Utica Moves to 2-0 After Win Over Union
Utica has now topped its liberty league rival in two consecutive seasons. UC's Jeremy Meier caught two touchdown passes and became the program's all-time leader with 116 career points scored, surpassing former Pioneer kicker Casey McNulty '09 (109 career points). Meier has 19 career touchdowns.
The Dutchmen got on the board first on a 46 yard run by T.J. Franzese at 3:55 in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. UC answered a little over two minutes later as Benkwitt and Meier hooked up on a 28 yard pass with 1:16 left in the first quarter to knot the game up at 7-7. The Pioneers used a 69 yard- six play drive to get in the end zone.
UC junior linebacker Ryan Hansen intercepted a pass on the next Union drive and returned it 32 yards to the Dutchmen 14 yard line, setting up a go ahead score for Utica. The Pioneers called a timeout, at 13:54 in the second, before converting a third down score to take a 14-7 lead. Benkwitt found senior Matt Dunn, a preseason All-American selection, in the end zone for their third hook up of the season.
Union would put together a nine play drive, totaling 43 yards, resulting in a field goal to pull with in four points of the lead with 9:44 remaining in the half. However, Utica retaliated with back-to-back touchdowns to take a 28-10 lead into the locker room. UC used a nine play drive, moving 43 yards to push to a 21-10 edge. Benkwitt and Meier capped off the drive with a six-yard hook up with 6:11 left.
Then, just under three minutes later, Giametta forced a fumble, only to be recovered by sophomore safety James Lenahan, setting up another Pioneer push. Utica managed to string together another impressive drive as it went 64 yards on 10 plays to ensure an 18 point edge at the half. This time, tight end Logan Jandrew snagged a one-yard pass from Benkwitt.
The Pioneers opened up the third quarter with consecutive scores to take a commanding, 42-10,
The final quarter showed just three drives, two by UC and one by the Dutchmen, including a UC field goal at 6:01. Kicker Josh Sommers totaled nine points for the Pioneers and he connected on the sixth longest field goal in program-history (38 yards). Sommers also went a perfect 6-for-6 on extra point opportunities.
Benkwitt completed an impressive 20-of-29 passes for 260 yards and five touchdowns in his 32 consecutive start.
Baldassare controlled the workload in the back field rushing for a career-high 141 yards on 25 carries and a score, while tallying four catches for 33 yards.
Meier lead the receiving core with 60 yards on four grabs and two touchdowns while Smith, Dunn and senior Jamie Murphy each caught three passes for a combined 142 yards.
UC returns to action Saturday as it hosts Hobart College under the lights of Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.