ALFRED, NY – Senior placekicker Eric Rockwood booted a 29-yard field goal in overtime, sending the 23rd-ranked Alfred University football team to a thrilling 32-29 overtime win over Hartwick before a capacity Homecoming crowd at Merrill Field Saturday afternoon.
Rockwood's field goal, his fourth of the game, came after Hartwick missed a field goal on the Hawks' opening possession of the extra session. With the victory, AU improves to 4-1 overall and evens its Empire 8 Conference record at 1-1. Hartwick (2-3) falls to 0-2 in the conference.
Hartwick forced overtime when the Hawks, down 29-21, scored on a four-yard pass from Dan Brainard to Chris Hose with 3:43 left, then converted the two-point conversion. Alfred drove to the Hartwick 34-yard line on the Saxons' ensuing possession but turned the ball over on downs.
The Saxons took a 29-21 led with 10:10 left in the fourth when sophomore tailback Austin Dwyer burst through the right side and ran down the sideline on a 67-yard scoring run. Dwyer's score capped a 17-0 AU scoring run over the third and fourth quarters that erased a 21-13 deficit.
Hartwick built its lead off two AU turnovers to start the second half. The first, on an eight-yard TD pass from Brainard to Jordan Wilkins 22 seconds into the second half, came one play after Hartwick's Pete Jackson intercepted AU senior quarterback Tom Secky. On Alfred's ensuing possession, Ray Mitchell intercepted Secky and returned the ball 40 yards for a TD, putting Hartwick up 21-13.
Alfred outgained Hartwick 435 yards to 272, but for the second straight week the Saxons were hurt by turnovers. A week after six miscues cost AU in a 17-3 loss at St, John Fisher, Alfred turned the ball over three times against Hartwick, leading to 14 Hawk points. A third turnover, on a fumble, would lead to a Hartwick punt.
Hartwick took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard Brainard run with 3:35 left in the first before AU took a 13-7 halftime lead. The Saxons scored on their third possession of the game, driving 55 yards in seven plays, with Secky tossing a 14-yard TD pass to junior tailback Tyler DeRosa with 1:24 left in the opening frame. Rockwood booted a pair of second-quarter field goals, from 24 and 26 yards, to five the Saxons a six-point edge heading into intermission.
Rockwood added a 37-yard field goal with just under seven minutes left in the third and senior linebacker Nick Clark put Alfred ahead, 22-21, with a two-yard run with 3:39 left in the third. Dwyer's long run gave the Saxons an eight-point lead that Hartwick erased late in the fourth.
Dwyer finished with 119 yards on 16 carries. It was the fourth time in five games this year he has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark. DeRosa added 40 yards on 10 carries. Secky shook off the two picks to throw for 281 yards and a score. Junior tight end Adam Schutz caught five passes for a career-best 109 yards, while sophomore wideouts Justin Oliver (76 yards) and Josh Phillips (67 yards) each caught six passes.
Rockwood finished a perfect four-of-four on field goals and two-of-two on extra points while averaging 41.4 yards on five punts (landing three inside the 20).
Brainard threw for 227 yards and a pair of scores for Hartwick. Tailback Anthony Casimano caught a game-high nine passes for 55 yards and ran 16 times for 61 yards. Wilkins caught seven passes for 112 yards and a score.
Clark led the AU defense with 11 tackles (eight solo) and two pass breakups. Junior nose guard Mike Raplee had five tackles, including a sack, and junior free safety Jon Jackson had four solo tackles, an interception, a pass breakup and a blocked punt. Junior strong safety Reggie Pressley and senior linebacker Wes Smith each had seven tackles.
Bryan Schweitzer had a game-high 13 tackles and two forced fumbles and Jordan Spirou added 10 (two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss) and a fumble recovery to pace the Hawk defense.
Alfred is in action next on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 12 p.m. when the Saxons entertain 22nd-ranked and unbeaten Salisbury in a key Empire 8 matchup