THROGGS NECK, N.Y. – The Gallaudet University football team finished their regular season strong with a dominating 21-0 victory over Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) rival SUNY Maritime at Reinhart Field on Saturday before a crowd of 1,000.
By stringing together two crucial wins over the past two weeks, the Bison retain the possibility of competing in an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) bowl on Saturday, Nov. 17. All team selections and match-ups will be posted on www.ecacsports.com by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12. Gallaudet's 29-22 win over Mount Ida improved Saturday after the Mustangs defeated Castleton St., 52-28, to clinch the conference title and a berth into the NCAA tournament.
Gallaudet completed their 2012 season with a 7-3 overall record, a 5-2 record in the conference and a 4-1 record on the road. The seven wins are the most by a Gallaudet team since the program returned to the NCAA Division III ranks in 2007. The Bison outscored their opponents 320-197 over the course of the season, an average of 12.3 points per game. That mark improved in conference play with the Bison outscoring their opponents by an average of 12.9 points each contest, accumulating a total spread of 238-148.
"I am very proud of our players and this team. We have been working at this for the past three years. We knew we were a good football team entering this season," said Gallaudet head coach Chuck Goldstein. "We have done things the right way in three seasons. We haven't cut corners and have been led by this senior class that has shown great leadership. We faced a lot of adversity and had to overcome a lot of injuries this season but we stuck together and found a way to win this year. Hopefully, we have one more game together."
Maritime (3-6, 2-4 ECFC) was held to a season low 144 yards of total offense by a stingy Bison defense – the lowest total offense allowed by GU this season. Junior quarterback Tyler Trodden carried the load for the Privateers on their Senior Day as he rushed 13 times for 25 yards and completed 2-of-6 passes for 31 yards.
Gallaudet ended a two-game losing streak against Maritime. The last Bison win over the Privateers occurred on Nov. 6, 2009, on the road where GU won 16-13. The shutout by Gallaudet is the first since a 35-0 win on Oct. 8, 2011, at home against Husson.
GU commanded the game on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Bison compiled 334 yards of total offense, with 308 of those yards coming on the ground. This prolific rushing attack helped them possess the ball for over 35 minutes and was a result of a total team effort. Freshman running back Braxton Baker (Webb City, Mo.), junior running back Mike Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.), and versatile junior Nick Elstad (Colorado Springs, Colo.) paced the ground game with 89, 86, and 81 yards, respectively.
Despite controlling the game on the ground, Gallaudet cashed in with an efficient aerial attack. Elstad connected on three of his six passes for 26 yards and two touchdowns – all to senior wide receiver Ryne Worsham (Chicago, Ill.).
The Bison's first points came on the first play of the second quarter. Gallaudet began its scoring drive on their own 31-yard line with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter following a 24-yard Maritime punt. Hantge and redshirt junior Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) ran the ball for 13 yards on three carries before Baker busted a 51-yard scamper to the Maritime 5-yard line. A 4-yard rush by Hantge and a Gallaudet false start brought the quarter to a close with the ball on the 6-yard line. Seven seconds into the second quarter Worsham was in the end zone with Elstad's first pass of the game – a 6-yard throw for six points.
The buff and blue scored once more before the half, but this time it was not their offense. After failing to convert a 4th and 21 at its own 20, Gallaudet's defense was able to come up big in the waning minutes of the second quarter. An ineligible downfield receiver negated an 18-yard pass by Maritime, who then faced a formidable 3rd and 14 situation following a 1-yard run and an incomplete pass. The Bison defense then emphatically capped off their red zone defensive stand with an 80-yard pick-six by senior corner back Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.) with 5:23 remaining in the half. GU took the 14-point lead into intermission.
The second half proved to be more of the same as the Privateers only came close to scoring once. Halfway through the third quarter, Trodden completed a 25-yard pass to senior running back Fritz Jean who then fumbled the ball into the arms of the Bison at the Gallaudet 3-yard line. Maritime had five fumbles (three lost) and one interception which helped Gallaudet overcome 98 yards on 11 penalties, two fumbles (one lost) and an interception of their own.
Gallaudet finished off a 10-play, 65-yard drive to start the third quarter that spanned six minutes and 11 seconds. An out-of-bounds kickoff put Gallaudet at its own 35 to begin the second half. Seven rushes by four Bison - including a 24-yard jaunt by Worsham - brought the ball to the Maritime 13. One false start, one incomplete pass and one 3-yard rush later, the Bison found themselves facing a 3rd and 12 which Elstad handily converted into another six points on a long pass to Worsham.
Freshman Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.) converted on all three extra-point attempts after his 31-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright on Gallaudet's first drive of the game.
Senior safety Shelby Bean (Arvada, Colo.) and sophomore corner back Akeem Guidry (Baton Rouge, La.) both had a game-high seven tackles, while Guidry added 1.5 tackles for a loss of two yards and two fumble recoveries. Junior defensive end Adham Talaat (Springfield, Va.) had a busy day as he played both sides of the ball on the offensive and defensive lines. He ended the day with five tackles (three solo), two tackles for a loss of five yards, one forced fumble and one sack to end the game. Senior linebacker Tom Pangia (Hammonton, N.J.) and senior defensive end Jared Pearce (Reno, Nev.) and senior defensive tackle Kevin Allen (Houston, Texas) contributed significantly with four tackles apiece. Pangia also added two tackles for a loss of seven yards, one forced fumble and one pass break-up, while Pearce had 1.5 tackles for a loss of seven yards and one sack.