Saints' Upset Bid Falls Short as Hobart Prevails, 16-10
Oct. 4: The St. Lawrence University carried a 7-3 lead into halftime against unbeaten Hobart College at Leckonby Stadium on Saturday. However, the Statesmen would rally with a 13-point third quarter and hold off the Saints' upset bid with a fantastic defensive effort en route to a 16-10 road victory.
The Saints (0-5, 0-2) finished with an edge in first downs, passing yards, possession time and third down conversions. However, Hobart (4-0, 2-0) would intercept St. Lawrence sophomore quarterback J.P. Kearney (left) three times to help avoid the upset.
St. Lawrence's opening drive was arguably their best of the season, as they seemed to handle Hobart's defense with ease. Kearney moved his team from their own 23-yard line down to the Hobart 24 before he was intercepted by Chris Szymanski at the 25-yard line to end their opening scoring bid.
That drive was the best scoring chance for either team in a scoreless first quarter that saw the Saints' defense control the line of scrimmage and put consistent pressure on Hobart quarterback Rich Doyle. The Statesmen only earned one first down in the entire quarter and were out-gained by St. Lawrence, 106-22.
After forcing Hobart to punt for the third straight drive, St. Lawrence used an 11 play, 63-yard drive that covered 4:42 to grab a 7-0 lead. The Saints' offense used a healthy dose of juniors Connor Hackett and Eric Jones out of the backfield to move into Hobart territory on the 7-yard line. On 2nd-and-goal, Hobart was called for pass interference, moving the ball down to the 2-yard marker, and two quarterback sneaks later, Kearney had crossed the goal line to give the Saints their first lead of the 2008 season, 6-0, against the Statesmen. Senior Matt Popov added the extra point.
On the ensuing drive, Hobart appeared to get their offense jolted after a 12-yard gain by Andrew Marlier followed by a 13-yard pass to Tyler Vincent that moved the ball to the St. Lawrence 16-yard line. Facing a 3rd-and-5, the Statesmen again turned to Vincent, but Doyle's pass sailed just high in the corner of the end zone. Conor Callahan would get the visitors on the board with a 28-yard field goal with 5:40 to play in the second quarter, cutting the Saints' lead to 7-3.
That would complete the opening half's scoring, as St. Lawrence's defense suffocated the Liberty League's third ranked offense by keeping Anthony Hobaica in check at the tail back position while junior cornerback Devaun McFarland held Hobart's leading receiver Zach Schulz to two catches for 13 yards.
Hobart would make a stern statement to start the third quarter, though, as they marched down the field in 1:34, covering 66 yards in four plays to take their first lead of the game at 9-7. Two plays after Doyle found Matt Duliba for a 32-yard gain on the first play of the half, Hobaica made his presence felt with a 20-yard touchdown run as he beat sophomore Louis Jenkins to the pile on. However, the lead remained at 9-7 after Callahan's extra point hit the upright and missed.
Following the touchdown, both defenses asserted themselves with clutch second half plays. Senior Andy Welkley would make a big tackle for a 7-yard loss on Hobart's next offensive series while Drake Woodard made his second interception of the afternoon on the following St. Lawrence drive to end a scoring threat.
With the third quarter winding down, the Statesmen came through with a big defensive stand that gave them the ball at the St. Lawrence 48-yard line. After consecutive completions by Doyle to Vincent and Schulz covered 28 yards, Marlier took a hand-off up the middle and ran untouched into the end zone from 20 yards out for a 15-7 lead with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter. Callahan added the extra point to push the lead to 16-7 after three quarters. Hobart out-gained St. Lawrence 162-50 in the frame, with Doyle finishing 9-of-12 passing.
On their first drive of the fourth quarter, St. Lawrence pulled to within a score thanks to a 9 play, 57 yard drive capped off by a 26-yard field goal by Popov. Kearney was impressive on the drive, finishing 3-for-5 including a 27-yard pass play to Hackett that set up the field goal.
Hobart continued to move the chains and milk the clock with an efficient run game that set up a field goal chance for Callahan from 31-yards away that would've all but sealed the victory for the Statesmen. However, junior Gerard Bryant burst through the line and blocked the kick, giving St. Lawrence life with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
The Saints earned a first down after a 10-yard completion to senior Ryan Cooney, who had his second consecutive big game for the offense. However, facing a 3rd-and-11 on their own 45-yard line, Kearney was sacked by Ryan Robinson that forced a punt and gave Hobart good field position.
Needing two first downs for the victory, Hobart seemed to come up six inches short on 3rd-and-3, which would've given the ball back to St. Lawrence. However, a personal foul penalty against the Saints would give the Statesmen the all-important fresh set of downs and allowed them to run the clock out and secure a 16-10 victory.
Kearney finished 18-of-35 passing for 181 yards, but was intercepted three times. Doyle went without an interception, finishing 15-of-26 for 137 yards. Marlier and Hobaica finished with 69 and 48 yards, respectively, while Hackett finished with a game-high 80 yards on the ground. Cooney led all receivers with 66 yards on five catches, while Schulz led Hobart with 38 yards on five receptions.
Defensively, Hobart's Justin Hager led all players with 13 tackles including eight solo stops. Welkley was the leading stopper for St. Lawrence, making eight tackles including 1.0 for a loss. Bryant, who blocked the field goal, chipped in seven tackles including 1.0 for a loss.
The Saints will look to re-group after a tough start to the 2008 season as they have the bye week next weekend. The Scarlet and Brown will return to action on October 18th in Schenectady, NY against Union College. Kick-off is set for 1:00pm.