Rochester Rallies Late to Top Saints on “Senior Day”
Nov. 5: The University of Rochester football team scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter on Saturday, propelling the Yellowjackets' comeback in a 16-13 win over St. Lawrence University on "Senior Day" in Canton, NY.
St. Lawrence, which led 13-3 with 13:26 left in regulation but failed to stop Rochester on back-to-back scoring drives, falls to 2-6 (1-4) on the year. Meanwhile, the Yellowjackets improve to 4-4 (3-2) after outgaining the Saints 314-164 offensively.
"This was a disappointing loss because we wanted to let our seniors celebrate their final home game," said St. Lawrence head coach Mark Raymond. "I'm very proud of the way Zach (Migliore) stepped in and played this afternoon. The support we received this weekend from family, friends and alumni on campus has been tremendous and we will look to give a great effort next Saturday against WPI."
Both offenses struggled to get going, but the Saints' defense got them on the scoreboard first up 6-0 at with 5:10 left in first quarter. With the Yellowjackets deep in their own territory, senior co-captain Trevor Saunders jumped a passing route and intercepted Rochester quarterback Dean Kennedy for a "pick six" from 12-yards out. The two point conversion try failed, keeping the visitors down one touchdown.
The Saints had a chance to extend their lead in the second quarter after Obi Nwaigwe forced a fumble on a punt return, giving his team great field possession at the Rochester 23-yard line. However, the team came away empty on a missed 42-yard field goal. Following the defensive stand, the Yellowjackets switched the field on a 62-yard pass completion to Thomas Hayes that got the visitors in the red zone. Rochester would have to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Alex Antonucci, though, pulling them to within three at 6-3 with 7:06 left in the first half.
Neither team threatened to score again in the first half, while the third quarter was a battle for field possession that saw all five drives finish with punts.
St. Lawrence seemingly took control of the game thanks to a 9-play, 80-yard drive that pushed the home team's lead to 13-3 early in the fourth quarter. Migliore, who replaced sophomore quarterback Nik Busharis late in the first half, completed his first collegiate touchdown pass to senior co-captain Ethan Sutton for a 25-yard score. Senior co-captain Doug Geraghty would add the extra point, giving the Saints the 10-point cushion.
Though Saunders would intercept Kennedy on the ensuing drive, the Saints would have to punt and give their opponents the ball back on the Saint 33-yard line. A 27-yard completion from Kennedy to Willie Roberson moved the visitors into the red zone, and on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Chris Bickford pushed the pile into the end zone for the first Rochester touchdown. Antonucci's extra point made it a 13-10 game with 6:20 to play.
Rochester's defense did its job, forcing a three-and-out by the Scarlet and Brown and putting the offense right back on the field. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from his own 18-yard line, Kennedy made the big play, finding Hayes wide open at the 30-yard line and the wide receiver did the rest, rumbling 82 yards for the eventual game-winning score. Junior Oraene Morgan blocked the extra point try, keeping St. Lawrence within three points at 16-13.
Migliore would move the chains for St. Lawrence behind back-to-back rushes that totaled 21 yards that moved the home team to its own 29-yard line. However, Jordan Honjiyo would intercept Migliore on 1st-and-10 at the Saint 40-yard line, ending the threat and giving Rochester the ball back. The Yellowjackets used four consecutive rushes including the clincher from Bickford to earn one first down and seal the come-from-behind win.
Migliore finished with 73 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 7-of-13 passing while Kennedy was 9-of-27 for 218 yards, a score and two interceptions. Hayes closed with 144 yards, while Sutton led St. Lawrence with 67 yards and a score. Senior co-captain Marcus Washington led all rushers with 61 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Tony Ortega from Rochester led all players with 13 total tackles including 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. St. Lawrence was led on the defensive side by Saunders, who had six tackles and two interceptions, and Ramon Mignott who finished with a team-high eight tackles.
St. Lawrence will look to finish the 2011 with a victory next weekend in Worcester, MA when the team squares off with WPI on November 12. Kick-off between the Saints and Engineers is scheduled for 12:00pm.