Anthony Ferraro set a school record with 18 receptions, and Aaron Ruthman broke the school record for pass attempts and tied the school record for completions, completing 35-of-52 passes, to lead the St. Lawrence University football team to a 38-24 win over the University of Rochester in the first Liberty League game of the season for both teams on Saturday afternoon.
After falling behind 17-13 late in the first half, Ruthman ran for a 10-yard touchdown on the last play of the first half to give the Saints a 21-17 halftime lead. The Saints built the lead to 31-17 on the first field goal of Austin Pinard's career and a Jamie Battaglia touchdown run in the third quarter, and Darian Davis put the game away with a touchdown run with less than two minutes to play for the final 38-24 score.
"Season two started with a win and that was goal number one today," said St. Lawrence head coach Dan Puckhaber. "Their defensive game plan gave us the short throws to the slots and I credit our quarterback for sticking with the game plan and taking the short throws, which a lot of times is hard for quarterbacks to do, especially a young quarterback that doesn't have a lot of reps.
"Our defense found ways to get off the field in the second half and the offense was able to run the game out at the end. I'm really proud of how Austin Pinard was able to make some kicks today and give his teammates some confidence in him. It is nice to have some momentum headed into the bye week. We challenged the team this week to 'keep swinging' and they did."
Ferraro's 18 catches shattered the school record of 13 that had been shared by his brother, Vincenzo Ferraro '18 (vs. Mount Union, 2015), and Bill Simunek '79 (vs. Rochester, 1978). He totaled 174 receiving yards on the day.
Ruthman's 35 completions matched Mike Lefflbine's '16 output against Endicott in 2015, and his 52 attempts were two more than JP Kearney '12 (vs. Alfred, 2009) and Jon Blumhagen '05 (vs. Union, 2003). He finished the game with 347 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.
While the aerial assault was notable, so was the play of Battaglia, who rushed for 161 yards on just 15 carries. The Saints totaled 584 yards on offense, while Rochester had 335 yards on offense.
Joseph Viscardo got the Saints on the board with a three-yard touchdown catch on the first drive of the game, but Rochester tied the score when Noah Shinaman reeled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Matt Gallagher.
Matt Cognetta gave the Saints the lead again with a two-yard touchdown run, but a 24-yard field goal by Dawson Klinger and a 50-yard touchdown reception by Duncan Stewart gave the Yellowjackets a 17-13 lead with just 1:29 left in the half. Shinaman scored his second touchdown of the game with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter to cut St. Lawrence's lead to 31-24. Shinaman finished the game with nine catches for 135 yards, while Stewart had seven receptions for 119 yards. Gallagher was 21-for-36 passing for 278 yards.
Andrew Murphy caught six passes for 93 yards, and Travonte Wheeler added five receptions for 36 yards for the Saints..
Amir Mells led St. Lawrence's defense with eight tackles, while Kyle Frimel made seven solo stops. TJ Savvaides had two sacks for a loss of 14 yards, while Tyler Mirabile had two tackles for a loss, including a 13-yard sack. Tyler Burns made his second interception of the season for the Saints.
Ricky Simcic led the Yellowjackets' defense with 11 tackles, while Robert Grant had a 20-yard interception return to go with four solo tackles.
St. Lawrence moved to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the Liberty League, while Rochester fell to 1-4, 0-1. The Saints have a bye next weekend and will host Union in a Liberty League contest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 20.