SPRINGFIELD GRINDS OUT FOUR POINT VICTORY OVER UTICA
Springfield, Mass. (10/16/10) – The Utica College football
team suffered a setback Saturday, falling to host Springfield
20-16, in Empire 8 Conference play at Stagg Field. The Pioneers
(5-2, 0-2 E8), who scored all 16 of their points in the second
half, held the Pride's second highest rushing attack in the
country to 105 yards below their season average. Senior middle
Ladd led the Pioneer defense with a game-high 16
"We proved once again that we can play with anyone in the conference," said third year Head Coach Blaise Faggiano. "Springfield is very talented and I thought our kids did a nice job today. It took some time to get the offense going but that's going to happen sometimes."
Springfield (5-1, 1-1 E8) scored on its first drive of the contest and the Pioneers fell behind 7-0 midway through the first quarter. Joe Myhren's seven yard touchdown plunge would be the lone score of the first half. Myhren finished the day with 71 yards rushing on just nine carries.
After being held scoreless over the course of the first 42:18 of the contest the Pioneers' high-powered offense finally got on the board when senior fullback Tim Millerick caught his first touchdown of the season to knot the score at 7-7 with 2:42 to go in the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Andrew Benkwitt finished the day with 18 completions for 201 yards passing to go along with two touchdowns.
"Every time we put points on the board Springfield responded on the next possession," said Faggiano. "We had a couple miscues on special teams that hurt us in the end and good teams are going to take advantage of those mistakes."
Springfield seemed to have an immediate answer for every UC touchdown and the Pride took just 1:33 to take the lead right back when Josh Carter scored on a six yard touchdown run with 1:09 to go in the third. Utica blocked the ensuing extra point and the Pride held a six point lead, 13-7, headed into the fourth and final quarter of play.
The Pioneers tied the game up early in the fourth when junior receiver Jeremy Meier caught a 24 yard touchdown from Benkwitt. Utica missed the extra point attempt and the score was tied,13-13, with 13:03 remaining.
4:03 later Springfield took the lead back for good when Alex Mendez punched in a two yard rushing touchdown to cap a 10 play, 64 yard scoring drive with nine minutes to go in the contest.
"This is a tough loss for us but now we get a little rest with a bye next weekend and we have two weeks to prepare for Ithaca," said Faggiano.
Sophomore kicker Seth Mitchell closed out the scoring on the day when he drilled his first collegiate field goal, a 28 yarder, to cut the Pride's lead to just four points, 30-16, with less than four minutes to go in the game.
Sophomore running back Jake Scott rushed the ball 22 times for 78 yards to lead the Pioneers' rushing attack. Utica racked up 308 total yards on the day but the Pioneers had trouble converting on third down (3-for-10).
Sophomores Omari Byfield and James Brain each posted a career-high 14 tackles. Byfield blocked an extra point and Brain also forced a fumble. Senior safety Terrell Cunningham totaled nine tackles, while sophomore linebacker Genaro Scampone added seven stops.
It was a tight contest the entire day and it showed up in the box score. There was only five yards difference in total offense -- 313 yards for Springfield, 308 yards for Utica. Each team had 20 first downs. Time of possession went Utica's way by 26 seconds -- 30:13 to 29:47. Number of plays went SC's way -- 70-62 (Courtesy of Springfield Sports Information).
UC returns after a bye week next Saturday to take on conference rival Ithaca College at Butterfield Stadium on Oct. 30th. The contest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WIBX 950 AM. Check www.ucpioneers.com for links to live video, audio and stats.
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