Clarion University Football: Offensive Fireworks Abound, but Golden Eagles Fall to Shippensburg
Clarion set a season-high with 421 total offensive yards and 33 points, but the Red Raiders enjoyed a strong first half of their own to set the difference early on.
Quarterback Taylor Eggers made his second career start under center and had easily the best game of his young career. The redshirt freshman signal caller completed 16-of-25 passes for 329 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. It was the first 300-yard passing game for a Golden Eagle quarterback since Connor Simmons threw for 313 yards against Gannon on Nov. 5, 2016.
Helping to ease Eggers’ transition to the starting role were receivers Quinn Zinobile and Kahliq Muhammad, who burned the Red Raiders’ secondary. Zinobile caught five passes for a career-high 202 yards and two touchdowns, including touchdown receptions of 73 and 53 yards in the first quarter alone. Zinobile was the first Golden Eagle player to go over 200 yards receiving in nearly a decade; Jon Reid was the last to do so, posting 212 yards in the air against LIU Post on Sept. 8, 2012. Muhammad had a 100-yard day himself, catching a team-high seven passes for 102 yards and two scores. It was the first time two Clarion receivers went over 100 yards since Matt Lehman and Kevin Genevro both did it against Mercyhurst on Sept. 24, 2016.
Not to be outdone, running back Mylique McGriff made his presence known in the run game as well. McGriff had his first 100-yard rushing game since Oct. 5, 2019, landing on 100 on the nose with a touchdown.
The Red Raider offense was equally formidable, though, as Shippensburg scored on six of their first-half possessions, including touchdowns on their first two drives. Clarion trailed 14-0 before getting on the board at the 9:40 mark, when Eggers hit Zinobile on a deep post route on 3rd-and-9. Zinobile got behind everyone on defense and took it to the house from 73 yards out, giving some much-needed life to the Golden Eagle sideline. After Clarion forced a punt on the next Shippensburg drive, Zinobile struck again, this time scoring from 53 yards out to tie the score.
Shippensburg responded quickly with a touchdown pass from Brycen Mussina to Kyle Evans, and they added a field goal at the end of the quarter to lead 24-14. The lead ballooned to 38-14 by the end of the half after the Red Raiders found the end zone twice more in the second quarter. Clarion scored on their opening possession of the third quarter when McGriff punched it in from one year out, and Eggers made it 45-26 when he connected with Muhammad on a long pass later in the quarter. The Red Raiders continued to pile on the points into the fourth quarter, though the Golden Eagles did reach the end zone one more time on Muhammad’s second scoring catch of the game.
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