NCAA Division II Championship Tournament.
West Chester got here by hammering American International College in the first round this past Saturday, 38-7.
“AIC was a good team,” West Chester head coach Bill Zwaan told KYW Newsradio after practice on Tuesday. “And our kids came ready to play. Our defense played really well the whole game, and for about a quarter and a half or so the offense was struggling. Then all of a sudden we caught fire. (Junior quarterback) Sean McCartney got himself going and boy, he had a great game. But really our defense really set the tone of the day, and we did a great job shutting down a very good offense.”
McCartney threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns in the win and that West Chester defense held AIC to 218 yards of total offense.
West Chester and Bloomsburg are very, very familiar with each other. Two of the true power programs in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, these two teams met less than three weeks ago (November 9th) at Farrell Stadium. Bloomsburg jumped out to 17-point lead and held on for a 31-28 victory. It is the only game West Chester has lost this season.
“Somebody was asking me if it was a revenge game,” Zwaan says. “I don’t think it’s a revenge game as much as it is a redemption game. We feel like we didn’t play the way we can and we want to have a chance to show what it would be like if we actually played the way we can. Now they are a very good football team and I’m not taking anything away from them, because they dominated us. But we feel like we have something to prove, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we come out this weekend.”
Bloomsburg is 10-1 this season and they enjoyed a first-round bye in the tournament. When you talk Bloomsburg, you have to talk about one of the most dominant running games in the country. They are fifth in the nation (Division II) in yards per game (317.6), but what is probably most impressive is they average 6.7 yards a carry. The workhorse in this attack is senior running back
Franklyn Quiteh. He leads the country with 1,987 yards on the ground and 27 rushing touchdowns. He averages an absurd 8.4 yards a carry.
“They are very good at what they do,” Zwaan says. “They do the same thing and they’ve been doing it for years. So schemewise they are very familiar with it. And they’ve got a great running back and big linemen. So even if you do everything right, he can break a tackle and gain yardage. When you look at them, everybody knows what they are doing, everybody does. And yet he is still gaining 2,000 yards and they are still in the top ten in the country in rushing, and we all know what they’re doing. So they’ve got to be really, really good at it.”
Quiteh will be one of two finalists for the Harlon Hill Award (the Division II Heisman Trophy) playing in this game. The other is West Chester senior running back Rondell White, who became the all-time leading rusher (4,062 yards) in Golden Rams history in the first round win over AIC.
The winner of this game will play the winner of Winston-Salem/Shepherd in the quarterfinals on December 7th.
Saturday’s game at Bloomsburg will kick-off at noon.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.