SCHENECTADY, NY -- Union College recorded a season high 482 yards in offense in defeating the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 51-7, at Frank Bailey Field Saturday afternoon. A total of 22 seniors were honored by Union prior to the game, and the Dutchmen improved to 5-4 overall and 5-1 in the Liberty League. The Mariners fell to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in league play.
The victory insures Union will post the 31st non-losing season in 32 years. The Union defense held Merchant Marine to 229 total yards, the seventh time in nine games that Union has held an opponent at 300 or less yards.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Eck was 15 for 18 with no interceptions. He tossed for 265 yards and three touchdowns, and scored a TD on the ground with 32 rushing yards as well. Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Reynolds had his first 100 yard receiving game, with 117 yards on five catches and two touchdowns. Junior running back T.J. Franzese had 19 carries for 103 yards, his third 100 yard game of the season and sixth of his career. He also had 35 yards and a touchdown receiving.
Union scored on its first five drives and eight of the 12 drives in the game. It was the first time the Dutchmen scored 50 points since November 15, 2008, when Union won at Susquehanna, 51-45. Senior linebackers Noah Joseph and Jeff DeVico each had 11 tackles in their final home game, and Joseph had two tackles for losses including a sack. Union had 10 tackles for losses that accounted for 32 yards.
Junior running back Mario Colangelo had 16 carries for 78 yard for USMMA, while senior quarterback Alex Coviello had 79 passing yards in his road finale (four for eight win an interception) and rank for 51 yards with a touchdown. Defensively, junior linebacker Michael Biehn led the Mariners with eight tackles.
The Mariners opened the scoring on the first drive of the game. Coviello ran for 34 yards with 11:42 left in the first quarter, capping an eight play, 79 yard drive that consumed 3:24. But on the ensuing drive, Eck found Franzese for a 14 yard touchdown pass to make it 7-7 with 8:54 remaining. It capped a seven play, 70 yard drive in 2:44 and it was 7-7 after the first quarter.
Union exploded for 23 points in the second quarter to open up the contest. In the quarter, Union had 147 yards. A long drive that started with 5:15 left in the first ended in the second quarter, a 14 play, 86 yard scoring drive in 7:17. Eck hit Reynolds for 15 yards wih 13:05 left in the half for a 13-7 lead (the point after failed). Union's Bill Meile recovered a fumble at teh USMMA 11 with 9:19 left, and two plays later, Darnell Thomas rushed in from two yards out for a 20-7 lead. Another Mariner turnover produced more points for the Dutchmen. Senior safety Cam Johnson intercepted a pass at the Union 40, and with 5:35 remaining the Dutchmen started at their own 43. In six plays and 57 yards in 2:30, Union made it 27-7 as Eck fired a 23 yard touchdown strike to Reynolds.
The defense held the Mariners to a stop on fourth down at the USMMA 37 with 1:50 left, and David Pope made his first career field goal, a 19 yarder, as time expired for a 30-7 Union lead at halftime. The scoring drive took six plays and 26 yards.
The only scoring in the third quarter came just 2:34 into the period. Connor Eck rushed in from nine yards out on the first play of the drive that started when Joseph recovered a fumble at the USMMA 9. With 1:19 left, the Dutchmen started a drive at their own 21, and five plays and 79 yards later, senior fullback Tim Hersey rushed in from one yard out just four seconds in the fourth quarter for a 44-7 lead. Union wrapped up the scoring with a seven yard rushing TD from Dylas Schuck with 7:13 left to play, capping a seven play, 73 yard drive in 3:53 that provided the eventual 51-7 final.
Union wraps up the regular season November 10 at RPI at 1 p.m. It's the annual Dutchman Shoes Trophy Game, the 112th meeting in the longest collegiate rivaly in New York State and one of the longest in NCAA Division III. Merchant Marine hosts St. Lawrence on November 10 at 1 p.m.