UC Impressive in Win Over #13 St. John Fisher

More news about: Utica

UTICA, NY -- The Utica College football team knocked off previously undefeated and nationally-ranked No. 13 St. John Fisher College, 23-6, in Empire 8 Conference action Saturday at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.  The win marked the Pioneers third victory over a ranked opponent this season and it was also the first time Utica has defeated St. John Fisher in program-history.  Senior running back Ryan Burnett totaled the fourth-best single game rushing effort in school-history, as he rolled up 204 yards on the ground and added one touchdown for the Pioneers.

Utica snapped a two game slide and improved to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in Empire 8 Conference play.  Fisher's record moved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the E8 this season.  Alfred University defeated Cortland on Saturday and now holds the top spot in the conference with a 6-0 overall mark and a 4-0 ledger in E8 play. 

The Pioneer defense came away with a school-record nine pass breakups to go along with two interceptions.  Utica held Fisher to just 279 yards of total offense and forced four sacks, while controlling the time of possession game (Utica: 41:05, SJFC: 18:55). Juwan Wilson led the Pioneer defense with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception. Wilson is now just the second player in program-history to total over 300 career tackles.

After a scoreless first quarter of play, the Pioneers jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the second quarter behind a 23 yard field goal by freshman kicker Desmond Akpanoko and an 11 yard touchdown run by Burnett (1:50 to go in the first half). 

The Pioneer defense held St. John Fisher scoreless over the course of the first 30 minutes of action and took a 9-0 lead into the locker room at the half. Utica's Anthony Beaubrun picked off a Fisher pass in the end zone in the final moments of the first half to preserve the nine point lead for Utica at the half. He now leads the team with three interceptions this season.

Fisher posted just four first downs and was held to 123 yards of total offense in the entire first half.  The Cardinals were forced to punt four times in the first half and held possession for just 7:32, compared to the Pioneers' 22:28 of first half possession time.

UC extended its lead to 16-0 when freshman Lindell Reed broke loose for a 33 yard score (in a 4th down and one situation) at the 9:14 marker of the third quarter.  Reed finished the day with 62 yards and two scores.  His eight touchdowns this season rank seventh on the College's all-time single season list.

Fisher threatened with a third quarter score, a three yard touchdown run by Tony Fusco, to make it a 16-6 ballgame with 4:23 left on the game clock. 

However, with 29 seconds left in the third, Lindell Reed punched in his second score of the day, and the Pioneers held Fisher scoreless in the final 15 minutes of action to earn the key conference victory. 

Burnett's 204 rushing yards is the first time a Pioneer has broken the 200 yard barrier in a single game since 2005. Utica senior quarterback Teddy VanGalen completed 20 passes for 174 yards. VanGalen has now moved into second on the College's career list with 4513 career passing yards. 

Senior wide receiver Jerred Beniquez caught nine balls for 76 yards, while Imani Vincent made seven grabs for 67 yards. Beniquez's 56 receptions this season ranks fifth on the College's all-time single season list. He is now tied for third on the College's all-time list with 176 career catches.

Utica defensive lineman Nicholas Bruzzesse totaled five tackles on the afternoon and picked up 1.5 sacks. He now leads UC with 3.5 sacks this season.  Bruzzese also moved into sixth on the College's all-time list with 9.5 career sacks.

Fisher quarterback Matt Naton completed 16 passes for 226 yards, while Tony Fusco finished the day with 48 yards rushing on seven carries. Mike Collichio made a team-high six catches for 89 yards.

Utica hits the road Saturday when it travels to Buffalo State for an Empire 8 Conference matchup at 12 p.m. The contest will be televised across New York State on Time Warner Cable Sports.

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