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Comeback Falls Short as Football Falls To Utica, 16-12

John Schmaltz Box Score

Springfield, Mass. - October 4, 2008 -- Casey McNulty made three field goals in three attempts, including a 25-yard clincher with 3:37 left in the fourth quarter to give his Utica College football team a 16-12 victory over Springfield College this afternoon at Springfield's Amos Alonzo Stagg Field. With the win, the Pioneers are now 1-3 overall, 1-0 in the Empire 8 Conference. Springfield falls to 1-3 overall, 0-2 in league play.

Following an 11-play, 62-yard drive, McNulty, a junior from Red Hook, N.Y., booted home a 26-yard field goal with 8:21 left in the first quarter, giving the Pioneers the initial 3-0 lead.

But Springfield came right back, marching 64 yards in nine plays, to score a touchdown with 4:21 left in the first. Freshman QB Josh Carter (Marlborough, Mass.) plunged over from one yard out, giving the Pride a 6-3 lead. It was to be Springfield's only lead of the day. Kicker Gordie Barr (Carolina, R.I.) missed the extra point for what would be the beginning of a very tough day for the sophomore.

A good 21-yard punt return at the end of the first quarter by junior WR Cody Elliot (Sloan, N.Y.) put Utica in good shape at the SC38. Six plays later, McNulty hit a 30-yard field goal to tie matters at 6-all with 12:26 remaining in the second quarter. Springfield responded with a 17-play, 8-minute, 16-second drive that netted nothing when Barr missed a 37-yard field goal (wide left).

Utica then responded with its best drive of the day, an 11-play, 80-yard march that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Christian Bochicchio (Warsaw, N.Y.) to a leaping senior WR Jim Pincher (Albany, N.Y.) in the back right corner of the end zone. That play came on a third down with 13 seconds left in the half. McNulty's extra point made it 13-6, Utica, at the intermission.

Springfield made an adjustment by starting sophomore QB John Schmaltz (Cromwell, Conn.) at the start of the second half. In the latter stages of the third quarter, junior HB Jared Livingston (Seattle, Wash.) took a pitch on a misdirection play, and scampered 54 yards down the left sideline for the game's most exciting play. Schmaltz led SC down the field on a 99-yard, 7-play drive, following an interception by junior DB Chris Bush (Fly Creek, N.Y.), his second pick of the game. However, Barr's kick on the extra point attempt was blocked by the center of the Utica line in what proved to be the game's most crucial play. That meant the Pioneers were still clinging to a 13-12 lead with 2:33 left in the third.

With 11:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, Utica took over on its own 20. That began a time-consuming 15-play, 72-yard march that ultimately netted the Pioneers three more points on a 25-yard field goal by McNulty with 3:37 left. The drive knocked 7:37 off the clock.

The ensuing 23-yard kickoff return by junior FS Jarred Burrell (Warwick, R.I) gave SC the ball at its own 44. There was 3:32 left on the clock and the Pride had two time-outs remaining. Schmaltz would lead SC down the field, ultimately reaching the Utica 11-yard line with just under one minute to go. Two rushes and a false start penalty put the ball at the Utica 12, setting up a third-and-11 with 42 ticks left. But two incompletions by Schmaltz into the end zone, both intended for senior Jason Hurlock (East Lyme, Conn.) gave the victory to Utica College. Senior DB Lazarus Morgan (Bronx, N.Y.) had a hand in both plays for the Pioneers.

As a team, Springfield finished with 17 first downs to Utica's 16. The Pride outgained the Pioneers, 328 yards to 311. SC rushed for 232 yards to Utica's 186, but the Pioneers outpassed the Pride 125 yards to 96. Neither team lost a fumble. SC had three interceptions to Utica's one.

For Utica, freshman RB Brian Jones (Waterbury, Conn.) rushed for 83 yards on 14 carries. He was followed by freshman RB William Northey (Sherburne, N.Y.) with 46 yards on 10 carries. Bochicchio rushed for 27 yards on four carries. Bochicchio completed 12 passes in 22 attempts, with three interceptions and one TD, for 125 yards. Freshman WR Joshua Mason (Schenectady, N.Y.) caught three passes for 76 yards.

For Springfield, Livingston topped all rushers with 93 yards and one TD on six carries. Junior FB Baldwin Cunningham (Manchester, Conn.) ran for 76 yards on 16 carries. Schmaltz completed four passes in 10 attempts for 57 yards. He was intercepted once. Carter was 4-for-5 for 39 yards. Sophomore WR Tim Brady (Southbury, Conn.) caught four passes for 47 yards, including a crucial fourth-down catch for 17 yards on the game's final drive.

On defense, junior DB Sean Dixon (Sherrill, N.Y.) led Utica with 11 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Junior LB Eric Kahl (Lockwood, N.Y.) and sophomore LB Terrell Cunningham (Rochester, N.Y.) had nine tackles apiece. Junior DB David Hewitt (Bridgeport, Conn.) had Utica's interception. For Springfield, senior LB Tom Caporale (Closter, N.J.) led his squad with 11 tackles. Junior DE Cody Flanigan (Auburn, N.Y.) followed with 10 tackles. Bush had eight tackles and two interceptions. Burrell had the other interception.

Springfield will travel to Bangor, Me. to take on Husson College next Saturday (Oct. 11) at 1 pm.

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