Fisher Halts Nation's Top Rushing Attack
The St. John Fisher College defense held the nation's No. 1 rushing offense to 256 yards below its average, as the Cardinals came away with a 33-6 win at Springfield College on Saturday in a pivotal Empire 8 Conference matchup.
With the win, Fisher improves to 6-1 overall and 4-0 Empire 8 Conference, while Springfield falls to 4-3, 2-3.
Springfield, who entered the game averaging 388 rushing yards per game this season, was held to just 132 yards on 42 attempts and gained just 46 yards through the air.
The Fisher offense used a well-balanced attack to pick up 388 yards (190 rushing/198 passing) on the day and held the ball for over 38 minutes.
The win avenged a 55-49 loss to Springfield in last year's regular-season finale at Fisher. The loss knocked the Cardinals, who were 8-1 going into the game, out of contention for an NCAA Championship bid.
After allowing 56 points to Hobart College four weeks ago, Fisher has won four straight, allowing a total of 26 points in the four victories. This is the sixth time this season Fisher has held its opponents to 10 points or less.
Quarterback Ryan Kramer led the Fisher offense with two rushing touchdowns, while also throwing for two. He completed 14-of-22 passes for 198 yards. He also ran the ball 17 times for 90 yards.
Fisher scored the game's first touchdown on an 18-play, 78-yard drive with Kramer scoring on a one-yard run on a fourth-and-goal with 3:24 left in the first quarter to give his team a 6-0 lead. The drive ate up nearly nine minutes of time.
After forcing Springfield to punt on its next possession, the Cardinals marched 67 yards on seven plays with Kramer connecting with Artie Bigsby from 14 yards out to make it 13-0 with 13:17 left in the second. The touchdown was the first in Bigsby's four-year career.
Fisher pushed its lead to 20-0 less than four minutes later. After Ryan Schmidt caught a 39-yard pass on a third-and-24 play to give the Cardinals first-and-goal from the Springfield 4, Kramer recovered a fumble by running back Cody Miller in the Springfield end zone.
Chad Monheim kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 23-0 and closed out a first half that was dominated by the Cardinals. Fisher controlled the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half and out-gained the Pride 242-62 over the opening 30 minutes.
Monheim opened the scoring in the second half, booting a 20-yard field goal with just over four minutes left in the third.
Springfield scored its only touchdown of the day on the final play of the third quarter, but the Cardinals remained in control. Fisher kept the ball for more than 11 of the game's final 15 minutes and Schmidt sealed the win, scoring on a 13-yard pass from Kramer with four minutes left in the game.
Schmidt led all Fisher receivers with six receptions for 91 yards. Nathan Nigolian and Bigsby each caught two passes, while Dan Rudy snagged a 25-yard pass to help set up Fisher second touchdown of the day.
Miller finished the day with 73 yards on 26 carries.
Chris Sawyer, who transferred to Fisher after playing at Springfield his freshman year, finished with a team-high seven tackles, including one sack. Dave Vosburgh, Mike Benderski and Mason Judd each finished with tackles, while Mike Belluco was credited with a sack.
Fisher will return to action at 7 p.m. next Saturday and will host Utica College. It will be Fisher's last regular-season home game. The Pioneers are coming off a 20-15 win over Ithaca College today.