October 5, 2010

St. Lawrence thrills Homecoming crowd

More news about: St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence's Sutton
Ethan Sutton caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown in St. Lawrence's surprise win against Hobart.
St. Lawrence photo by Tara Freeman

Twenty years is a long time. I mean, I’m only 28, for crying out loud. So when something happens for the first time in 20 years, it’s a pretty big deal.

Hobart had beaten St. Lawrence 18 times in a row. Didn’t matter if the games were in Geneva or in Canton, St. Lawrence just couldn’t get over the hump.

Until now.

Thanks to three touchdown passes by senior quarterback JP Kearney and five turnovers caused by the Saints defense, the Saints finally beat Hobart for the first time since 1991, a 24-21 win on Homecoming at Leckonby Stadium.

“It’s a huge win for our program,” first-year coach Mark Raymond said Tuesday afternoon. “It shows that we can be competitive in the Liberty League.”

Sometimes the games have been close, like a 13-0 win in 1992, a 27-23 win in 1994 and a 25-24 squeaker in 1996, coach Mike Cragg’s second year at the helm of Hobart.

Others, not so much, like a 57-0 drubbing in 1997 and a 56-21 rout in 2007.

But St. Lawrence finally got through the Hobart barrier in 2010 and did it with some quality quarterback play from the senior under center.

“JP did an outstanding job and did excellently, even under lots of pressure from the Hobart defense,” Raymond said. “The guys made a lot of plays.”

Kearney only completed eight passes on the day, but three of them were for scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior co-captain linebacker Ben Cryts had three interceptions of Hobart quarterback Doug Vella as St. Lawrence remained tied atop the Liberty League with Union at 2-0.

“Ben was outstanding. He’s been a leader for us from Day 1 of camp this year,” Raymond said.

The first-year coach was quick to give credit to the rest of his coaching staff for their preparation in the week leading up to playing the Statesmen.

“We had a good game plan,” Raymond said. “Hobart is good on offense, and (Steven) Webb is very dangerous at running back. He’s a heck of a weapon.”

The current players on the Saints’ squad were still in diapers the last time SLU beat the Statesmen, but Raymond and the coaching squad didn’t have to say too much for his team to know how huge a win this was.

“Hobart has been a tough opponent for a long time,” Raymond said. “Winning is always good for a team’s momentum and confidence.”

When asked if a win like this could help in recruiting, Raymond said it could based on the fact that “success breeds success.”

“Winning football games is always helpful, but this is just one game, and we still have to prepare for the rest of the season,” he said.

Next week will have another tough test, going out of conference to play Utica, who fought Fisher tooth and nail, falling in their first conference game, 35-24.

“They are a very solid football team on both sides of the ball,” Raymond said. “It’s going to be a challenge, no question about it.”

Top 25 roundup
Delaware Valley moved up from No. 13 to No. 12 in the D3football.com Top 25 poll after a surprisingly easy 38-6 win against Middle Athletic Conference rival Lebanon Valley.

DVC quarterback Matt Hatty tied a school record with five touchdowns, throwing for 269 yards as well on the day.

The record tied three others in DVC history: Jim Smith in 1968, Duke Greco in 2000 and Adam Knoblauch in 2003. Greco is the current offensive coordinator for the Aggies.

Another record was broken, as Matt Cook soared into the top spot for rushing yards in a career, passing Steve Cook on the all-time list. Matt Cook rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries, and now has 3,549 for his career.

In a rematch of last year’s New Jersey Athletic Conference championship game, No. 16 Montclair State battled Kean. Thanks to two touchdown passes from Tom Fischer, the Red Hawks remain undefeated at 4-0, 3-0 in the conference. MSU takes on The College of New Jersey next week, looking to win its 13th conference game in a row.

St. John Fisher moved to 5-0 after a 35-24 win over upstart Utica on Saturday night at the first-ever night game at Gaetano Stadium. SJF senior quarterback Tim Bailey threw for 290 yards and four touchdowns, three to receiver Dan Witkowski, who tied a school record with the three touchdown catches.

Both teams struggled on defense, especially in the first half, as the teams went into the locker room at halftime with St. John Fisher up 24-21, but the Cardinals only allowed three points in the second half. Utica sophomore quarterback Andrew Benkwitt threw for 257 yards but was held out of the end zone for the first time this year.

The Cardinals rise from No. 24 to No. 20 in the D3football.com poll.

Alfred also moved up four spots, from 25 to 21, after a 49-24 win over non-conference (but soon to be conference) opponent Frostburg State.

Sophomore tailback Chris Lopez only ran for 70 yards, but had three 1-yard touchdown runs on the day.

Sophomore defensive tackle Mike Raplee had a heck of a day, making 9 tackles, 2.5 for loss and recording a sack.

Cortland State sneaks into the poll for the first time in 2010 after a 37-0 whitewash of TCNJ, the Red Dragons’ second shutout in a row.

Senior quarterback Dan Pitcher had four touchdown passes, three to senior Anthony Giuliano. Cortland held TCNJ to 91 yards of total offense.

Sophomore tailback Justin Autera scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass, his 10th in four games. The play was named as the D3football.com play of the week.

Conference roundups
NJAC: Steve Hevalow and Tim Hagerty each rushed for more than 100 yards in Rowan’s 24-7 win over Buffalo State.

