ALFRED, NY – The Alfred University football team scored touchdowns on seven of its 12 drives and forced four turnovers en route to a 49-28 victory over visiting Hartwick College Saturday afternoon at Yunevich Stadium.
Alfred had 462 yards of offense (179 on the ground) and freshman quarterback Tyler Johnson threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns as the Saxons improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Empire 8 Conference play. With the loss, Hartwick falls to 4-2 (1-2 Empire 8).
AU jumped on Hartwick early, scoring a touchdown three plays after the Hawks fumbled at their own 35-yard line three plays into their opening possession. Senior tailback Austin Dwyer (Hornell, NY/Hornell) did all the work on the drive: after an incomplete pass he ran for 17-yards on second down, then ran the ball in from 18 yards out to give the Saxons the early 7-0 lead just a minute into the contest.
After Hartwick punted on its ensuing possession, AU took a two-touchdown lead, driving 47 yards in four plays, with Dwyer punching the ball in from a yard out with 10:24 left in the opening frame. The score was set up by a 43-yard flea-flicker pass from Johnson to sophomore tight end Isiah Young to the Hartwick 4-yard line.
The teams combined for five touchdowns in seven drives – three by Hartwick – over the remainder of the first half and the Saxons led 28-21 at intermission. After Hartwick scored with 6:16 left in the first to cut its deficit in half, at 14-7, each team turned the ball over: Alfred on downs and the Hawks on an interception by AU sophomore cornerback Calvin Bain near the AU goal line.
After Bain's interception, the Saxons marched 97 yards in 12 plays, with senior fullback Chuck Beckwith scoring on a seven-yard run to cap the six-minute drive and give AU a 21-7 lead. Hartwick scored on its next possession to make it 21-14, but Alfred answered, driving 75 yards in five plays, with Beckwith catching an eight-yard TD pass from Johnson midway through the second.
Hartwick scored with 4:14 left in the second to make it 28-21, but that is as close as the Hawks would make it, as AU outscored the visitors 21-7 after intermission. Johnson's 13-yard run 2:42 into the third put Alfred up 35-21, and Hartwick scored with 4:28 left in the frame to make it 35-28. That's all the Hawks would get, as Alfred tallied two fourth-quarter TDs -- on Johnson passes to senior wide receivers Jonathan Ruffin (21 yards) and Josh Phillips (14 yards) -- to close out the scoring.
Johnson completed 18 of 24 passes and no interceptions, as the Saxons finished with no turnovers. Ruffin caught seven passes for 112 yards; Phillips had three catches for 76-yards; and Young caught three for 60 yards. Dwyer ran 17 times for 85 yards and two TDs and Johnson ran 10 times for 44 yards.
Hartwick's John Garcia threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns but was intercepted once and lost a fumble while being sacked. Wide receiver Tanner Williams had seven catches for 115 yards and a TD and wideout Chris Hoose caught three passes for 119 yards and a pair of scores. AU held Hartwick to just 48 yards on the ground, as running back Kevin Wahl ran 15 times for a team-best 44 yards.
Sophomore middle linebacker Corry Wallace had 10 tackles (two for loss, one-half sack) to lead the Saxon defense. Sophomore strong safety Michael Berardi (Wellsville, NY/Wellsville) had five tackles and a fumble recovery; sophomore linebacker Peter Diak had four tackles (one for loss, one sack) and forced a fumble; senior end Justin Collen had a sack; and senior cornerback Andre McCloud had an interception.
Linebacker Richie DiVirgilio had a game-high 14 tackles (one for loss) and end R.J. Roth had 10 tackles (3 ½ for loss, sack) to lead the Hartwick defense.
Alfred is in action next on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m. at Empire 8 Conference foe Frostburg (MD) State.