MEADVILLE, Pa. - Kenyon College out-gained the
Gators 439-236, and scored touchdowns on its first three
possessions, to spoil Allegheny's 2013 home opener, 37-7.
Kenyon quarterback Jake Bates went 8-for-10 for 153 yards and a touchdown in the first half, before the Lords put together a dominant ground game, amassing 252 rushing yards, led by Brandon January, who went for 143 yards on 10 carries and teammate Casey Beaudouin, who carried the ball 18 times for 72 yards.
Utilizing a two-quarterback system for the duration of the game, the Gators saw freshman Jon Nigro complete eight passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in his collegiate debut, while teammate Kyle Smith completed a pair of passes for 14 yards, while also gaining 21 yards on the ground. The Gators' Andrew Niklaus made four receptions for a game-high 90 yards and a score, with teammate Lucas Morton leading both sides with five catches, for 77 yards.
Kenyon forced the Gators to punt on the first possession of the game, and promptly set the tone for the game, covering 88 yards in 14 plays, 12 of which were on the ground, to take a 7-0 lead on a two-yard plunge up the middle by Blake Calcei with 6:19 left in the first quarter.
The Lords would force another Allegheny three-and-out, taking over on their own 35-yard line. This time, Kenyon went to the air, as Bates completed four passes for 65 yards, capping off the drive by taking advantage of blown pass coverage on third-and-11 with a 39-yard bomb down the sideline to Brian Hunca to go up 14-0 with just under 30 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Gators took over on their own 30 on the ensuing drive, and began to find success in their running game, as Smith, Anthony Opet, and Nick Deichler combined for 40 yards on eight carries to advance inside the Kenyon 30. However, a holding call would back the Gators up to the 46, and the drive would abruptly end with an Allegheny fumble. On the next play, Bates would complete a 52-yard pass to Jibri McLean, setting up first-and-goal just inside the three. The Gator defense held strong on three run attempts, forcing a fourth-and-goal, but the Lords would keep their offense on the field, and Calcei would take a direct snap up the middle and into the end zone for the Lords' third score of the day. The two-point run attempt was good, putting the Lords in front 22-0 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The teams then traded scoreless possessions, and the Gators took over on their own 38 with just under seven minutes left in the quarter. Smith opened the drive with a 17-yard completion to Niklaus, setting up a first down on the Kenyon 45. Kenyon would then commit costly penalties on subsequent plays, with a pass interference on an incompletion followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Gators first down nine yards from pay dirt. However, Allegheny was unable to take advantage of the Kenyon infractions, as the drive would end with a missed 26-yard field goal.
The Gators forced Kenyon to punt on the final drive of the half, but the Lords went into the intermission with all of the momentum, out-gaining the Gators 245-90, and holding the ball for just under 17 minutes.
Nigro completed three consecutive passes to Morton for 34 yards to begin the third quarter for the Gators, and the hosts would eventually advance the ball inside the Kenyon 20 after four keepers from Smith. Again, Allegheny could not capitalize on the drive, as a jump ball in the end zone was picked off by Kye Duren on third down. On the ensuing play, January appeared to be stopped behind the line of scrimmage by a host of defenders, but emerged from the pile and scampered 80 yards down the far sideline for the touchdown. The Lords again converted on the two-point try, going in front 30-0.
The Gator offense would then use a little bit of luck to post its first score of the new season. With the ball just outside midfield, Nigro rolled to his right on play action, lofting a pass down the near sideline. It was tipped by a Kenyon cornerback, but picked out of the air by Niklaus, who would scamper into the end zone untouched for the 52-yard score.
Kenyon would go back to the ground on its next drive, covering 48 yards on seven plays, before backup quarterback Max Boyd closed out the day's scoring by completing a screen pass out of the backfield to Beaudouin for a 12-yard score with just over a minute left in the third quarter.
Allegheny began the fourth quarter driving, using a 25-yard pass from Nigro to Morton, a five-yard run from Smith, and a nine-yard pass to Niklaus to advance to the Lords' 20 yard line. Nigro then went to the end zone, but another jump ball was picked off to end the scoring threat.
It would be the final scoring chance for either team, as neither squad would muster much offense over the contest's final 10 minutes, sending Kenyon to the opening-day victory.
Despite being outgained by such a wide margin, the Gators ended the game with slight advantages in first downs (17 to 16) and time of possession (30:17 to 29:43). However, the Gators were done in by the two interceptions, and Kenyon was a perfect 3-for-3 in the red zone, compared to an 0-for-3 performance by the Gators.
Defensively, Cody Stolar made six tackles, while also breaking up a pass, to lead the Gators. Sam Flowers, Jake Szozsorek, and Trevor Colvin each made five tackles.. Te Lords were led on the defensive front by Sullivan, who added nine stops, and 3.5 TFL's, to his two-point conversion run.
Allegheny will return to action next week, traveling to Pittsburgh to take on perennial non-conference rival Carnegie Mellon on Saturday, September 14th at 1:00 p.m.