Hevalow carried the ball 30 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns and Hagerty, the quarterback, rushed for 127 yards as they ran over the Bengals.

William Paterson got scores from the offense, defense and special teams in a 35-0 shutout of Western Connecticut.

It was the first shutout for WPU since 2005, and it came in a big way on Homecoming.

The Pioneers are 3-1 overall, and 2-1 in the NJAC, its best start since a 5-0 beginning in 1992. They face off against Morrisville next week.

Morrisville beat Brockport 48-41, but the big story was Brockport running back Alex Hendrickson. He was named the offensive player of the week in the conference, rushing for 310 yards and two touchdowns against Morrisville State. The total was the highest in D-III so far in 2010, and second highest in Brockport history, behind Garet Lynch’s 429 against Hartwick a couple of years ago.

All those yards meant a little less in the end, as Morrisville scored with 3:57 left for the go-ahead points.

Liberty League: RPI’s defense finally came together for a full game against Rochester at Fauver Stadium on Saturday, shutting out the Yellowjackets 17-0. Mike Hermann was the key for RPI, passing for 172 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Rochester is one of the disappointments so far in the East, starting 0-4 overall and 0-2 in LL play.

Union used the rushing game to perfection to sneak past WPI 25-17. Chris Coney and Drew Connolly both had two touchdown runs as Union only passed for 52 yards on the day.

Coney had a big day on the ground, rushing for 197 yards on 32 carries and those two scores, and was named as a Liberty League co-offensive player of the week for his performance.

Union and St. Lawrence are tied atop the conference at 2-0.

Empire 8: Ithaca raced out to a 21-0 lead, then had to hold on to beat Hartwick 29-17. Ithaca sophomore running back Clay Ardoin rushed for a career-high 108 yards and fellow classmate Andre Jamison caught his first touchdown as a Bomber, a 43-yard bomb from Rob Zappia.

Hartwick’s Jordan Wilkins caught 9 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, but the Hawks were held to zero rushing yards, and the imbalance was costly.

Springfield rewrote the Pride record book in a 64-0 pasting of the Merchant Marine Academy. The top three running backs for SC were injured, but it didn’t much matter as the backups -- mostly sophomores and freshmen -- picked up the slack.

Freshman quarterback Austin Bateman rushed 12 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore running back Mike Davis ran 14 times for 118 yards and three scores as the Mariners had no answer whatsoever for the Pride.

Springfield broke the game rushing total with 676 yards, breaking the record of 596 set in 1996 against William Paterson. They also broke the total yards record, with 717.

MAC:  FDU-Florham’s unbeaten streak was snapped as the Pride of Widener University took down the Devils 35-20.

A 21-point fourth quarter sealed the victory for Widener.

The big star on the day for the Pride was kick returner LaQuan Robinson, who returned not one, but two punts for touchdown (63 and 62 yards, respectively) and had a 42.3 yard return average on the day.

A win would have given FDU its first 4-0 start since 1988.

Lycoming’s Josh Kleinfelter rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns in the Warriors’ 31-24 win over King’s College.

Kleinfelter, a senior, moved into second place on the all-time rushing list, 105 yards behind the top spot. Kleinfelter has 3,162 yards in his career.

It was offense all the way between Wilkes and Albright on Saturday, but special teams made the difference, as Wilkes kicker Chris Horn nailed a 30-yard field goal with only a few seconds left to give the Colonels a 38-35 win.

Albright junior running back Josan Holmes ran for 99 yards on 20 carries, surpassing the 2,000-yard barrier. It’ll be interesting to see how high on the rushing list he can get.

Picks return
I’ve been asked to do the picks again for some of the biggest games on the East Region schedule. So without further ado, here’s the fail, in full view:

Ithaca at No. 20 St. John Fisher: St. John Fisher looks good, but the defense struggled in the first half against Utica. Ithaca is still battling injuries, but Rob Zappia at quarterback is the real deal for the Bombers.

St. John Fisher gets the home edge, however.

SJF 35, Ithaca 24

Union at Hobart: Union’s running attack should have the edge in this one, but at home freshman Steven Webb has been a stud in the first four games of his soon-to-be lengthy Hobart career. And after the loss against SLU, I think Coach Mike Cragg has them extra hyped for the game against Union.

Hobart 27, Union 20

Bonus pick: Coney and Webb each rush for more than 100 yards.

Brockport State at Cortland State: The battle of otherwise-SUNYAC schools will go down in Cortland on Saturday as the Red Dragons and Golden Eagles meet. Cortland has pitched shutouts in the last two, but with Alex Hendrickson blasting through for more than 300 yards on the ground, this could be a test for Cortland.

Cortland 45, Brockport 28

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Andrew Lovell

Andrew Lovell is an associate news editor for ESPN.com and a former sports staff writer/editor for the New Britain Herald (Conn.). He has contributed freelance work to ESPN Rise and has been a regular contributor to D3football.com since 2007. Andrew has also written for a number of daily newspapers in New York, including the Poughkeepsie Journal, Ithaca Journal and Auburn Citizen. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with B.A. in Sport Media and a minor in writing. A native of Hyde Park, N.Y., Andrew currently resides in New Britain. 

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov 

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