The Cadets registered 362 yards and five touchdowns on the ground en route to a 45-24 Senior Day 2011 win in front of nearly 1,000 fans at Sabine Field. NU (6-3 overall, 6-0 ECFC) got a strong start from junior kick returner Brandon Rudd (New Haven, Conn.) as he weaved his way down the field for an 82-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff.
NU's offense continued to be efficient throughout the first half, scoring on four of its six drives to hold a 28-10 halftime lead. Following Rudd's kickoff return, senior Andrew Fulford (Gloucester, Mass.) and junior quarterback Kris Sabourin (Georgia, Vt.) combined for the next three scores. Fulford, as part of an 18-carry, 116-yard day, found a seam and roared down the sideline for a 30-yard score, while Sabourin, also hitting triple figures on the ground, scored from seven and 65 yards as part of a 12-carry, 104-yard day.
Fulford added his second rushing score of the day to close a 10-play, 74-yard march in the third quarter, and junior Danny Triplett (Haverhill, Mass.) rushed into the end zone from 30 yards out to spotlight the second half. Senior place-kicker Long Ding (Qing Dao, China) drilled a 40-yard field goal to make the Cadets' point total 45.
Norwich's defense also got in the act. Junior linebacker John Taranto (New Britain, Conn.) reeled off 12 tackles with three-and-a-half tackles for losses and two-and-a-half sacks. Sophomore linebacker Jimmy Labell (Stanhope, N.J.) ended with 8.5 tackles and two tackles for losses. Junior defensive lineman Matt Simonelli (Sciutate, R.I.) and senior defensive back Sean Stone (Wilder, Vt.) also figured in with Simonelli picking up one-and-a-half sacks and Stone turning in an interception.
Anna Maria, despite slipping to 0-8 overall and 0-5 in the ECFC, stayed closed throughout behind the arm of junior quarterback Santino Simone. He connected for three scores to go with his 157 passing yards. The AmCats also had a 100-yard-plus rushing effort from sophomore running back Robert Small who finished with 21 carries for 121 yards.
NU closes the 2011 regular season with a key road trip to Throggs Head, N.Y. Saturday, Nov. 5, for an ECFC clash of unbeatens against SUNY-Maritime. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
NOTES: Saturday's win moved the Maroon and Gold to 18-2 in ECFC play all-time which includes a 10-0 record at Sabine Field. … It was also the third time in the last four games the Cadets had been in the 40-point-plus area. … Sabourin scored a rushing touchdown for the fifth straight game. He has eight in the span.