#25 Bloomsburg Huskies (9-2, 5-2 PSAC East)
Season Opener: Friday, August 31 @ Stonehill (Northeast-10)
Offensive/Defensive Starters Returning: 7/6
Key Returnees: RB Franklyn Quiteh (Jr.), RB Eddie Mateo (Jr.), LB Jarrett Pidgeon (Sr.), DL Shaun Moore (Sr.)
Bloomsburg was on track for a bid in the NCAA playoffs after opening the season 8-0. With a showdown with eventual PSAC champion Kutztown looming, the Huskies’ chances of winning the PSAC East and all but clinching an NCAA bid came to a screeching halt when Mother Nature and LIU-Post combined to ruin Bloomsburg’s post-season plans.
Despite missing the playoffs after a 9-2 season, the Huskies return a pair of junior 1,000 yard rushers – Franklyn Quiteh and Eddie Mateo. The biggest offensive question for the Huskies is at quarterback, with Pat Carey having graduated. It’s a four-way race, led by junior Brady Knerr, who transferred from Millersville last season.
Whichever quarterback is named the starter will have an array of weapons to throw to, as seniors Kyle Fisher and Ryan Dickerson, along with red-zone threat Ryan Marchioni hope to boost a team that ranked 13th in receiving yards; though when your rushing offense is the best in the PSAC, a good passing attack is a bonus.
On defense, the Huskies have some holes to fill on within the front four and the backfield. Former Bloomsburg basketball standout Larry Webster looks to have an impact on the defensive line, supporting returnees Shaun Moore and Chris Kennedy.
Senior safety Dan Haverstack is the lone returnee on the defensive backfield. D.J. Robinson and Terrell Oglesbsy are expected to transition from nickel packages to starting roles at cornerback; the two combined for 54 tackles and three interceptions. Bloomsburg’s strongest point on defense is at linebacker, where seniors Jarrett Pidgeon and Sean Clift, along with sophomore Justin Shirk are projected as starters.
Junior kicker Dan Fisher converted 37 of 45 field goals in his first two seasons in the PSAC, good for 10th in conference history. Fisher has also been known to execute a fake punt or two; just ask West Chester.
PREDICTION: Bloomsburg is looking to return to the NCAA playoffs after a one-year hiatus. Uncertainty at quarterback is off-set by the best rushing combo in the PSAC. The real question would seem to be on defense. Should the Huskies fill their holes defensively and overtake Kutztown, then look for them to make a return trip to the PSAC State Game and NCAAs.