CASTLETON, Vt. – The rushing attack for Gallaudet University broke several program records Saturday on the road as the Bison won a 59-40 shootout against Castleton State College in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action before 2,345 at Spartan Stadium.
Gallaudet (5-3, 4-1 ECFC) ran for 532 yards on 71 carries, scored six rushing touchdowns, had a long run of 86 yards and amassed 674 yards of total offense all of which are new team records during the modern era of Bison football. The 59 points scored by the Bison are the most for a Gallaudet team competing at the NCAA Division III level. The Bison did defeat Walter Reed 60-14 in 2005 when the Bison competed at the club level.
Freshman quarterback Quentin Williams (Chesapeake, Va.) had a first half to remember and forget as he ran 20 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns in just the first five possessions for the Bison. He scored on a career best 86-yard run three minutes into the game when he broke loose down the sideline on third down and three. He followed that with a 23-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter when he faked the hand-off and ran up the middle. Williams, a three-time ECFC Rookie of the Week, was knocked out of the game with an injury with 3:23 left before halftime.
Junior quarterback Anthony Palmer (Unadilla, N.Y.) replaced Williams and the offense continued to hum along as he took to the air and ground for the Bison. On the ensuing play after the injury, Palmer lobbed an eight-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Ryne Worsham (Chicago, Ill.) in the left corner of the end zone as the Bison led 31-20.
Palmer had a career day as he completed his first five passes and finished 5-for-6 (83 percent) for 142 yards and two touchdowns, all marks are career highs. He also ran the ball six times for 28 yards and one touchdown. Worsham, Palmer's favorite target, made four receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns. This was the fourth game this season Worsham has caught two touchdowns and the fifth game he has caught at least one score.
The Bison offense was stellar as it scored points on their first eight possessions as it led 52-27 heading into the fourth quarter. GU did not punt for the first time until the fourth quarter when junior Shelby Bean (Arvada, Colo.) got off a 36-yard punt with 11:19 left in regulation.
Sophomore running back Michael Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.) posted career numbers as he carried the ball 26 times for 164 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore Nick Elstad (Colorado Springs, Colo.) rushed 15 times for a career-high 56 yards and a touchdown and caught one Palmer pass for 30 yards. Junior fullback Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) ran four times for 50 yards and scored a fourth quarter touchdown on an 18-yard run. The touchdown was the first this season for Bonheyo and the first since his Bison debut back on September 4, 2010.
Gallaudet's defense set the tone once more as they came up with key turnovers (three), made five sacks and 10 tackles for a loss of 39 yards. Castleton State (3-5, 2-3) won the coin toss and decided to receive the opening kickoff. Junior quarterback Shane Brozowski (30-for-42, 290 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions) orchestrated a six-play drive that covered 55 yards before it ended at the Gallaudet seven-yard line. Freshman defensive back AJ McCrea (Decautr, Ga.) intercepted Brozowski three minutes into the game. The pick was the first in McCrea's collegiate career as he made a career-high six tackles in the game. That turnover led to seven points when Williams broke free for his 86-yard touchdown run.
The Bison defensive end combo of senior John Van Wey (Alexandria, Va.) and sophomore Matt Harris (Lynchburg, Va.) wrecked havoc on Brozowski as the pair combined for five sacks and a loss of 29 yards. Harris, the reigning ECFC Defensive Player of the Week and a member of the D3football.com Team of the Week, brought down Brozowski three times for 17 yards. He finished with six solo tackles, four tackles for a loss of 19 yards, one forced fumble and four quarterback hurries. Van Wey dropped Brozowski twice for 12 yards and recovered one fumble.
Junior linebacker Tom Pangia (Hammonton, N.J.) had a game-high 14 tackles (11 solos) and forced one fumble while Bean made 11 tackles.
GU came up with a clutch turnover right before halftime as the Spartans drove down to the Gallaudet 3 with two minutes left before halftime. On first and goal, Brozowski dropped back to pass and fired a shot to the left corner of the end zone where junior cornerback Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.) jumped the route and stepped in front of the Spartan receiver for his fourth interception of the season and returned it 36 yards. GU ran out the clock and took a 31-20 lead into halftime.
It was in last year's Castleton State game at Hotchkiss Field that Tatum leaped out-of-bounds and threw back a tipped Brozowski pass made by Pangia to Bean for a miraculous interception play that went viral on YouTube and gained Gallaudet fame on ESPN and College GameDay.
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