Utica, N.Y. (10/9/10) - The Utica College football team
continued its storied season with a 31-13 victory over visiting St.
Lawrence University Saturday on the turf at Charles A. Gaetano
Stadium. The Pioneers improved to 5-1 and defeated the Saints for
the first time in the program's ten year history. Sophomore
Benkwitt went 24-for-38 with 308 yards passing and three
touchdowns, while senior linebacker Travis
Ladd totaled a team-high ten tackles. Senior defensive
Branch racked up two sacks and tied the school-record
with 14.5 for his career.
"We did what we had to do to get the win and I am really proud of our guys for coming out and playing hard today," said third-year Head Coach Blaise Faggiano. "I know I'm picky, but it wasn't pretty at times. With that being said, St. Lawrence is a very good team and this shows you how far our program has come."
In two previous meeting Utica struggled against St. Lawrence, but this time around the Pioneers nationally-ranked offense could not be stopped as it racked up 443 total yards of offense. The Utica defense held the Saints to just 72 yards rushing on the day to secure the 18 point victory.
"We emphasized all week how important it was going to be to stop the run and I think we did a good job of doing just that," said Faggiano, who improved to 12-14 as the head coach of the Pioneers. "Now it's time for Springfield and they have been playing well all year long. The Empire 8 is one of the top five conference's in the country and it is going to be a battle the rest of the way."
After 13:56 of scoreless play in the first quarter Utica sophomore running back Jake Scott punched home a three yard run, his team-best tenth touchdown of the season, to cap a 15 play - 81 yard drive and give the Pioneers' a 7-0 lead. The Pioneers bumped their lead to 14-0 at the 7:01 mark of the second quarter when sophomore tight end Matt Dunn caught a four yard touchdown pass from Benkwitt to cap a four play – 67 yard drive.
St. Lawrence responded 3:05 later when Alcee Walker caught a 49 yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback JP Kearney to cut the Utica lead to eight points, 14-6, with 3:56 to go in the half. The ensuing extra point was blocked by the Pioneers as they held the St. Lawrence offense to just six first half points. Kearney finished the day completing 19-of-32 passes for 260 yards and one touchdown.
Utica would answer before the halftime horn when junior transfer Jess St. Aubin caught his first touchdown as a Pioneer, from Benkwitt, to give Utica a 21-6 lead.
UC opened the second half scoring when junior receiver Jeremy Meier caught a ten yard out and cruised down the sideline for a 45 yard touchdown with 5:23 to go in the third quarter to give the Pioneers a commanding 28-6 lead. Meier finished the day with a game-high nine catches for 117 yards.
St. Lawrence junior running back Marcus Washington would get the Saints on the board one last time with a two yard touchdown run with 11:31 to go in the game to cut the UC lead to 15 points, 28-13.
Utica sophomore kicker TJ Losowski drilled a 34 yard field goal with 7:27 to go in the contest to close out the scoring on the day.
Sophomore linebacker Genaro Scampone totaled eight tackles, while classmate James Brain racked up seven tackles and two sacks for the UC defense. Sophomore safety Kody Parkhurst intercepted his first career pass to go along with six tackles on the day. Defensive tackle Jerrod Clowes also added six tackles for the Pioneers.
Junior safety Trevor Saunders totaled a game-high 12 tackles and broke up two passes to pace the Saint's defense, while classmate Christian Bianchi added ten tackles. Senior linebacker Ryan Fedo also added ten tackles for the St. Lawrence defensive unit.
UC's Jake Scott rushed the ball 17 times for 67 yards and one touchdown, while freshman Barrington Wallace tallied seven rushes for a career-high 39 yards on the ground. Junior captain Josh Mason caught six balls for a game-high 124 yards.
St. Lawrence junior receiver Ethan Sutton caught six balls for a team-high 59 yards and added two carries for 31 yards, while Washington finished the day with 14 carries for 30 yards. Senior tight end Tim Robinson caught four balls for 50 yards.
The Pioneers wrapped up their four game home stand with a 3-1 record at Gaetano, and Utica will hit the road for its next three games, beginning with conference foe Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Check www.ucpioneers.com for live in-game options.
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