Springfield, Mass. -- November 8, 2008. Quarterback Josh Carter ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Springfield College football team to 45-31 victory over Hartwick College on Senior Day this afternoon at Springfield's rainy Amos Alonzo Stagg Field. The win was Springfield's first in Empire 8 Conference play this season.
In a contest that produced massive numbers, the game wasn't really decided until Hartwick QB Jason Boltus threw two interceptions in the final 2:09. The first of those two interceptions produced a 45-yard touchdown by SC freshman LB Brenden Moore. The second came with 1:53 remaining in the Springfield end zone and more or less sealed Hartwick's fate.
With the win, Springfield ran its record to 3-6 overall, 1-4 in the Empire 8. Hartwick fell to 6-2, and 3-2 in league play.
Carter was one of three Springfield players who rushed for 100 yards or more. In addition, freshman HB Mark Safer ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns, including a 64-yarder for a TD, on just five carries. Junior FB Baldwin Cunningham rushed for 112 yards on 10 carries, including a 78-yarder that set up a field goal.
Overall, Springfield rushed for 524 yards on 66 carries.
Meanwhile, Hartwick was amassing 415 yards through the air, all on the arm of Boltus. The senior QB, who has been receiving much attention from NFL scouts, completed 28 passes in 50 attempts for 415 yards and four TDs. He was intercepted twice. His top receiver, senior Jack Phelan, caught seven passes for 177 yards and two TDs.
Considered the underdog in this game, Springfield led after each juncture, 7-0 at the quarter, 17-10 at the half, and 38-17 at the end of three periods.
Springfield struck first with an 11-play, 45-yard drive with 5:29 left in the first period, as Carter ran it in on a 4th-and-goal from the one yard line. The kick by freshman Giuliano Pizzo made it 7-0, Springfield, after one quarter.
A 31-yard TD pass play from Boltus to Phelan with 12:58 left in the second quarter tied it at 7-all. But the Pride resorted to some trickery later in that quarter. Carter completed a lateral pass to senior WR Jason Hurlock, who then fired a 25-yard TD completion to sophomore WR Tim Brady, giving SC a 14-7 edge. That completed an 11-play, 81-yard drive.
Following Cunningham's 68-yard run later in that quarter, Pizzo booted home a 26-yard field goal to up SC's lead to 17-7 with 1:24 before the half. But Hartwick's senior PK Ryan Boyea kicked a 35-yard field goal on the last play of the half to cut the Hawks' deficit to 17-10 at the intermission.
In the second half, on the second play from scrimmage, Safer ran down the left sideline on a spectacular 64-yard run, weaving his way to the touchdown. That gave the Pride a 24-10 lead with 14:04 left in the third quarter. With 6:52 left, Carter ran it in from nine yards out to give SC a 31-10 margin. That culminated an 8-play, 90-yard march.
Hartwick then came back to drive 76 yards in nine plays. Boltus hit freshman WR Grady Edwards from 1-yard out for the score, making it 31-17, Springfield. Hartwick then tried an onside kick, but freshman DB Matt Ramos fell on it for the Pride, creating a short field. Just three plays later, Safer scored on a 31-yard TD run, making it 38-17.
But Hartwick then struck twice. Sophomore RB Nathan Rockefeller scored on a 6-yard pass from Boltus with 13:49 left in the game, and the Hawks were still in it at 38-24. Then came a key two-play sequence just a few minutes later. Springfield was moving the ball, but Carter threw his only interception of the day. Senior DB Justin Oelgeschlager picked off the errant toss, putting Hartwick in business at the Springfield 35. One play later, with 10:07 left in the game, Boltus connected once again with his favorite target, Phelan, for the 35-yard strike. And now Hartwick's potent offense was within seven points (38-31) with lots of time remaining.
Springfield then took 5:52 off the clock on an 11-play, 48-yard drive. But the drive ended when Pizzo's 32-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright and bounced right. That gave the ball back to Boltus and crew with 4:09 left. Hartwick then ran seven plays, and had a third-and-one at its own 43. But Boltus was rushed on the next play and threw a pick right into the waiting arms of Moore, who made his fourth interception of the year. Moore rumbled into the end zone untouched, closing out the scoring with 2:09 left.
For Springfield, besides the three 100-yard rushers, sophomore FB Justin Fuller also ran for 64 yards. Carter was 2-for-6 in the air for 38 yards and one interception. Brady had two catches for 48 yards and one TD.
For Hartwick, junior RB Tosh DeMulder ran for 43 yards on eight carries. Boltus finished with 14 yards on 10 carries. Rockefeller caught five passes for 58 yards and one TD.
On defense, junior SS Greg Webster led the Pride with 11 tackles, including seven solos. Moore finished with eight tackles (three solos), including one sack for eight yards, and the one clinching interception. Senior captain ILB Tom Caporale ended his final contest on Stagg Field with seven tackles.
For Hartwick, Oelgeschlage led with a game-high 16 tackles (nine solos), plus the interception, one tackle-for-loss, and two pass deflections.