Cadets Run Past Saints, 20-7
Sept. 8: The St. Lawrence University football team lost its 2012 home opener on Saturday at Leckonby Stadium, as Norwich University piled up 299 yards rushing en route to a 20-7 victory over the Saints in Canton, NY.
Norwich improved to 2-0 on the young season thanks to their rushing attack and a defense with a "bend but don't break" mentality. The Saints (0-2) had several quality chances to score, but finished only 1-for-4 in red zone opportunities.
"We made crucial mistakes that came back to haunt us throughout the game," said head coach Mark Raymond. "We need to capitalize on our chances and make plays when opportunities come up. Norwich is a good football team that came out of the game ready to play."
Norwich running backs Derrick Pitts and Dan Triplett ran for 117 and 86 yards respectively, while quarterback Kris Sabourin ran for 67 and threw for 30 more. The Saints combined for 76 yards rushing, led by first-year Maurice Irby with 36, while junior quarterback Zane Fish completed 21-of-49 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. Junior Mike Tateosian had a career-high eight receptions for 68 yards and a score.
Senior linebacker Joe Napolitano had a game-high 14 tackles, while fellow seniors Jeremy Ramos (12) and Taylor Zappia (10) also had double-digit tackles. First-year student Leondre Simmon made his first collegiate interception. Norwich's defense was anchored by Matt Simonelli and Dave Pallotto, who had six tackles each.
Norwich took the ball right down the field and scored on the opening possession of the game, as Sabourin led his team on a 14-play, 75 yard drive that finished with a 1-yard score by Triplett. The lead stayed at 6-0 after Zappia blocked the extra point try by Patrick Wilson.
St. Lawrence would answer later in the first quarter to take a 7-6 lead after 15:00 minutes. After converting on a 4th-and-3 at the Norwich 31, the Saints worked the ball down to the 7-yard line. Fish then found Tateosian on an in route for a touchdown pass with :48 seconds left in the opening stanza. Senior Chris Dris added the extra point.
With heavy winds blowing throughout the second quarter, Norwich was able to use its running attack and defense to build the 20-7 lead. A 63-yard rush by Pitts would get the Cadets down the St. Lawrence 5-yard line, and Mike Cavanaugh would punch it in from one yard out to put the visitors back on top with 10:25 left in the half. Norwich would grow the lead to 20-7 in the final minute, as Sabourin connected with Zach Allen for an 11-yard touchdown pass with only :53 seconds left before intermission. Wilson added the extra point following each score.
Much of the second half was dictated by weather and field conditions. Torrential downpours greeted the players to start the third quarter, and though the rain would eventually subside, the Weeks Field was very soft and players struggled to find footing.
St. Lawrence had the ball inside the Norwich 20 midway through the third, but came away empty after two short rushes and a pair of incomplete passes. Needing a score in the fourth, Fish was sacked by Nick Pulaski on 2nd-and-10 at the Norwich 24. The ball came loose, and Norwich settled on the ball as mistakes cost the Saints a chance at their first victory this season.
The Saints hosted a "Tribute to the Troops" on Saturday, which included the 10th Mountain Division band performing the national anthem and a half time show. St. Lawrence wore commemorative camouflage uniforms which were sold throughout the game to raise money for soldiers stationed at Fort Drum who are facing medical hardships. T-shirt sales, a 50/50 raffle, and "Touchdowns for the Troops" were other fundraisers held to support the cause. Sargent Philip Parks and Lieutenant Laura Cook, both stationed at Fort Drum, served as an honorary captains for the game.
"It was a special atmosphere in the stadium this afternoon, and I can't thank everyone enough for the support we've received both from campus but also from Fort Drum," added Coach Raymond. "We're looking forward to continuing to raise money throughout the season, as well as awareness about the struggles our soldiers face while defending our country."
St. Lawrence will return to action next Saturday, September 15, when they host Alfred University at Leckonby Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00pm.