ESU’s backup quarterback came off the bench to lead the Warriors over the Mercyhurst University Lakers 17-7 last Saturday.
ESU redshirt senior and starting quarterback Jake Cirillo did not play due to injury.
But redshirt junior Matt DeLaurentis ably filled in for Cirillo and guided the Warriors to a 17-0 halftime lead.
ESU’s first touchdown came midway through the first quarter.
DeLaurentis led the Warriors on a 13-play, 91-yard drive that featured the rushing of redshirt senior Gunner Anglovich.
Anglovich accounted for 38 of those 91 yards and finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Then ESU’s defense stepped up when the Lakers started their drive from their own territory.
But ESU redshirt sophomore defensive end Aidan Hayward knocked the ball loose from Mercyhurst junior running back Dustin Shoaf. The fumble was recovered by ESU redshirt sophomore linebacker Paul Carreras at the Mercyhurst 18-yard line.
The Warriors were already in the red zone, but their drive would stall.
So ESU would have to settle for a 22-yard field goal from redshirt sophomore kicker David Bartholomew making it a two-possession game.
Then just before halftime, De Laurentis led the Warriors on a two-minute offense that resulted in a touchdown.
DeLaurentis threw a 23-yard laser to redshirt senior Ezequiel Lopez and a 43-yard bomb to redshirt senior Clifford Brinkley who was tackled at the Mercyhurst eight-yard line.
On third-and-goal, DeLaurentis tossed an eight-yard pass to redshirt sophomore James Cherry that gave ESU a 17-0 lead at halftime.
ESU’s defense continued to stop Mercyhurst’s offense until the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Lakers would finally get on the scoreboard with a six-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Michael Lowery to sophomore wide receiver Cameron Barmore.
But the Warrior defense remained stout.
ESU did not let Mercyhurst score after that drive and held on for a 17-7 victory to the delight of the home fans.
DeLaurentis went 14-for-25 with 165 passing yards and one touchdown pass for a quarterback rating of 89.58.
Anglovich had 21 carries for 89 yards to lead the Warriors in rushing. He also had four catches for 67 yards.
Brinkley had two receptions for 49 yards to lead ESU in receiving.
Lopez had four catches for 47 yards.
In total, ESU outgained Mercyhurst 327 yards to 201 yards.
The Warrior defense came up big on third downs.
ESU only allowed Mercyhurst to convert 2 out of 11 third-down attempts.
“It was good to be out there just competing,” Brinkley said. “It was smooth.”
“We got a next man up rule,” Brinkley said. “You don’t wanna have no bumps no matter who comes in there.”
Speaking about backup quarterback Matt DeLaurentis, Brinkley said “He put the ball where it needed to be.”
Redshirt senior and free safety Tyler Watson was given a game ball by the coaching staff for having a great game.
“It was great to be out there playing in front of the fans and with my guys,” Watson said.
“It was a great team defensive win,” Watson said. “The defense playing so good makes me able to make plays,” Watson said.
Sophomore defensive lineman Chris Ash also helped lead a great defensive effort by the Warriors.
“It was a great game,” Ash said.
“The offense ran the ball very well, and the defense had a great game today,” Ash said.
“We have a physical, tough defense, and a relentless effort on the offensive side of the ball,” Ash said.
ESU (2-1) will hit the road to play Lock Haven University this Saturday evening, the 25th of September.
Email Ronald at: