December 5, 2013

St. John Fisher goes on the road again

More news about: St. John Fisher
Quarterback Tyler Fenti and the Cardinals wear the red jerseys at home, but they've had success on the road, in white, this postseason.
St. John Fisher Athletics photo

By Joe Sager
For D3sports.com

Some football teams dread going on the road to play.

St. John Fisher College actually welcomes it.

That's a good thing because the Cardinals must travel from their Rochester, N.Y., campus to Belton, Tex., to meet the University of Mary-Hardin-Baylor on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Fisher (10-2) doesn't mind, though. The Cardinals, ranked 25th in the last D3football.com poll, look forward to visiting the third-ranked Cru (12-0).

"We're very excited. We've been fighting and clawing all year to get to this position. Now that we're here, we're trying to make the most of it," Fisher senior cornerback Ryan Seymour said. "We got (playoff) two games under our belt and we won those. We're looking to keep the ball rolling. We're playing really well together right now and, hopefully, we can do it again. "The pressure is not on us, that's for sure. They're the top dogs and they're the team everyone is expecting to win, so being the underdog plays in our favor. We like being on the road. I think we play better on the road."

Fisher, which made the tournament as an at-large (Pool C) team, proved it belongs among the nation's elite after the first two rounds. The Cardinals traveled to Ohio and upset ninth-ranked John Carroll, 25-16, to open the postseason. They followed with a 27-6 triumph over backyard rival Hobart, which was ranked eighth.

"They are feeling good about themselves. When you beat two good opponents like we have, you will feel good," Fisher coach Paul Vosburgh said. "Our guys are smart enough to know you can't dwell on two wins too long. We are facing an outstanding opponent. It's the best team we have seen on film this year. The kids really have to be ready to go."

Going against powerful UMHB is a daunting task for Fisher. The Cru averages 49.3 points per game, which ranks second in D-III.

"We're excited to go down there. It'll be a good experience for our program. The elite eight is an exciting place to be and we're looking forward to the game," Fisher senior quarterback Tyler Fenti said. "We're playing a very good team and it'll be a challenge. We all want to be playing football in December, so we want to keep it going."

The Cardinals' defense faces another strong test. However, Fisher has responded and forced 15 turnovers in the team's past three games.

"Coach comes up with a great game plan every week and we just go out there and execute it," Seymour said. "Sure enough, we're in the right spot at the right time and we come up with those big plays. I think that's huge. Our offense is doing a great job holding onto the ball. If we can create turnovers, things will usually fall the right way."

Fisher's offense made those turnovers hurt, too. The Cardinals turned all three takeaways into points in last week's win against Hobart.

"I know we had one turnover last week where we scored on the next play," Seymour said. "That's a huge boost because we know those points were from our turnover. We helped them get that. We don't always get a chance to score points, but if we can get the opportunity to put our offense in a good position to score points, that's just as good as scoring points for us.

"We've been watching film on them and I know Coach has come up with something good. If we all play together, hopefully, we can put ourselves in those situations again. If we can force some turnovers, I think we have a shot at winning this game, too."

Offensively, Fisher may not match the Cru's firepower, but the Cardinals have been opportunistic, especially in the playoffs.

"I think the offense has done a pretty nice job. Against Hobart, we were in the red zone six times and scored on five occasions. We missed one field goal, but had three touchdowns and two field goals," Vosburgh said. "We capitalized on three turnovers we caused and got points off all three. That is pretty critical. We were very good in the red zone against John Carroll, too. You have to do that against good teams. If you get opportunities, you have to come away with something."

On defense, UMHB shines as well. The Cru ranks ninth nationally in total defense at 258.9 yards per game. The team features the second-ranked rushing defense at 62.9 yards per game. Those statistics don't intimidate Fisher because John Carroll had the second-ranked scoring defense and the Cardinals prevailed.

"We have to go into this game and just do what we do," Vosburgh said. "We have to be fundamentally and technically sound and get it done."

Fisher features a balanced attack. Fenti passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns last week. Kevin Francis had eight catches for 133 yards, while Nathan Nigolian hauled in six passes for 77 yards and Dan Rudy had four catches for 34 yards. Cody Miller rushed for 60 yards in the triumph.

"Our offense is playing well. Everyone is making plays when we need to," Fenti said. "The line is blocking great and our playmakers are doing well. We're playing well together. We're doing what we can to succeed and move forward."

This is the Cardinals' second trip to the quarterfinals in three years. They dropped a 45-10 decision to St. Thomas to end their 2011 playoff run. So, some players already have experienced being in this situation.

"Two years ago, it was a completely different team. There aren't many starters now that actually played in that game. I just played special teams," Seymour said. "I know a lot of our starters now didn't even travel two years ago. It's a different field and a different team. Each team has its own uniqueness and character. I think we've been building ourselves a nice character and we've been working together nicely and coming together as the season's gone on. That's making us a better team.

"Being back two years ago, it takes a little of the anxiety off of being in a new situation. We've been there; we know what it feels like; we've played in big games. Virtually every game we play throughout the season is a big game based on the schedule we have," he continued. "To us, this is just another week. Sure, it's the elite eight, but we line up against whoever we're playing and we play with our backs against the wall like it's the last game we're ever going to play."

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
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Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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Final
at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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Final
at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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Final
at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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Final
at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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Final
at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Final
at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
Box Score Recap
Final
at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
Final
at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
Final
at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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Final
at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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Final
at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
Final
Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap
Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
Live Stats
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap