FROSTBURG, Md. – Frostburg State junior running back Mike Fourth ran for four touchdowns, but it was Utica's Jake Larson that propelled the Pioneers to a 44-27 win over host FSU, Saturday.
Fourth ran for 108 yards and four touchdowns, two in each half, but was outdueled by Larson, who finished with 122 rushing yards and five scores to give UC (3-2, 1-1) the win.
Fourth scored back-to-back touchdowns in the third quarter as FSU (1-4, 0-2) grabbed a 27-25 lead with just 50 seconds left in the quarter.
Utica rebounded with 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for their first Empire 8 win of the season. Larson scored on a pair of short runs and Connor Butkiewicz tossed a 19-yard touchdown to seal the win.
Frostburg entered the contest as the league's top rushing team and finished with 228 yards on 53 attempts. Fourth scored a pair of first-half touchdowns to give FSU a 14-6 lead early in the second quarter.
Larson answered with three-straight touchdowns, leading to a 25-14 Utica advantage with 9:43 showing in the third quarter.
Fourth again scored back-to-back touchdowns to give Frostburg the lead, but Utica proved too strong in the fourth quarter.
Bobcat quarterback Ken Emmons finished with 217 yards in total offense behind 91 on the ground and 126 through the air. Freshman Ryan Simms was Emmons' favorite target, catching four passes for 42 yards.
Despite Larson's day on the ground, Utica's Butkiewicz completed 31-of-36 passes for 431 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Anthony Acevedo on 10 passes for 252 yards and both touchdowns.
Defensively, sophomore Salaman Riddell posted 18 total tackles, including a school record 17 solo stops. He also added a pair of tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Junior Rowan Pinkett added 17 tackles, while junior Keith Smith made 13 stops.
Frostburg State returns to action next Saturday with an Empire 8 road contest at Buffalo State at 1:00 pm.