NORTHFIELD, Vt.—The Saint Lawrence University football team bested the Cadets of Norwich University at the grand re-opening of Sabine Field on Saturday afternoon in non-conference football action.
With the loss, the Cadets fall to 0-2 on the season, while the win boosts the Saints to 2-0.
The game marked a new era for the Cadets, who now call an artificial-turf surface home after playing over 90 seasons of football on natural grass. The field underwent a 10-month, $6 million renovation to upgrade the facility to include stadium lighting, a new scoreboard, and a renovated grandstand.
Prior to kickoff, Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider gave a short speech from the 50-yard line thanking both the donors and contractors who made the renovation possible.
Saint Lawrence totaled 213 yards of offense en route to the win, while holding Norwich to just 114 yards of total offense.
Saints quarterbacks Mike Lefflbine and Zane Fish each threw for a touchdown in the win. Fish struck first with a 26-yard pass to Colby Johnson with 10:37 to play in the second quarter. Collin Shapiro nailed the point-after attempt to give the Saints the 7-0 lead.
Saint Lawrence used seven plays to travel 62 yards in three minutes to set up the first score. The stretch was highlighted by back-to-back first downs on a six yard run by Maurince Urby and an 11-yard pass from Fish to Mike Tateosian. On second-and-10, Matt Phelan ran for 11 yards to set put the Saints in range for the touchdown pass.
Five drives later, the Cadets wrapped up the second quarter with their lone score of the day, a 35-yard field goal by freshman Wesley Medeiros (Gilford, N.H.).
Deep into the third quarter, Saint Lawrence's Lefflbine completed a 15-yard pass to Tateosian for the Saint's second touchdown of the day. The scoring series encompassed six plays for a total of 38 yards. Lefflbine completed four passes on the series incliding a 16-yard pass to Evan Shifley to start the series. Shapiro's point-after kick was good to set the 7-3 score.
Norwich had a strong opportunity to score early in the fourth quarter when wide receiver senior Mike Cavanaugh (Raymond, N.H.) deked his defender and was wide open 20 yards from the end zone. The pass from junior quarterback Jon Queen (Peterborough, N.H.) was late, and Cavanaugh was unable to make the catch.
With 31 seconds left in the game senior Stephen Gilmore (Norton, Mass.) recorded a fumble on the 10-yard line to set Norwich up for a late scoring opportunity, but Queen's pass to junior Dan Jamieson (Morris Plains, N.J.) was picked for a Saints' touchback.
The Norwich defense saw a team-high seven tackles from Luis Delgado (Accord, N.Y.). The senior captain posted two tackles-for-loss and also netted an interception in the second quarter. Junior Dane Palotto (Westbrook, Conn.) also recorded an interception on a botched field goal attempt by the Saints at the 6:29 mark of the first quarter. Gilmore recorded five solo tackles and three assisted tackles on the afternoon in addition to his fumble recovery, while junior Andy Mangin (Concord, Mass.) had a hand in five tackles on the day including the Cadets' lone sack.
The Saint Lawrence defense was paced by Sean Gretz's seven solo tackels. He recorded one eight-yard sack and totaled two tackles for loss of 20 yards. Obi Nwaigwe led the team in sacks with two for eight yards and recovered one fumble. Alec Deitch aided the defense with six solo tackles and an assisted tackle.
Norwich wraps up non-conference play next weekend when the team travels to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for a 1:00 p.m. contest. Following the Cadets' bye week, the team will open Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action at home on Saturday, Oct. 4 in a 2:00 p.m. matchup with Becker.