SELINSGROVE — Da’Avian Ellington rushed for a career-high 179 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Michael Ruisch threw for more than 294 yards as Susquehanna rolled up 541 yards in a dominant offensive performance Saturday.
The River Hawks had to overcome an early deficit on their way to a 42-26 triumph in the annual game for the Stagg Hat Trophy.
“It was a good day,” said Susquehanna coach Tom Perkovich. “But we have a lot of work to do. We play a very good team (Johns Hopkins) next week.”
Lycoming (0-1) gave Susquehanna everything it could handle. Warriors quarterback Elijah Shemory connected with Southern Columbia graduate Steve Toczylousky for a 60-yard touchdown pass, and Shemory added a 25-yard scoring run to help the Warriors build a 17-9 advantage.
However, Lycoming couldn’t handle Ellington, Susquehanna’s junior running back.
Ellington didn’t get the starting nod at running back, but when Ellington came into the game, he quickly made his presence known.
“I knew we needed a spark and a comeback,” Ellington said. “I saw the lane I needed to hit, and I got there. I rely on my speed a lot. If I see green grass, I’m (trying to) score.”
Ellington took his second carry of the game 63 yards to cut Lycoming’s lead to 17-16, and it sparked the River Hawks to a 14-point run, and a 23-17 halftime lead.
“He had a really good camp,” Perkovich said of Ellington. “All three backs who played today had really good camps.”
Xavier Briggs-De Vore, who started for Susquehanna, rushed for 26 yards and a first-quarter touchdown
After Lycoming pulled back within nine points (35-26), Ellington put the game away with another long touchdown run — 61 yards — to seal the win for the River Hawks.
“This was a set-the-precedent game,” Ellington said.
It also marked Susquehanna’s fifth consecutive victory over Mid-Atlantic Conference foes, and gave the River Hawks their first three-game winning streak over Lycoming since 1993-95. Perkovich smiled a bit hearing that.
“That’s awesome,” Perkovich said. “For years people talked about the MAC being a superior conference. They’re very good, but I think the dialogue is changing about how our conference is viewed on a national scale.”
Ruisch picked up his ninth victory as Susquehanna’s starter, firing touchdown passes of 43 yards to Mitch Carsley and 30 yards to Anthony McCoy. He ended the game without a pick, finishing 18-of-30 passing for 294 yards.
“He understands better what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” Perkovich said. “He did hit a wall (at the end of) last season, but he’s grown a lot as a player.”
SUSQUEHANNA 42, LYCOMING 26
Lycoming`3`13`3`6 — 26
Susquehanna`6`17`6`13 — 42
S - Xavier Briggs-De Vore 3 run (kick failed)
L - FG, Jamie Fisher 33
S - FG, Elijah Hoffman 30
L - Steve Toczylousky 60 pass from Elijah Shemory (Fisher kick)
L - Shemory 25 run (Fisher kick)
S - Da’Avian Ellington 63 run (Hoffman kick)
S - Mitch Carsley 43 pass from Michael Ruisch (Hoffman kick)
L - FG, Fisher 40
S - Anthony McCoy 30 pass from Ruisch (kick failed)
S - Ruisch 1 run (run failed)
L - Dezmon Johnson 15 pass from Shemory (pass failed)
S - Ellington 61 run (Hoffman kick)
RUSHING — Lycoming: Joey Guida 14-33; Keith Batkowski 6-27; Elijah Shemory 8-22, TD; Chase Cramer 2-minus-1. Susquehanna: Da’Avian Ellington 13-179, 2 TDs; Torey Brown 7-27; Xavier Briggs-De Vore 10-26, TD; Michael Ruisch 7-15, TD.
PASSING — Lycoming: Shemory 16-32-0 for 231 yards, 2 TDs. Susquehanna: Michael Ruisch 18-30-0 for 294 yards, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING — Lycoming: Dezmen Johnson 4-57, TD; Stephen Toczylousky 3-83, TD; Tyjah During 3-55; Guida 3-14; Aaron Wolcott 1-12; Christoff Minott 1-9; Markus Sidwell 1-5; Cramer 1-minus-4. Susquehanna: Mitch Carsley 3-52, TD; Kyle Good 3-52; Frank DePaola 3-27; Samuel Darrell 2-91; Anthony McCoy 2-41, TD; Mikah Christian 2-20; Mike Brown 2-5; Briggs-De Vore 1-6.