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Cardinals Upset #8 California (Pa.) to Open 2009

CALIFORNIA, Pa. – The Saginaw Valley State University football team opened the 2009 season on the road against #8 California (Pa.) with a thrilling 23-17 upset win.

The Cardinals and Vulcans used their first few possessions of the season to feel each other out as neither team was able to get the offense moving. California (Pa.) was able to break through first after A.J. Jackson pulled in a Josh Portis pass for a 40-yard gain. On the next play Freddie Bacco would find the end zone on a 19-yard run for the game’s first score. The Cardinals would answer right back after a Chuck Dowdell (Ft. Wayne, Ind. /Indiana State) pass was dragged in by Nick Gallina (Troy, Mich.) for 47-yards and then two plays later Dowdell would use his legs for a 25-yard gain down to the one. Xavier Walker (Bridgewater, N.J. / Moorpark College) would finish off the drive with a one-yard plunge.

The Vulcans took a 9-7 lead on the Cardinals after a blocked punt was knocked out of the back of the end zone by punter Kurtis Fournier (Warren, Mich. / Cousino HS). On the ensuing free kick Dustin Mayner (Gaines, Mich. / Linden HS) forced and recovered a fumble at the California 35-yard line. Galen Stone would then grab a Dowdell pass for a 24-yard pick-up before running the ball in on a 12-yard reverse to give the Cardinals a 14-9 advantage going into halftime. Dowdell would end the first half with ten rushes for 51 yards and was 5-of-10 passing for 96 yards.

California would capitalize on a Stone fumble to take a 17-14 lead on Bacco’s second rushing touchdown of the night. The Cardinals would once again answer the call as Dowdell connected with Stone on a 13-yard touchdown pass to put SVSU up 21-17. SVSU would march all the way down to the one-yard line before being held out of the end zone on four straight plays, but Bryan Klobucar (Hudsonville, Mich.) would step up on the Vulcans’ first play with a safety to extend the SVSU lead to 23-17. Carlton Downs (Detroit, Mich. / Denby HS) would pick off a Portis pass to seal the Cardinals victory.

The defense was led by John Jacobs (Prudenville, Mich./Midland Dow HS) who racked up 11 tackles for the Cardinals and Downs who had the game sealing interception.

With the win the Cardinals move to 1-0 on the season while California (Pa.) falls to 0-1 on the season. The Cardinals will return to action on September 5th when they travel to Wayne State to open GLIAC play at 12:00 PM at Adams Field.