Nov. 14, 2009
CALIFORNIA, Pa. - Fayetteville State's first road loss of the season turned out to be its last.
California University of Pennsylvania rolled up more than 400 yards of offense en route to a 42-13 win over the Broncos in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
FSU, seven days removed from a win in the CIAA Championship game, entered the game on a six-game road winning streak.
The Vulcans utilized the potent trio of quarterback Josh Portis, wide receiver A.J. Jackson and running back Freddie Bacco to do most of their damage.
Portis finished 13-of-21 for 206 yards and a touchdown while Jackson grabbed eight passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Bacco scored three touchdowns on only 10 carries.
"They're a very good balanced football team," Broncos head coach Kenny Phillips said. "They're probably one of the biggest, strongest football teams we've played this year on both sides of the football. But our kids fought and never gave up."
The 42 points allowed by the FSU defense, which had been allowing only 11.1 points per game on the road this season, was the second most given up by the Broncos this season.
"I thought we could do some things defensively on those guys and get some pressure on the quarterback," said Phillips. "We weren't able to get any movement and that was one of the downfalls."
Portis completed passes to seven different Cal U receivers.
"We knew coming into the game that we had to defend the deep ball and not let the two receivers beat us down the seam," said Phillips. "Our defensive backs did a good job of that, but they kind of hit us on some intermediary routes. They're pretty good with their balanced attack."
Benjamin Williams got the start at quarterback for FSU after winning Offensive MVP of the CIAA title game. Williams completed 12-of-27 passes for 134 yards a touchdown and two interceptions.
"They just played harder than us," said Williams. "We made our biggest mistakes earlier and got down. We couldn't dig out of it like we have been doing."
FSU's offense gained only 186 yards and Cal U held the ball nearly 14 minutes longer than the Broncos.
"I thought offensively we could do a lot better than what we did moving the football against these guys," Phillips said. "I knew if we didn't control the game and stay off the field, it'd be tough for us."
Saturday's loss was the final game for 17 FSU seniors.
In their time with the Broncos they compiled a 30-22 record, gave the school its third NCAA playoff appearance and its third CIAA Championship.
"We've got to replace those guys that are leaving," said Phillips. "We're losing some very good football players. Guys like Adrian Horton, Jeff Gowdy, Marcos Esquivel."
Despite the departure of his seniors, Phillips thinks the Broncos can be competitive in 2010.
"The nucleus of the football team is returning," he said. "We've got our work cut out for us, but, we've done it before. Today was just one of those things that happens to you."
Cal U led 21-0 at halftime and limited the Broncos to 55 yards of total offense in the first half.
FSU is 2-2 all-time in Pennsylvania.