Record-Setting Pick-Six Lifts Brockport Over Utica, 35-28

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UTICA, N.Y. – Jake O'Connell returned an interception 100-yards midway through the fourth quarter, setting a record for The College at Brockport football team, and helping the Golden Eagles to a 35-28 victory over Utica College Saturday afternoon in an Empire 8 matchup.

The Golden Eagles improve to 3-2 on the season, and 2-1 in the Empire 8 while the Pioneers fall to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

Brockport's defense held Utica to 77-yards rushing while Brockport tabbed 361-yards themselves.  The Golden Eagles narrowly edged Utica in total yardage by a count of 433 to 392.  The Green and Gold led the entire game, except when it was tied once in the first quarter.

The first three drives of the game saw a touchdown, giving Brockport an early 14-7 lead.  Brockport drove down the field, taking just nine plays to score on to a 7-yard run from Dan Andrews.  Andrews tabbed 53-yards rushing on the opening drive of the game.  Brett Renzi's extra point attempt was good to put Brockport ahead 7-0 just 4:14 into the game.

Utica returned the ensuing kickoff 54-yards to break into Golden Eagle territory.  Just over a minute later the Pioneers would knot the game at seven, the only time the game was tied.

On the next drive, Brockport would get to midfield with three straight runs from Brian McKean.  Utica committed a roughing the passer penalty to advance the Golden Eagles into Pioneer territory.  Andrews broke out a 32-yard run to get inside the Utica 10-yard line.  McKean took it from there with a 6-yard run for Brockport's second score of the game.  Renzi converted the extra point to put Brockport ahead 14-7 less than 10 minutes into the game.

The Brockport defense put a stop to the scoring by forcing Utica to punt on their next drive.  Utica earned one first down, but was unable to run a play longer than four yards on the drive.

A touchback on Utica's punt put Brockport at the Pioneer 20-yard line. A two-yard reception from Nick Prince and a 25-yard run from Andrews advanced Brockport to their own 47-yard line.  McKean rushed for 14-yard but an untimely holding penalty on Brockport backed up the Golden Eagles to their own 42-yard line.
McKean connected with Ian Gilhousen on two catches for a combined 10-yards, while Marquez Jackson-Allen tabbed 11-yards off of two carries to break into the Pioneer red zone.  Andrews took it from there with a four-yard run for his second rushing touchdown of the day.  The extra point attempt by Renzi was good, giving Brockport a 14 point lead at the 12:07 mark of the second quarter.

The Pionners would score on their next drive to cut the score to 21-14.  The final four drives of the first half saw no score, giving Brockport a seven point lead at the half.

The two teams traded turnovers in the scoreless third quarter to keep the score at 21-14 in Brockport's favor. 

Utica threatened on their opening drive of the final frame, reaching the Brockport eight-yard line.  Facing second and goal, a bad snap from Utica forced a fumble which was recovered by Austin Dean, giving Brockport the ball back at their own 30-yard line.

The Pioneers drove down the field again on their next possession, reaching the one-yard line but an illegal shift took them back to the Brockport six-yard line.  The defense came up big again, this time thanks to Jake O'Connell.  The sophomore intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned in 100-yards for his first career pick six, and setting a Brockport football record for longest interception returned for a touchdown.  Renzi converted the extra point attempt, increasing Brockport's lead to 28-14 with 6:17 remaining.

Just over four minutes later Utica cut Brockport's lead to seven with a touchdown of their own. 

Leading by seven with 1:46 remaining, the Golden Eagles got the ball back.  Andrews added an insurance touchdown with a season-high 49-yard run, his third score of the game.  The extra point attempt by Renzi was good, putting Brockport ahead 35-21 with 1:15 seconds remaining.

Utica rushed down the field and scored with 17 seconds remaining but it wasn't enough as Brockport held on for the 35-28 win. 

McKean finished seven-for-thirteen passing for 72-yards and one rushing touchdown himself.  Andrews tabbed 31 carries for a season-high 236-yards for three touchdowns.  Ian Gilhousen led Brockport receivers with 40-yards off of three receptions, including a 30-yard catch in the third quarter.

Matt Szymanski led the defense with 14 tackles, seven of which were solo.  James Rupp recorded nine while Ryan Johnson and Kevin Garabitos had eight each.  Sean McKean and Austin Dean contributed seven tackles apiece.  Ed Suriano recorded the lone sack for the Golden Eagles, a loss of 12-yards.  Suriano and Romario Gordon led the way with one tackle for loss each.

The Golden Eagles will return home for their next two games to host Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland.  The Bombers come to town on Oct. 15 with kick off slated for 1 pm.  Homecoming weekend follows on Oct. 22 with kick off against Cortland at 3 pm.

Be sure to stay up to date on all your Golden Eagle scores and awards by following @BportAthletics on Twitter and by liking the "Brockport Golden Eagles" Facebook page.

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