Dutchmen Strike Late, Fend Off Saints 10-6
Oct. 15: The St. Lawrence University football team dropped a tough Liberty League contest on Saturday afternoon to Union College by the score of 10-6 at a soggy Leckonby Stadium. The Dutchmen scored the game-winning touchdown with 3:12 left in regulation, and their defense made a stop in the red zone in the final minute to secure the road victory.
The Saints (2-4, 1-2) were led offensively by senior co-captain Marcus Washington, who carried the ball 48 times, only one shy of the University record. The Pahokee, FL native totaled 171 yards on the ground and scored the only Saint touchdown. Defensively, the home team was anchored by senior co-captain Doug Geraghty's team-high 10 tackles including 1.5 sacks.
"It was a true battle in the trenches thanks to the elements," said St. Lawrence head coach Mark Raymond, referring to the pouring rain and gusty winds that continued throughout the game. "At the end of the day, (Union) made the key plays down the stretch and we came up short."
The Dutchmen took a 3-0 lead on a 27-yard field goal 6:27 into the first quarter, as running back Darnel Thomas carried the ball nine times on a drive that went 57 yards in 14 plays.
As both teams struggled to move the chains in the weather, the Saints would come up with a 9-play, 52-yard drive to take the lead before halftime. Washington did the majority of the work, carrying the ball six times before sophomore quarterback Nik Busharis connected with rookie John Wittig for a 24-yard gain down to the Union 3-yard line. Washington did the rest, taking the ball across the goal line on 1st-and-goal for a 6-3 St. Lawrence lead. However, graduate student James Stewart's extra point try hit the left upright and stayed out, keeping that same margin intact heading into intermission.
A scoreless third stanza that featured the St. Lawrence ground game and swarming defense set up a dramatic fourth quarter. Though Union failed the move the ball on their first possession of the final period, the Dutchmen went to work with 6:48 left in regulation and quarterback Drew Connolly delivered his biggest throws of the game. He connected with Chris Paolini for a 30-yard pick-up into St. Lawrence territory, and then followed with a 25-yard pass to Jimmer Bennett into the wind down to the Saint 22-yard line.
Facing a key 4th-and-8 at the St. Lawrence 20, Connolly looked to the right sideline for Bennett but the pass fell incomplete. However, a penalty flag for pass interference kept Union alive and three plays later, the Dutchmen were celebrating a 9-yard touchdown strike from Connolly to Eric Zavadsky and a 9-6 lead. Adam Henry added the extra point, pushing the score to 10-6 in Union's favor.
Needing a touchdown, the Saints went to the air as Busharis found senior co-captain Ethan Sutton for a 43-yard catch that got the home team down to the Union 17-yard line with plenty of time remaining. However, the offense faced a 3rd-and-14 after a false start penalty, but a pass interference call against Union gave St. Lawrence life with a 1st-and-goal at the 6-yard line.
Washington carried the ball on first down, but the Dutchmen defense, led by Jeff DeVico, stuffed him at the line of scrimmage. On 2nd-and-goal, Busharis scrambled to his right and tried to thread a pass in to Sutton at the pile on. Unfortunately for the Saints, Alex Macchio stepped in front of the pass and intercepted the ball at the 2-yard line, ending the threat and allowing Union to run out the clock en route to a 10-6 win.
St. Lawrence closed with the edge in total offense, 283-194, and first downs, 15-11. DeVico led all defensive players with 14 tackles and Sutton led all receivers with 62 yards through the air.
The Saints will look to snap a two-game losing skid next Saturday, October 22, when the team heads to Troy, NY to take on the Rensselaer Engineers at 1:00pm.