West Virginia State’s football team didn’t start its season the way it wanted, as the Yellow Jackets fell on the road to Shippensburg 25-17 last Saturday.
WVSU (0-1) got off to a good start on both sides of the ball in the first half, jumping out to a 10-0 lead while holding the Raiders to two field goals. But Shippensburg jumped ahead in the second half, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 19-7 to come away with a 25-17 victory.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” WVSU coach John Pennington said. “Both teams came out and really played with great effort, great intensity. We hit early, got some points early and then we hit a couple stalls, didn’t really capitalize on some opportunities on offense.”
Turnovers were costly for the Yellow Jackets as they gave the ball away three times. Quarterback Donovan Riddick threw two interceptions but the most costly turnover was when backup quarterback Drew Chance lost a fumble when he was sacked and the Raiders returned it for a touchdown.
“What decided the game was big mistakes,” Pennington said. “We had a sack fumble that they returned for a touchdown. We had an interception right after we got a turnover. Those two plays really cost us the game. It’s hard to overcome those.”
Pennington said despite the loss he was happy with his team’s effort.
“I was thrilled with the effort, the focus, the attitude, the chemistry that this team has,” he said. “I thought we were A-plus in the way we approached the game. If we can do that all season, we’re going to have a really successful season.”
Riddick kept his team in the game as he completed 24 of his 38 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
“He played his guts out,” Pennington said. “He was scrambling for first downs, he was making big-time throws. He knew he had to control the offense and he had a demeanor of an upperclassman.”
Riddick and his squad are faced with another challenge this week, as the Yellow Jackets are set to take on Frostburg State at 2 p.m. Saturday at University of Charleston Stadium.
The last time the two teams squared off was Sept. 5, 2019, as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Bobcats 20-17. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 season to be played in the spring of 2021 and the Bobcats went 3-1 in their four games played.
This season, Frostburg is picking up where it left of as it opened its season with a 20-13 win over Kentucky Wesleyan on Sept. 2.
“They’re a hard-nosed team,” Pennington said. “They play a smashmouth brand of football and that’s the same kind of thing we pride ourselves on. I think you got two teams that are coming off Week One, really trying to find themselves. It’s gonna be a 12-round fight.
“Frostburg has a really good defense. Their D-line [has] multiple all-conference guys. They’re really good up front and athletic behind it. We know we’ve got quite a matchup.”