Tyler Jenny was rolling to his right, looking for someone or somewhere to throw the football on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
Linebacker John O'Hagan was in the sophomore quarterback's face, as most of Brockport's defense had been all day Saturday. Jenny got rid of the football just in time to avoid a sack, but not quite in time to avoid a collision with O'Hagan.
The pass fell incomplete and Jenny, starting his first career game at quarterback for Lycoming, lay on the newly installed turf at David Person Field for an extra moment, gathering himself the way a boxer might after a couple knockdowns. He slowly rose to his feet, unbuckling his chinstrap. Evident with every step toward the sideline was the wear and tear of a day in which Brockport threw not only the kitchen sink, but the refrigerator, the microwave and the dishwasher at him, too.
Lycoming quarterback Tyler Jenny rolls out to pass during Saturday’s game against Brockport at David Person Field.
"I might be a little sore (Sunday)," Jenny said.
The Glendale High School graduate had never attempted more than three passes in a game at Lycoming before starting Saturday's season opener. But he was forced into the start with starter Zach Klingerman dealing with a concussion. And what the Warriors found out, even in a 24-2 loss, was that their quarterback position is in good hands should Klinger go down again, or in the next two years after Klinger graduates.
Jenny was poised in the face of a relentless pass rush which Brockport head coach Rocco Salomone said was a big part of the gameplan. The Golden Eagles wanted to harass a quarterback that had seen limited duty as a freshman in mop-up time.
Jenny handled it well, scrambling when he needed to in order to give receivers time to get open, and doing his best to get the football out of his hands quickly to negate the pass rush. He completed 23 of 42 passes for 205 yesterday, including going 17 of 31 in the second half despite Lycoming's run game having become non-existent.
He had just one turnover, a fumble in the third quarter at midfield, but it was his lone turnover.
"For his first start, I think he was solid," Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said. "He turned it over, but he could have turned it over a couple more times. Really, that was his first start in two years going back to his senior year in high school. There's some positives there and we think he's really, really talented."
On Lycoming's media day in mid-August, Clark raved about how good Jenny had been during camp, and for good reason. He throws a great ball, he shows poise in the pocket and makes good decisions.
He showed all those qualities despite facing the teeth of a pass rush in which Brockport had no trouble sending six defenders into the Lycoming backfield.
Clark and new offensive coordinator Scott Brisson put Jenny in position to have a successful debut as a starter. They got him a lot of underneath routes to work with, which in turn helped beat some of the pressure Brockport was sending.
But what they never really got the chance to do was test Jenny with a deep ball. His longest completion was a 34-yarder to Matt Atkinson. He also had a 42-yard completion to Atkinson on a broken play in the third quarter negated when Atkinson had stepped out of bounds and was the first one to touch the ball after coming back inbounds.
"I felt comfortable. I felt prepared," Jenny said. "I've had opportunities all camp. Yeah, it was my first college start, but I got time last year a bit. Everyone helped me throughout the week to get prepared and I felt ready coming into it."
Here's a closer look at Lycoming's 24-2 loss to Brockport on Saturday:
Brockport quarterback Joe Scibilia did the bulk of his damage throwing the ball by noticing breakdowns in Lycoming's coverage and getting the ball to his receivers in open space. His best recognition came on a second-quarter touchdown to pass to Joseph Innes. With every part of the play flowing to the left, Scibilia looked right and found Innes wide open in the flat and gave him a pass he had a chance to run with. Innes made one move around the 15-yard line to avoid a tackler and turned the play into a 41-yard touchdown, the only touchdown of the first half.
Brockport tailback Tyrone Nichols was a load to bring down all day at 212 pounds with a very physical running style as well. He helped set up the 41-yard touchdown pass to Innes with a 35-yard run, the longest carry of the day for either team. Facing first down at the Golden Eagles' 20-yard line following a missed 30-yard field goal by Zack Czap, Nichols ran a sweep to the right and slipped out of a tackle attempt by Lycoming middle linebacker Kabongo Bukasa just past the line of scrimmage before scampering down the sideline for 35 yards and a first down at the Warriors' 45.
Facing third-and-9 at their own 49-yard line, Scibilia took a chance, throwing a fade down the left sideline to Andrew Mrozek. Scibilia caught Lycoming cornerback Kody Flail not looking back for the ball, and Mrozek made a brilliant one-hand catch with his left hand and with Flail in his face. The catch was the start of Lycoming's second-half downfall as the Golden Eagles scored the first of their two third-quarter touchdowns just three plays later.
Warriors safety Cody Butler, a Hughesville graduate, made his presence quite known in his first game with Lycoming since transferring from FCS Holy Cross. He recorded eight tackles (four solo) in his first game, and also delivered what will be hard to beat for hit of the year. Brockport was trying to put together a 2-minute drill from its own 1-yard line to end the first half, and that included Scibilia throwing to Mrozek in heavy coverage on a post pattern. Cornerback Tanner Troutman came under the play to tip the pass away just as Butler put his right shoulder into Mrozek's chest with a clean hit that knocked the helmet from Mrozek's head. The Golden Eagles receiver lay on the field for a few moments before gathering himself up and walking off the field on his own.
Scibilia is a three-year starter for Brockport and played like it. He let his receivers find windows in Lycoming's defense and picked apart what should be a tremendous Lycoming defense to the tune of 324 yards. He completed 21 of 34 passes, including two touchdowns.
Bukasa has shown in his first two years he's a different kind of athlete on the defensive side of the ball. He possesses more speed and athleticism than most middle linebackers in the MAC with an acute nose for the football. He recorded 10 tackles yesterday, using his speed and athleticism to make plays on the perimeter in Brockport's running game throughout the first half. He's going to be quite the force to deal with all year.
Zack Czap had six punts for Lycoming on Saturday, three of which were downed inside the Brockport 20-yard line. He had one punt downed at the Golden Eagles' 2-yard line that turned into safety, and another that was downed at the 1. ... With 149 yards worth of kickoff returns on Saturday, Parker Showers now had 914 career kickoff return yards which is the second-most in Lycoming history. He's just 73 yards behind former Warriors All-American Ricky Lannetti's career record of 987 yards. ... Prior to Saturday, no Lycoming football team in history had ever finished a game with just two points.
Quote of the day
"While it counts and it certainly is discouraging, our goal is to win a MAC championship, which means next week is critical. We have to find a way to win next Saturday." - Lycoming head coach Mike Clark.
Mitch Rupert covers Lycoming football for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 326-1551, ext. 3129, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter a twitter.com/Mitch_Rupert.