By Anthony Washington
Redshirt senior quarterback Matt Soltes led the Warriors to a 69-7 victory over Cheyney University last Saturday at Eiler-Martin Stadium. Soltes had another record-setting performance going 28 for 37 passing for 419 yards and 7 touchdowns en route to being named PSAC East Offensive Player of the Week.
After an 0-2 start, the Warriors have now improved to 3-3 on the season. Some might say ESU’s record is not bad, but for superstar quarterback Matt Soltes, that record is unacceptable.
Soltes from Vernon, N.J., is a business management major and has been the starting quarterback for the Warriors for four years.
Heading into his last year suiting up for the Warriors, anything less than a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship would be devastating.
“I feel that in this league you have to be consistent in how you play each and every week. We just have to take it step by step each week” explained Soltes.
Ever since Soltes got the starting position in 2012 as a redshirt freshman he has been dominating, playing in all 10 games and starting seven, throwing for more than 2600+ yards and 21 touchdowns, giving him freshman of the year honors.
Soltes also achieved the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) freshman record for total yards in a game with 666 yards (535 passing and 131 rushing).
Soltes did not stop there, though, during his redshirt sophomore campaign he put up unbelievable numbers with 3200+ yards and 34 touchdowns. He was a Harlon Hill candidate, which recognizes the best D2 athletes in the country.
Another outstanding factor of his sophomore campaign was that he was one of four NCAA quarterbacks to have 5000 passing and 1000 rushing yards. Alumni of this achievement are NFL players Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel.
Still, Soltes only intends to get better. During his junior campaign, which was cut short early due to an unfortunate injury, he threw for 2700+ yards and 30 touchdowns. Once again, he was a Harlon Hill candidate and all PSAC second team.
This season he is just adding to his stats. While the season is not over yet, Soltes is still keeping Warrior fans happy. During the devastating five overtime loss to Shippensburg on Oct. 3, Soltes threw for over 500 yards and 9 touchdowns.
“The biggest thing about bouncing back is keeping the team together and focusing on our goals which is to win the PSAC. We do that by working harder than we did last week,” said Soltes after the loss.
Soltes holds many records in not only the ESU record book, but also in the NCAA record book. Some records he shares with or even surpasses Defensive Backs coach Jimmy Terwilliger, who was also a superstar quarterback here at ESU.
“Being a senior leader everyone kind of looks up to you and how you respond to adversity. For instance, the team is probably going to watch the upper classmen and feed off them. We seniors have a responsibility to keep the team focused and hungry,” said Soltes
The senior is neither the first nor the last Soltes to put on the red and white of the Warriors. Soltes’ father played quarterback here in 1982, and his little brother, Tyler Soltes, freshman. is now one of his understudies.
“I love playing with my little brother. I never got to in high school so I am enjoying it in college. It is awesome to see him grow and learn the offense day by day,” said Soltes.
Upon asking the offense how they feel about their senior leader, there was nothing but positive vibes about the quarterback.
“I like Soltes. I honestly feel like without him we would not be where we are. He definitely has the entire team on his shoulders” explained senior running back Gerald Van De Cruz .
“He is the best quarterback in the nation,” said junior running back Dana Lee. Lee continued, “He is a big time competitor and hates to make mistakes, but he is a great leader, and will have a good shot at the next level.”
The Warriors, led by Soltes, will take on Millersville for the big Homecoming game this Saturday at 2:05 p.m.