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Lazear rallies Rams past Raiders

September 02, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER

SHEPHERDSTOWN, Pa. - Second chances are seldom given and often times must be earned. But once afforded, they can inspire confidence.

Shepherd University quarterback Tyler Lazear knew his defense would earn the offense a second chance. It was what he and the offense did with it that would inevitably matter.

So, he made it matter by hitting Mark Springirth for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter to lift Shepherd to a 19-14 win at Ram Stadium.

"It was a play-action off the middle zone that we used a lot in the game," said Lazear. "I was going to (Springirth) as long as the safety didn't drop back, and I just tried to put it where only he could catch it."

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Springirth ran a post pattern and simply outjumped Shippensburg defensive back Gus Macfoy to haul in the winning score and preserve the Rams' mark of 30 straight regular-season wins - and their third straight against the Red Raiders.

"It was nice to be able to come back," said Shepherd coach Monte Cater. "The fact that we were down and had to make plays to even put ourselves in a position to be able to win was impressive."

Shepherd (2-0) flirted with being upset when it failed to convert on fourth-and-two at the Shippensburg 12-yard-line with 5:13 remaining. But the Rams defense stepped up against the run - seemingly for the first time all afternoon - to force a punt and regain possession with 3:09 left.

Taros Harris' 20-yard punt return put the Rams at the Shippensburg 46 to start the drive and two plays later Lazear hit Springirth for the go-ahead score.

"I knew the defense would step it up and get us the ball back. I was expecting it," Lazear said. "Then we just had to go out and get the job done."

The Rams' defensive stand was somewhat surprising because of the Red Raiders's success running the ball to that point. Chris Lynch (95 yards, two touchdowns) and Aaron Dykes (50 yards) pounded the ball between the tackles to help Shippensburg roll up 197 yards rushing.

But when Shippensburg (0-1) needed the extra yardage to keep the clock running, the Rams held Dykes to eight yards on three carries to force the punt.

"We had no choice. We knew what we had to do because they had run so effectively," Cater said. "All the things that we like to do, they did."

The Rams still held their own by rushing for 191 yards - Dervon Wallace led with 142 on 28 carries.

"(Wallace) was worn out. We probably didn't sub enough for him, but when the game's on the line, you ride your horse," Cater said.

Wallace rushed for 25 yards on Shepherd's opening drive, which ended in a 23-yard scoring strike from Lazear to John Sheehan to give the Rams a 7-0 lead with 9:23 left in the first quarter. That turned out to be the best drive of the game for Shepherd, which lagged around midfield for the remainder of the half.

Meanwhile, Shippensburg established its running game and knotted the score at 7 when Lynch scored from 8 yards to cap a 3-play, 57-yard drive with 2:52 left in the first quarter.

The Red Raiders took their first lead after recovering a Rams fumble and marching 71 yards in seven plays - once again ending with an 8-yard run by Lynch - for a 14-7 lead with 11:29 left in the third quarter.

The Rams answered with 12:02 left in the fourth quarter. Lazear dumped a pass off to Bobby Humphries, who shook a tackle and and jogged 13 yards into the end zone. The extra point was blocked to keep the Red Raiders ahead, 14-13.

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