Saints Unable to Rally, Fall 20-7 to Rochester on “Senior Day”
Nov. 7: The St. Lawrence University football team celebrated "Senior Day" on Saturday afternoon at Leckonby Stadium, as the 30 members of the Class of 2010 played their final home game against the University of Rochester. Though the Yellowjackets jumped out to a 20-0 lead at halftime, the Saints had chances in the second half to crawl back into the game. However, untimely turnovers and penalties would end their comeback chances as Rochester hung on for a 20-7 victory.
The loss moves St. Lawrence to 2-7 (1-5) in 2009, while Rochester improves to 4-5 (4-2). Junior quarterback Michael Baraldi was back under center for the first time since the Norwich game on September 12th, finishing 29-of-49 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown. Rochester's offense primarily came from Clarence Onyiriuka, who carried the ball 34 times for 127 yards and a score.
"They came out of the gate well and built a three-score lead on us going into halftime," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Phelps. "I was proud of the way we continued to battle in the second half and we had some chances in their territory but failed to come away with points. I'm disappointed that we were unable to come away with a win on ‘Senior Day' but know we have another chance to put one in the win column next week at WPI."
Rochester wasted little time in jumping out to a 6-0 lead, as the first offensive play from scrimmage was a 60-yard touchdown pass-and-catch from Braezen Subick to Mike Coolbaugh that came only 19 seconds into the game. Though Zachary White-Stellato's extra point try missed, Rochester had a lead they would not relinquish.
After St. Lawrence failed to pick up a first down on the ensuing drive, Rochester started with great field position at the Saints' 38-yard line after a 42-yard punt return by R.J. Napadano. The Yellowjackets stung the Saints with a 10-play, 38-yard touchdown drive that included two key third down conversions and a fourth down conversion. Subick completed a play-action pass to Corey Brizzee out of the backfield on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line, and Brizzee was able to get to the pile on for the score. White-Stellato's extra point was good this time, as Rochester held a 13-0 advantage only 5:59 into regulation, which also capped the first quarter scoring.
Turnovers plagued St. Lawrence throughout the game as they threatened to get on the scoreboard. Senior co-captain Connor Hackett fumbled at the Rochester 27 to end a scoring threat early in the second quarter. After Subick was forced to leave the game with an injury, the Saints took over at their own 31 following a punt. However, junior tight end Tim Robinson would cough up the ball after a completed pass at his team's 39 to give the Yellowjackets outstanding field position.
Rochester would capitalize on Robinson's fumble, as they went 45 yards on 12 plays in 6:47 to score another touchdown. Punter Kapps Killingstad took over at quarterback with Subick on the sideline and orchestrated the scoring drive including a huge 18-yard completion on a 4th-and-10 try. With the ball marked at the 2-yard line, it was Onyiriuka who leapt over the pile for the touchdown. Stellato-White's extra point was good for a 20-0 halftime lead in favor of the visitors.
Needing to make a stand, St. Lawrence found success through the air on its opening drive of the third quarter. Baraldi went 5-of-8 on a 9-play, 64 yard drive that appeared to stall at the Yellowjackets' 25 yard line with the Saints needing 12 yards for a fresh set of downs. Needing three scores, Coach Phelps opted to keep his offense on the field and his gamble paid off when Baraldi found a wide open Ethan Sutton over the middle for a 25-yard touchdown reception. The score was Sutton's fourth touchdown of the season and came with 11:37 remaining in the third quarter. With first-year kicker Christopher Dris unavailable, sophomore Matthew Dodge handled the extra point and converted his first career try to bring the score to 20-7.
St. Lawrence's defense would make a monster play to keep Rochester from adding to its cushion when sophomore Trevor Saunders intercepted Killingstad at the Saints' 17-yard line to end a scoring threat. However, after the offense moved the ball out to the Rochester 47, Baraldi's QB sneak up the middle on 4th-and-1 came up a few inches short of the first down marker to end the home team's drive.
The Saints defense forced a three-and-out, handing the ball back to the offense, which marched 41 yards on 10 plays to the Rochester 43-yard line. Facing another 4th-and-1, Baraldi mishandled the snap in shotgun formation and was sacked by Rochester's Brendan Pidgeon to again end the scoring threat. After again moving the ball beautifully on its next drive thanks to the emergence of senior Mike Wayne and Robinson, St. Lawrence earned a 1st-and-goal try at the Rochester 4-yard marker after Wayne made a huge 4th-down catch. Hackett appeared to have scored a touchdown on 1st down, but a late holding call pushed the offense back 10 yards. The following play was a dagger for St. Lawrence, as Baraldi was intercepted by Dan Reynolds to again end the threat with only 5:37 left in regulation.
Rochester would run Onyiriuka three times before punting to kill some of the clock, and when Chris Pesota intercepted Baraldi on a 3rd-and-8 try from the Saints' 49-yard line with 2:24 left, Rochester was able to celebrate a 20-7 victory.
Pidgeon was all over the field defensively for Rochester, making a game-high 15 tackles including 11 solo stops. He also added a sack and a forced fumble. Junior Nate Howard led St. Lawrence's defense with 11 tackles, while senior captain Gerard Bryant made nine stops including 1.5 for a loss despite facing multiple double teams. Fellow seniors Tom Lagos (8 tackles) and Mike Battaglia (4 tackles) were also impressive for the Saints.
Killingstad finished 4-of-7 passing for 58 yards, while Coolbaugh's long reception made him the game's leading receiver with 79 yards. Wayne led St. Lawrence with eight catches for 75 yards, followed by Robinson, who went for 62 yards on seven receptions. One of the crucial storylines from the game was Rochester's ability to shut down the Saints' running attack, which went for only 40 yards on 22 carries.
Saturday's game was the final at Leckonby Stadium for the Saints' football Class of 2010, which includes Brett Hart, Luke Lewis, Anthony Patterson, Bryan Ben-Haim, Gerard Bryant, Connor Hackett, McLean Beyor, Mike Battaglia, Justin Wacenske, Chris Wagner, Rick Stepien, Andrew Le, Donavon Edwards, Christian Lopez, Tom Lagos, Mike Thomas, Andrew Williams, Stanley Bigord, Rob Kunces, Jon Thomas, Jim Powers, Steve Degree, Travis Castleman, Mike Wayne, Henry Lieber, Gabe McBride, Dan DePuccio, Matt DePuccio, Eric Jones and Gabe Colas.
The Saints will look to finish the 2009 season on a high note when they travel to Worcester, MA next Saturday, November 14 to face the WPI Engineers at 12:00pm.