#24 FISHER TAKES DOWN UTICA IN BATTLE OF UNBEATENS
The Utica College football team had nationally-ranked No. 24 St.
John Fisher College on the ropes but the Pioneers could not muster
the offense to get over the hump in a 35-24 loss to the visiting
Cardinals in front of a packed house of 3,567 fans at Charles A.
Gaetano Stadium Saturday night. The Pioneer offense came out of the
gates hot scoring 21 of its 24 points in the first half but UC
could not keep the momentum going in the second half as they
dropped their first contest of the season.
With the loss UC (4-1, 0-1 E8) snapped a school-record four game winning streak, while the Cardinals improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in Empire 8 Conference play.
"This will be a great learning experience for our guys and this game will surely help us become a better team down the road," said third year Head Coach Blaise Faggiano, who was the defensive coordinator at Fisher for eight seasons. "We need to eliminate the turnovers down the stretch and we are still learning how to close out games. I'm proud of the way our kids played tonight and I thank the community for coming out and supporting our program."
The UC offense was led by sophomore running back Jake Scott, who carried the ball 16 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Andrew Benkwitt also had a nice evening going 23-for-34 for 257 yards, but he was unable to find pay dirt for the first time this season.
Fisher netted 511 yards of total offense on the evening and the Cardinals were led by senior quarterback Tim Bailey, who went 23-for-31 for 290 yards and four touchdowns. FuQuan Brown rushed the ball 20 times for 93 yards and added one touchdown. Whitesboro's Ryan Schmidt caught eight balls for 80 yards and one touchdown, while Dan Witkowski caught five balls for 96 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pioneers opened up a 14-7 lead when Scott punched home his second straight touchdown with 3:36 left on the first quarter clock. Fisher answered by otuscoring UC 21-7 in the second quarter to take a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Sophomore kicker TJ Losowski buried a third quarter field goal to cut the Fisher lead to just four points, but that was as close as the Pioneers would get. UC made two late attempts to find the end zone but costly interceptions led to an 11 point victory for the visitors.
Senior linebacker Kevin Hennion led the UC defense with a game-high 17 tackles and one forced fumble, while sophomore free safety Kody Parkhurst made a career-high ten stops. Junior corner Jon White tallied eight tackles and one interception.
Three players made at least ten tackles for Fisher including Brenden Moore (11), Adam Burdick (10) and Joe Leavell. Burdick also added an interception which he returned 40 yards.
UC returns to action for its fourth straight home game next Saturday when the Pioneers host St. Lawrence University for a non conference contest at 1 p.m. Check www.ucpioneers.com for all the live in game options.
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