Brilliant Defensive Effort Comes Up Just Short on Homecoming
NEWTON, Mass. – Facing a team that was averaging over 35 points a game, Mount Ida held the Gallaudet Bison to just 7 points on Saturday afternoon and also recovered three fumbles and made three fourth down stops.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs could muster just six points and suffered a 7-6 defeat in front of over 1,100 fans, celebrating Homecoming at Alumni Field.
The game was the first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action for either team this season, and saw the visiting Bison improve to 4-0, while Mount Ida slips to 1-3 on the year.
Jovan Wilkins (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) forced all three fumbles for Mount Ida and now has forced four fumbles in four games this season.
Gallaudet amassed 317 yards, all of them on the ground, to outgain the Mustangs, who racked up 286 yards, all but two of them through the air thanks to the arm of Jawad Yatim(Shrewsbury, Mass.), who completed 16-of-25 passes with a touchdown.
That score, which came with just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, came on a 74-yard pass to senior tight end Mike Babich (Franklin Square, N.Y.), who rumbled into the end zone to give Mount Ida the lead, which remained at 6-0 after a missed extra point.
BJ Flores (Raymondville, Texas) ran for 130 yards on 29 carries for the Bison, who used a five-headed attack on the ground. Flores punched the ball in for his second rushing touchdown of the season with 2:10 left to play in the game and Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.) added the extra point that would prove to be the game-winner.
The Mustangs, who were just 3-12 on third down conversions, had a chance to win the game in its final moments after a 1:30 drive that took them from their own five yard-line to the Gallaudet 16. The big play was a 45-yard heave by Yatim on 3rd and 9 that Chandler McCoy(Norcross, Ga.) chased down and hauled in.
Freshman Matt Greenman (Portsmouth, R.I.), who led the Mustangs with five catches for 96 yards, also had an 18-yard catch on that drive to keep the chains moving.
With fifteen seconds left, the Mustangs lined up for an attempt at the game-winning field goal, and Nick Muccia's (Jefferson, N.J.) 33-yard effort was on line but came up just short.
The Mustang defense kept the Mount Ida lead for much of the game with key stops and timely turnovers.
The Bison took the opening kickoff to the Mount Ida 17, with the help of a pass interference penalty, but Wilkins got to Gallaudet quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) for the strip-sack. Chris Toyloy (Yonkers, N.Y.) pounced on the ball, then galloped 50 yards with it to the Bison 15.
Bonheyo was 0-6 on pass attempts for the game, as the Mustang's pass defense, ranked #1 in the nation, did not allow a yard through the air. The sophomore did rush for 39 yards, while Gallaudet got 73 yards on 11 touches from senior fullback Mike Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.).
Though Mount Ida didn't score off of that fumble recovery, they would later force a three and out by the Bison at 5:56 left in the half, and Yatim and Babich connected on the next play from scrimmage for the touchdown, the senior tight end's second of the season and Yatim's fourth through the air.
It looked as though the visitors would take the lead on the next possession, but on third and one from the Mount Ida five yard line, Wilkins put a hit on Bonheyo and forced the ball to pop free, where it landed in the hands of sophomore DeAndre Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.), and the Mustangs were able to go into the locker room with a 6-0 lead.
A similar ending occurred on a Gallaudet drive at the end of the third quarter. Facing a first and goal on the Mount Ida 3, the Mustangs held their ground, with Wilkins making two key tackles, including one for a loss, and also batting down a pass in the end zone on third and goal. On fourth down, Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) got to the goal line and ran into Wilkins, who popped the ball loose with a stand-up hit.
Again it was Lawrence who pounced on it and downed it in the end zone for a touchback and another red zone stop.
Gallaudet fought back by forcing a three and out, and then used strong work from Flores in a drive that they had good field position on, starting from their own 48. Flores rushed for seven of the nine plays on the drive, and capped the effort by barreling his way into the end zone with a 12-yard rush.
Junior Gregg McConville (Frederick, Md.) led the Bison with eight tackles, while Tyler Snider (Thornville, Ohio) was a force at getting after Yatim, collecting three of Gallaudet's five sacks.
Linebacker Kayln Smithson (Vilseck, Germany) had eight tackles for the Mustangs, while D'Andre Smith (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and Wilkins each had 1.5 tackles for loss.
The Bison controlled the clock, with 38:41 of possession and converted on five of their sixteen third downs, for a 31% efficiency.
McCoy finished the game with four catches for 67 yards for Mount Ida, while senior Jordan Hyman (Middletown, Conn.) caught six balls for 47 yards.
Mount Ida hits the road next week for the first time since their home opener on September 6th. The Mustangs will travel to Vermont for another ECFC showdown with Castleton, this one at 1:00 pm.
Gallaudet returns home and welcomes in a team from Vermont, as they will host Norwich at 12:00 pm in Washington, D.C.