NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University football team used two late interceptions, including one returned 86 yards for a score by senior DB Sean Stone (Wilder, Vt.), to seal a 31-17, victory over conference-rival Mount Ida Oct. 1 at Sabine Field. The Cadet offense was led by freshman RB Derrick Pitts (Schenectady, N.Y.) who rushed for 176 yards.
Pitts set the stage for the Cadets opening score when he ripped off a 74-yard run on first down all the way down to the Mount Ida seven-yard line. Two plays later, junior QB Kris Sabourin (Georgia, Vt.) found the left side of the end zone wide open on a naked bootleg with 11:12 to go in the frame. Mount Ida (1-3, 0-1 ECFC) got on the board when Bobby Hemann hit a 21-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
The Cadets' (2-3, 2-0 ECFC) defense contributed to the team's next score when sophomore Jimmy Labell's strip-sack of Mustang QB Shane Drosendahl gave NU the ball at the Ida 26-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-two on the ensuing drive the Norwich offense used a little trickery to pick up the first down and more. Sabourin pitched the ball to junior RB Andrew Fulford who found junior TE Jeff Hill wide open at the goal line on the halfback pass to make it 14-3. Mount Ida made it 14-10 going into the half when Drosendahl scored on a quarterback sneak from one-yard out.
Senior K Long Ding (Qing Dao, China) connected on a 35-yard field goal to push the Cadet lead to 17-10 with 8:55 remaining in the third quarter. After forcing a turnover-on-downs on Ida's ensuing possession, NU took over on its own 21-yard line. Sabourin's first down pass was picked off by Mack Charles who ran it back to tie it at 17-17 with 6:06 to play in the third quarter.
Fulford found the end zone with the eventual winning score on a one-yard run to put the Cadets up 24-17 with 4:06 to go in the game. Stone's 84-yard interception return effectively sealed the victory for NU. Fulford chipped in 54 yards in the ground for the Cadets who had 253 total rushing yards.
Drosendahl went 21-for-41 for 284 yards for MIC, but had three picks. Matt Valentini paced the Mustang receiving corps with 164 yards on nine catches.
Labell had an outstanding day defensively for the Cadets, as he had a sack, a forced fumble, three tackles-for-loss and an interception. Senior LB Joseph Gumbrewicz added 6.5 tackles (three for loss) for NU.
The Cadets will now travel to Castleton, Vt., where they will take on Castleton State College Saturday, Oct. 8, in the third annual "Battle for the Bucket." Kickoff inside Spartan Stadium is slated for 1 p.m.