Little Lions head coach Matt Lintal channeled the movie-version of former United States hockey coach Herb Brooks on Friday night.
But instead of blowing a whistle and yelling, “Again,” he simply dialed up plays for running back Jordan Misher.
Again, again, and again.
Led by Misher and the blockers in front of him, State College (3-2) survived an early 10-point deficit to put away Chambersburg (0-5) and celebrate a homecoming victory 38-10 at Memorial Field.
Misher carried the ball 18 times for 142 yards and four touchdowns, two in the first half and two in the second. The first pair stole momentum from the Trojans, and final two finished them off.
“We’ve got one of the best running backs in the state back there,” State College quarterback Tyler Snyder said.
Misher certainly delivered like one, and when his team needed it most, too.
But first, Chambersburg surprised and silenced everyone from parents to the homecoming court in the opening quarter. The Trojans drove 63 yards on their first drive and converted a 34-yard field goal. After forcing a fumble on State College’s second play of the ensuing possession, Chambersburg quarterback Kaden Hoover connected with Darius Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The Trojans owned possession for nine of the game’s opening 10 minutes.
“Credit to Chambersburg opening up the game,” Lintal said. “They created opportunities for themselves, holding on to the ball and sustaining some long drives that kept the ball away from Misher for a long time.”
That lasted only so long.
On State College’s fourth drive of the first half, the Little Lions finally punched one into the end zone on a 17-yard scamper by Misher. The senior secured an outside handoff, shimmied by one defender, and cleanly glided to pay dirt.
The Little Lions forced a fumble on Chambersburg’s next drive, and moments later Misher barreled across the plane for his second touchdown of the evening.
The crowd was ignited, and so was State College’s offense.
Lintal said halftime wasn’t about rah-rah pep talks. They went to the drawing board and mapped out what they’d do in the second half: provide an extra blocker to deal with Chambersburg stacking the box.
It worked, too.
On State College’s first three drives of the second half, Misher rushed seven times, twice for touchdowns. He went untouched on a 22-yard waltz to the end zone to open the half’s scoring. That was before Misher ripped through multiple defenders for a 39-yard touchdown run mirroring Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.
It was tough to tell how many tackles Misher actually broke.
“I lost count at about three or four,” Lintal said.
While Misher was the bell cow, State College benefited from other notable offensive contributors. Wide receiver Kellin Valentine had five catches for 67 yards, and even rushed twice for 26 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Snyder managed the game well, finishing with 70 yards on 8 of 10 passing. He, along with other starters, exited the game late in the third quarter, giving sophomore Drew Friberg a shot under center. He completed his only two attempts for 35 yards.
And perhaps most importantly, the Little Lions’ offensive line adjusted accordingly to Chambersburg’s pressure, doing well to seal the edge. That allowed Misher to hit the century mark for the fifth time this year.
“We’re really proud of that,” Lintal said, “not just for his individual success, but our team success.”
After starting the season 0-2, State College picked up its third straight win. Next up is Central Dauphin, an undefeated squad with a nasty defensive line.
It won’t be an easy game for the Little Lions, but you can bet that State College will gladly welcome 100-yard game number six from Misher.