CANTON, NY – The Alfred University football team raced to a 21-point lead before hanging on the defeat host St. Lawrence, 24-16, Saturday afternoon.
The Saxons (2-0 and ranked 25th in the nation) scored early in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead, but St. Lawrence scored 16 unanswered points to pull with five points, at 21-16, with just under three minutes left in the third. Alfred's defense buckled down, forcing the Saints to punt on each of its remaining four possessions, and the Saxons ran out the final 2:46.
After forcing the Saints to punt on their opening possession, AU took possession at its own 33-yard line 1:35 into the game. The Saxons took just five plays to score, with junior quarterback Tom Secky tossing a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end D.J. Loughlin-Pope to cap a 2:40 drive. Two plays earlier, sophomore tailback Chris Lopez had a 38-yard run to the Saint 18-yard line.
The Saxons went up 14-0 when junior linebacker Nick Clark capped a nine-play 59-yard drive with a one-yard run with 4:23 left in the first. Sophomore defensive end Chris Steeves gave Alfred a three-touchdown lead when he intercepted a pass by St. Lawrence quarterback Andy Spadoni and returned it 65 yards for the score 1:43 into the second.
St. Lawrence (0-3) got on the board on the Saints' ensuing possession, driving 60 yards in seven plays, with fullback Marcus Washington scoring on a two-yard run with 9:40 left in the second. On Alfred's next possession, end Chris Palmer sacked Secky, forcing a fumble that St. Lawrence recovered at the Alfred 21. The Saints drove to the Alfred five-yard line, but settled for a Matthew Dodge 22-yard field goal.
Alfred had a chance to build its lead on the Saxons' next possession, but after a 28-yard pass from Secky to senior wideout Ryan Thon, Thon fumbled and the Saints recovered at their own 15-yard line. Alfred was forced to punt on its next two possessions and the Saints drew to within five points on a 25-yard touchdown pass from J.P. Kearney to wide receiver Ethan Sutton with 2:53 left in the third. The two-point conversion try failed and the Saxons led 21-16.
Alfred drove to the St. Lawrence 16-yard line with under two minutes left in the third, but a fake field goal try ended the drive. After forcing a St. Lawrence punt with 9:20 left in the fourth, Alfred drove 56 yards in 11 plays, with junior kicker Eric Rockwood booting a 34-yard field goal to close out the game's scoring.
Alfred produced 311 yards of offense, but turned the ball over four times. Secky finished with 169 yards on 17-of-32 passing and had two passes intercepted. Thon (46 yards) and Loughlin-Pope (44 yards) each caught three passes and Lopez finished with 66 yards on 16 carries. Freshman tailback Austin Dwyer rushed for 62 yards on 12 carries.
Kearney passed for 116 yards and a score and Spadoni threw for 21 yards with one interception. Tight end Tim Robinson (60 yards receiving) and Sutton (38 yards) each caught two passes for St. Lawrence and Washington finished with 46 yards rushing.
The AU defense held the Saints to 229 yards of offense, including 92 on the ground. Junior end Marcellus Jones had seven tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Sophomore tackle Mike Raplee had five tackles (one for loss), a sack, and a fumble recovery and freshman linebacker Steve Kijowski had a sack. Sophomore strong safety Reggie Pressley tallied six tackles and junior tackle Torrance Jones and senior linebacker Chad Pieri each had five.
Linebacker A.J. Blaisdell had a game-high 12 tackles (1 ½ for loss) and linebacker Ryan Fedo had 11 for St. Lawrence. End Nate Howard had 10 tackles and an interception. AU opens Empire 8 Conference play Saturday, Sept. 25, at 2 p.m. at Springfield.