Nine plays. Nine Jordan Misher rushes. Zero doubt.
State College wanted to establish the run against Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon, and Little Lions made that very clear, running the ball every play of the game’s opening drive until the bell cow back reached pay dirt.
It was easy. It was consistent. But was it what State College coach Matt Lintal had in mind?
“Yeah, pretty much,” Lintal said with a laugh.
And State College (4-3) continued to create opportunities for Misher the rest of the afternoon, running its way to a 37-20 win over Harrisburg (3-4) at Severance Field.
Misher tallied 147 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Perhaps most impressively, he tallied those stats in less than three quarters of work. State College held a firm enough lead that Lintal sat Misher for the final period.
At the expense of the Cougars, the senior eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing and scored his 16th touchdown of the season. With three games left in the regular season, Misher looks to outgain his 2014 yardage (1,539) while surpassing his touchdowns total (16).
It wasn’t all Misher, though.
State College scored on a 23-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Nathan King in the third quarter, while Noah Schwab and Kevin Cramer combined for three field goals.
Misher’s day also eased any pressure on quarterbacks Tyler Snyder and Drew Friberg. Snyder was the early-season starter, but Friberg started Saturday’s game. The two exchanged drives from quarter to quarter, a system Lintal had previously put in place.
“That was the plan coming in,” Lintal said. “We still look at it like we have two starting quarterbacks.”
Friberg had it easy his first drive, handing the ball off to Misher, who carried it 69 total yards into the end zone. The next drive, the sophomore quarterback connected with Kellin Valentine for an 18-yard first down, and the Little Lions benefited from a 31-yard field goal by Schwab.
However, Friberg had his share of struggles starting on his third drive, when the 6-foot-5 signal-caller vastly underthrew his receiver and was picked off.
Snyder handled the next four drives. On his third series, Snyder linked up with his receivers three times, and the final completion went to Brandon Clark for a 23-yard touchdown on fourth down.
The two swapped drives in the second half, too. Other than another Friberg interception, not much was done through the air. Instead, Misher pounded the Cougars for another touchdown before he and the starting offensive line exited the game with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Snyder finished with 66 yards on 5 of 9 passing, while Friberg tallied 35 yards on 2 of 4 passing. Those statistics won’t mean much to Lintal.
“The times where we were throwing were pretty clear, evident throws,” the coach said, “so I won’t look at their numbers and be critical.”
Lintal said the two-quarterback system will continue on a week-to-week basis. After each game, he and his staff will reassess their situation based on how the team and gunslingers are doing.
Even though Misher chewed up most of the yards and State College’s offense took its foot off the pedal a bit in the fourth quarter, the coach will have plenty of Friberg and Snyder film to look at this week.
“We want to continue to develop those guys and give them opportunities under fire to continue to improve,” Lintal said.
That next opportunity will come on Friday at home against Central Dauphin East.