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Utica Football Continues Strong Play in Empire 8; Pioneers Top Hartwick 43-7

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Utica 43, Hartwick 7 - Football Final

Oneonta, NY (10/20/2012) – The Utica College football team put together its second straight dominant Empire 8 Conference performance, this time topping host Hartwick College 43-7 at Wright Stadium on Saturday.  The Pioneers once against controlled play on both sides of the ball for 60 minutes and they have now outscored their opponents 83-7 over the course of their last two conference victories.  UC advanced its record to 5-2 overall for the second straight year and the Pioneers moved into a second place tie with a 3-1 overall record in the E8. UC has incredible momentum headed into their toughest stretch of the season, with their final three games coming against conference and national powers Alfred, Salisbury and St. John Fisher. 

"For two straight weeks we have put together a complete game.  This is the type of football we would like to bring to the table every Saturday," said Faggiano of his teams convincing win over the Hawks. "We have worked hard to get to this point and now we have to finish strong.  We're going to take it one day at a time.  We still have facets of the game that we think we can get a little better at and we have to game plan for a very tough Alfred team. Every game from here on out is going to be our biggest challenge of the year - it's an exciting position to be in."

One of the most impressive aspects of the Pioneers' game was their rushing attack, which totaled 219 yards on the ground.  Junior back Jesse Baldassare led the way with a career-best 153 yards, marking his third 100 yard performance of the year.  Mike Cottle chipped in with 66 yards of his own on the ground, on just eight carries.  The big running game led to the Pioneers' second straight 500 yard performance as a team, while the defense shut the door on the home team, holding the Hawks to just 24 yards rushing and 224 total yards. UC finished with 582 yards of total offense. 

The Pioneers are beginning to finish games strong, outscoring the host Hawks 30-0 in the final 31:26 of play.  It all started with two scores late in the second quarter when UC held a three point advantage.  Senior tight end Matt Dunn and Benkwitt hooked up for a 14 yard score with 1:26 left in the first half of play, pushing the Pioneers to a ten point advantage 17-7. Dunn finished the afternoon with a team-best six catches for 127 yards. On the Hawks ensuing drive sophomore safety James Lenahan came up with his team-best fifth interception of the season, setting up a 22 yard field goal with three ticks left on the first half clock to put UC up by 13 at half time.  Lenahan needs just two more INT's to tie the school-record set by Jon Klosner back in 2002. The field goal marked Woodburn's second of the afternoon and he totaled 10 points overall on the day. 

The second half proved to be all UC, as it outscored the home team 23-0, despite scoring just three of those points in the third quarter, once again from the foot of Woodburn - this time from 30 yards out. 

Jeremy Meier, who has caught at least one touchdown in five of the last six games, continued to impress by catching a seven yard TD from Andrew Benkwitt to open the fourth quarter scoring.  Meier had a relatively quiet afternoon, catching three balls for 39 yards, but he did inch one step closer to the school's single season touchdown record of 12.  Meier has 11 this year and he also needs just 152 yards receiving to become the first single season 1,000 yard receiver in school-history.  Benkwitt posted his fifth 300 yard game this season, completing 24-of-32 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns.  His impressive day did not come without his fair share of pressure, as the Hawks tallied four sacks on the afternoon.  Benkwitt has thrown for an incredible 16 touchdowns in the last four games. 

Senior receiver Paul Smith caught his third touchdown of the year in the fourth quarter to help UC seal the victory.  He finished the day with a career-best six catches for 73 yards.  Sean Jones added four catches for 43, including the game's first score. 

The Pioneers, who scored on eight of their first 11 possessions, were determined to break the trend of close games between the two rivals.  Headed into the contest, seven of their last ten meetings were decided by ten points or less, including four which were decided by three points or less.  Tight end Chris Williams closed out the scoring with 2:54 left in the contest, off a 17 yard pass from backup quarterback Connor Butkiewicz.  Butkiewicz was seeing late game action for the second consecutive week, and he has not disappointed, completing 9-of-14 attempts for 91 yards and a TD. Ten different Pioneers caught at least one ball from Benkwitt and Butkiewicz.

The UC defense could not be overlooked, as it recorded seven sacks and two interceptions.  Dana Christofferson led the Pioneers with seven solo tackles and one sack, while Genaro Scampon made five stuffs and added a sack of his own. Michael Herbeger continued his surge towards the top of the Pioneers' all-time sack list, tallying his third sack in the last two weeks.  Anthony Cipoletti, Jerrod Clowes and freshman Nick Woodman (first of his career) were all credited with sacks as well.  Xavier Richardson picked off a pass for the Pioneers. 

The Pioneers return home on Saturday when they take on Alfred University at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium at 2 p.m.  A fourth-quarter comeback came up just short as Alfred lost to host Salisbury, 24-21, Saturday afternoon in a battle of nationally-ranked Empire 8 Conference leaders.

                                                                                                                      --- www.ucpioneer.com ---

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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Final - OT
at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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3rd - 5:29
7 Utica
21 Brockport
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4th - 15:00
14 St. John Fisher
14 Hartwick
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3rd - 0:38
6 Carroll
38 UW-La Crosse
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Start of 4th
3 Minnesota-Morris
30 St. Scholastica
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3rd - 10:04
0 UW-Eau Claire
21 George Fox
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start of 3rd Qtr.
16 Salve Regina
10 Western Connecticut
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2nd - 9:11
14 Adrian
21 UW-Stevens Point
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1st - 07:37
7 Tufts
0 Wesleyan
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6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
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6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
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7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
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7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
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7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
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7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
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7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
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8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
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8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
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Arizona Christian at Whittier
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Final
Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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3rd - 5:29
7 Utica
21 Brockport
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7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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