Brockport edges Saxons, 45-42, in E8 slugfest

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ALFRED, NY – Visiting Brockport outdueled the Alfred University football team, 45-42, in the Saxons' Homecoming game Saturday afternoon at Yunevich Stadium.


AU (3-3, 1-3 Empire 8) nearly rallied from a late 10-point deficit, scoring a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining then recovering the ensuing onside kick. Alfred got the ball to the Brockport 42-yard line with just under a second left, but a potential game-winning Hail Mary pass was intercepted in the endzone as time expired.


The game started well for AU, as the Saxons took the opening kickoff and drove 83 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 21-yard run by sophomore tailback Casey Bright with 9:18 left in the opening frame.


Brockport (4-2, 2-2 Empire 8) responded with two first-quarter touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead after one frame. The first, on Brockport's ensuing possession, took three plays, capped by a 67-yard pass from Chase Venuto to Andrew Mrozek with 8:15 left in the quarter. Brockport got the ball right back on an AU fumble, which Brockport's Jake Brickler returned 25 yards for a TD with 7:16 left.


Two possessions later, Brockport took a 17-7 lead on a 22-yard Tyler Perna field goal 12:24 into the second quarter. AU answered on its next possession, driving 65 yards in 10 plays, with sophomore quarterback Tyler Johnson scampering in from six yards out to draw AU to within three points, at 17-14, with 5:43 left in the half.


Brockport responded on the Eagles' next possession, with Venuto hooking up with Mrozek on a 45-yard TD pass with 2:51 left before intermission. Brockport added to its lead with a touchdown on its opening drove of the second half to go up 31-14. AU scored two unanswered touchdowns in the third. The first, on a 22-yard scoring run by freshman tailback Sammy Davis Jr., came with 9:16 left in the period and capped a five-play, 73-yard drive. Sophomore wide receiver Rodney Etienne scored on a five-yard run off a reverse with 1:06 left in the frame to make it 31-28.


The Eagles pushed their lead back to 10 midway through the fourth on a 17-yard pass from Venuto to tailback Dan Andrews, but Alfred responded on the Saxons' next drive, going 57 yards in five plays, with Bright scoring on a nine-yard run with 6:05 left to make it 38-35. Brockport appeared to have sealed the game on Alfred's next possession, as Derrick Members intercepted Johnson at the AU 33-yard line and ran it in for the touchdown to make it 45-35 with 1:36 remaining. But AU drove 73 yards in five plays on its next possession, with Johnson plowing in from two yards out with 20 seconds left, setting the stage for the frantic final seconds.


The teams combined for 958 yards of offense, with Alfred piling up 552 and Brockport 406. The Saxons were hurt by turnovers, as the Saxons tallied five for the game to just two for Brockport.


Johnson completed 20 of 32 passes for 345 yards. Senior tight end Isiah Young caught seven passes for 137 yards. Senior wideout Bobby Broddus had five catches for 64 yards and Etienne caught four for 46 and Davis a pair fo 60 yards. Davis ran 14 times for 94 yards and Johnson tallied 68 yards on 22 carries.


Venuto was 17 of 23 for 351 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Mrozek finished with six catches for 230 yards and wideout Eric Malave caught six passes for 69 yards. Andrews ran for 62 yards on 24 carries.


Senior linebacker Justin Liberta had seven tackles (one for loss), while junior tackle Zach Brinkley  and junior middle linebacker Corry Wallace  each had six to pace the Saxon defense. Freshman cornerback Jared Watkins had three tackles and an interception and sophomore end Andy Miller  had three tackles, including a sack.


James Rupp had a game-high 11 tackles and recovered a fumble for Brockport. Colby Morabito had seven tackles and two interceptions, and Brickler had five tackles (one sack) and a forced fumble.

AU, which has dropped three straight since opening the season with three victories, will look to get back on the winning track when the Saxons host Frostburg State on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 1 p.m. in Empire 8 Conference action.

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