St. Lawrence University quarterback Sean Richardson connected with Vincenzo Ferraro for a nine-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to bring the Saints to with two points at 20-18 but a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns by Hobart gave the Statesmen a 34-18 victory in a Liberty League matchup Saturday afternoon on Weeks Field at Leckonby Stadium in Canton.
The win for Hobart (8-1 Overall, 5-1 Liberty League), ranked No. 25 in the AFCA poll, prevented St. Lawrence (8-1, 5-1), ranked No. 13 in the AFCA poll and #16 in the D3football.com poll, from clinching the Liberty League title. With the Saints and Statesmen tied at the top of the standings, St. Lawrence needs a win over WPI in the regular season finale to force Hobart to defeat Rochester in its final game which would give both teams a share of the title. In that scenario, Hobart would receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with its win over the Saints.
St. Lawrence can win the Liberty League title with a win over WPI and a Rochester win over Hobart next week. The NCAA bids are announced Nov. 13.
Prior to the start of the game, the Saints honored 26 seniors including two student assistant coaches.
St. Lawrence scored first with a 23-yard field goal and took a 10-7 lead with a Ferraro 23-yard touchdown catch at the 9:35 mark of the second quarter. Hobart came back with a pair of scores in the second quarter including a touchdown play with 30 seconds left in the first half to take a 20-10 lead into the halftime intermission.
In the third quarter, the Saints closed the gap to eight points with a safety after a holding penalty was called against Hobart in the end zone. The play was set up by a second St. Lawrence punt that was downed inside the five-yard line. A fourth-down quick kick by Richardson had pinned the Statesmen on their own two-yard line a drive earlier. Austen Lauricella's punt at the end of the next St. Lawrence drive was downed at the five-yard line.
After a pair of incomplete passes to start the Hobart drive, quarterback Shane Sweeney dropped back again and was flushed out of the pocket by Alec Dietsch forcing a third incomplete pass but a holding call against the Hobart offensive line resulted in the safety.
After the free kick that was returned 27 yards by Lauricella, Richardson and the Saints marched down the field with a six-play drive that included an 18-yard pass and catch from Richardson to Rodrick Payne. The drive was capped by the nine-yard scoring pass to Ferraro.
The St. Lawrence defense held Hobart on the ensuing drive that started at the end of the third quarter and carried over to the fourth.
Richardson moved the Saints down the field with a drive that included a 24-yard reception by Ferraro on a third-down play and a seven-yard pass play to Gallagher for a first down later in the drive. On the Gallagher play, St. Lawrence was flagged for offensive pass interference.
Facing a fourth-and-four from the Hobart 38 yard line, the Saints used another quick kick by Richardson but the kick bounced out of bounds after 11 yards.
The Statesmen marched down the field with a drive that was highlighted by a 56-yard pass play and finished with a short touchdown pass on a third-and-goal situation.
After the Hobart kickoff and a 20-yard return by Lauricella, Richardson's first pass attempt of the ensuing drive was intercepted giving the ball back to the Statesmen with 5:03 left in the game.
Hobart added a late touchdown with 1:14 left to play to cap the scoring.
Gallagher had a career-high 115 receiving yards and Richardson passed for a career-high 350 yards which is the most for a St. Lawrence quarterback since Brad Heil threw for 366 yards against WPI in 2007.
Patrick Bryant finished with more than 100 yards receiving ending with 107 yards on four catches. Lauricella had 97 kickoff return yards. Dan Jeffrey and Dietsch led the defense with nine tackles each. Dietsch had two sacks, three and a half tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Jayson Leigh and Scott Arens had three breakups each as the Saints knocked down nine passes on the afternoon.
The Saints will end the regular season with a road game next weekend at WPI.