BLOOMSBURG – That guru of football strategy Bob Dylan once proclaimed, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”
Well, to shamelessly use another Dylan reference, it very well could be a “New Morning” when the Bloomsburg University football team opens its season Saturday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m. in a non-conference game against Stonehill on Danny Hale Field at Redman Stadium. Saturday the new-look Huskies aired it out figuratively and literally in their annual Maroon and Gold Spring Game.
Long known for having one of the premier running attacks in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the are working to add more balance to their offense and play no worse than the role of a dark horse in the Eastern Division. Even with highly touted freshman quarterback Logan Leiby sitting out with a leg injury, incumbent sophomore Eric Benjamin and freshman Carter Van Scyoc combined to complete 22-of-37 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown as the Maroon-wearing offense defeated the White-wearing defense 27-21.
Actual scoring plays came on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Benjamin to Michael Allen midway through the first half, 48- and 25-yard field goals by Cameron Schollenberger and two extra points by Schollenberger. Other points by the offense were scored for making first downs, and the defense scored by making various defensive plays.
“I know the defense complained that the scoring system favored the offense, but that’s football today,” head coach Paul Darragh said. “Offensively, we’re trying to change up a little bit with the passing game.
“We want to be more flexible and incorporate our backs into the passing game. That will help take the pressure off the guys up front on the offensive line, and it will allow our quarterbacks to gain confidence with the offense.
“We’ve got to get better offensively, and that means throwing the ball more to open up the running game. I thought we did a good job, but I was also pleased with the defense by batting and staying in the game.”
Late in the second half the defense pulled to within 24-21 after getting three points for a sack. Then the offense closed out the game by scoring three points with three first downs.
Saturdays’ game ended a three-week camp that saw the Huskies conduct 13 practices, and if there was a most-improved played it is senior wide receiver T.J. Tornetta. A walk-on last season, he had five receptions for 36 yards.
“We need some guys to step up this year, and we saw of them today,” Darragh said. “Also, don’t forget we had some key guys who were not in there today.
“We have had an excellent offseason of conditioning and we were anxious to get out on the field and start playing football again. This spring we got a good idea of what type of team we will have in the fall.”Bloomsburg finished the 2018 season with a 6-5 overall record and took third place in the PSAC Eastern Division standings with a 4-2 divisional mark. For the 20th consecutive season, the Huskies had a winning record and won six or more games for a conference record and the winning-season streak is the third longest in conference history, behind 31 for West Chester and 22 for Clarion.
Bloomsburg opens PSAC play in Week 4 at Shippensburg, Saturday, Sept. 28. Kutztown opens the home PSAC schedule for the Huskies in Week 5,Saturday, Oct. 5, for OParents and Family Weekend and the annual Think Pink Game.