Offense Powers Fisher Past Presidents
Nationally-ranked St. John Fisher College racked up 733 yards and senior quarterback Tyler Fenti set the Fisher single-game passing record throwing for 453 yards, as the No. 19 Cardinals scored the final three touchdowns and doubled up visiting Washington & Jefferson College 42-21 in a non-conference Division III matchup at Fisher's Growney Stadium.
With the win, Fisher, ranked 19th in the d3football.com poll, improves to 2-0, while W&J falls to 1-1.
Fenti, making just his second career start, completed 18-of-26 passes for 453 yards and four touchdowns. Kevin Francis finished with six receptions for 174 yards, while Nathan Nigolian caught four passes for 150 yards and one touchdown.
Senior running back Cody Miller gained 202 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns, as the Cardinals added 280 yards on the ground, posting the second-highest total offense yardage total in school history.
For the Presidents, who finished with 466 yards of offense, quarterback Matt Bliss was 32-for-47 for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Alex Baroffio was his favorite target, snagging 13 passes for 139 yards.
It was a wild one from the get-go. Fisher jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, scoring on its first play from scrimmage. After forcing the Presidents to go three-and-out on the game's first drive, Fenti used a play-action to hit Francis deep down the middle for an 87-yard touchdown strike, less than two minutes into the game.
The Presidents, however, came right back and marched 71 yards on seven plays with running back Dion Wiegand scoring on 14-yard scamper on a pass from Bliss. W&J pushed its lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter, as Bliss pump-faked and found a wide-open Dan Lucas for a 39-yard touchdown.
Fisher scored the next two touchdowns to take a 21-14 lead at the half. Nathan Nigolian scored on a 32-yard pass from Fenti with 9:28 remaining in the second quarter, out-leaping the defender in the end zone.
Late in the first half, after Ryan Seymour blocked a 20-yard field goal, the Cardinals responded with an eight-play 92-yard drive with Ryan Kramer scoring on a 44-yard pass from Fenti.
The Presidents tied the game early in the third quarter with Baaroffio scoring on a two-yard pass from Bliss to make it 21-21 with 11:16 left in the period.
Fisher answered right back on the very next offensive play with Miller rushing up the middle past a blitzing W&J defense for a career-long 77-yard touchdown run.
Both Fisher and W&J had chances to score on their next possessions, but both teams committee turnovers deep in their opponents' territory. Kramer fumbled at the Presidents 6 late in the third quarter with the Cardinals looking to go up two scores. The Presidents looked ready to post a game-tying touchdown, taking the ensuing drive 87 yards, but Bryant Moore forced Baroffio to fumble at the Fisher 7.
Fisher needed just four plays to go 93 yards and score the next touchdown with Francis scoring on a seven-yard pass. Nigolian made the big play on the drive, cutting across the middle and rumbling 80 yards to set up the score.
Fisher closed out the scoring with 6:24 left in the game with Miler scoring on a 30-yard run.
Kramer finished the game with 171 total yards (72 kick returns, 64 receiving and 34 rushing yards).
Defensively, Ryan Ballard and Sean Preish finished with nine tackles and one sack. Seymour tallied eight tackles, one forced fumble, one blocked kick and two pass breakups.
Mike Donitzen added six tackles and intercepted a pass in the endzone and returned it 38 yards.
Fisher is idle next week. The Cardinals will return to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 28th and will host SUNY Cortland as part of Homecoming Weekend activities.