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Rock comeback falls short at California
SRU trailed 24-0 at the end of one quarter Saturday night but rallied to take a 31-27 lead before falling by a 34-31 margin in PSAC-West action
Nate Crookshank was 12-of-34 passing for 225 yards and three TDs to lead The Rock offensive effort
Oct. 3, 2004
California, Pa. - The Rock, after trailing by a 24-0 deficit at the end of one quarter of action, battled back to take a 31-27 lead late in the third quarter Saturday night at California U. of Pa.
But The Rock (3-3, 1-1) could not hold on as the hosting Vulcans (4-1, 1-1) eked out a 34-31 win in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division action.
The Rock hosts PSAC-West archrival Indiana U. of Pa. at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 9.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Crookshank threw for 225 yards and three TDs to lead The Rock's comeback effort.
Senior H-back Brandon Richardson caught six passes for a career-high 122 yards and one TD, while junior running back Josh Kniess rushed for 74 yards and caught a 49-yard TD pass.
The Rock quickly found itself down by a 10-0 margin thanks to a pair of lost fumbles in the first minute and a half of action. The Vulcans then added a pair of TDs in the span of two and half minutes to take a 24-0 lead at the 7:10 mark of the first period.
The Rock got on the scoreboard for the first time at the 13:18 mark of the second period when Crookshank connected with Valdez Hails for a two-yard TD pass.
Crookshank and Richardson hooked up for a 20-yard score at the 1:43 mark of the second stanza to cut Cal's lead to 24-14 before the Vulcans got a late field goal to take a 27-14 advantage into intermission.
A bad snap from center on a Cal punt attempt set The Rock up first-and-goal at the Cal 3-yard line, but SRU failed to capitalize on the opportunity and had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Ryan Daniel.
Kniess caught a screen pass from Crookshank and scampered 49 yards to the end zone with 7:46 left in the third stanza to trim the margin to 27-24.
The Rock completed its comeback and took its only lead of the game at 3:08 of the third period when Crookshank scored from a yard out.
Cal went 46 yards in nine plays to score the winning TD with 7:45 left in the game.
The Rock finished the game with 375 yards in total offense (225 passing, 150 rushing), while Cal had 480 yards in total offense (361 rushing, 119 passing).
Antoine Bagwell rushed for 287 yards on 31 carries and scored two TDs to lead California. He was named Sunday as the PSAC-Western Division Offensive Player of the Week.
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