Newton, Mass. - October 17, 2009 - The Springfield College football team continued to power past its competition as it picked up a 42-15 win on the road at Mount Ida in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon at Mount Ida Athletic Stadium.
With the win, Springfield now owns a 5-1 record and is off to its best start since 2006, when it opened up the season with seven straight wins. The Mustangs fell to 3-4 with the loss.
Springfield committed six turnovers on the day as it was credited with five fumbles and an interception. However, Mount Ida was unable to take advantage of their takeaways due to Springfield's stout defense. Springfield, which led the nation entering the game in rushing yards per game at 384.8, continued its solid ground attack, racking up 395 yards rushing this afternoon
Mustang sophomore running back Johrone Bunch was stalemated by the Pride, which held him under 100 yards rushing for the second time (98) since Mount Ida's season opener against Bridgewater State College (66). It was also only the second time this year that Bunch has been denied a touchdown (Norwich, Springfield). Bunch had been ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division III at 178.2 rushing yards per game entering the day.
Springfield struck first on a four-play, 31-yard drive punching in a one yard touchdown run by senior halfback Baldwin Cunningham with 12:25 showing on the clock in the first quarter. After the successful PAT attempt by Pride place kicker Giuliano Pizzo, the visitors led 7-0.
After a fumble by the Mustangs and a turnover on downs by the Pride, Mount Ida found the end zone on Kyle Watkins's first touchdown of the contest on a nine-play, 71-yard drive. Freshman QB Scott Drosendahl launched a 16-yard touchdown strike to Watkins, his first TD of two during the game. Watkins tip-toed the line and dove into the pilon for six. The Mustangs converted a botched snap two-point conversion attempt that was then rushed in by freshman holder Matt Valentini, making it 8-7 in favor of the hosts with 1:42 to go in the first quarter.
The turning point of the contest offensively came after a stalemated second quarter that saw no points on either side until there were just 10 seconds remaining. Springfield converted a nine-play, 67-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run by freshman halfback Joel Altavesta for the 13-8 lead. Pride sophomore quarterback Josh Carter then scrambled around right end for a diving two point conversion, allowing SC to take a 15-8 advantage into the intermission.
Towards the start of the third quarter, Springfield took advantage of a Mustang punt that went minus-9 yards, and converted a three-play, 23-yard drive on its opening drive of the second half. Carter scampered into the end zone on a 10-yard rush up the middle for the score. It was his first touchdown run of three during the contest. With Pizzo's kick, the Pride led 22-8
Mount Ida answered immediately on the ensuing kick return by Watkins on an 85-yard dash down the left sideline, thus keeping pace with the visitors and pulling within one score. SC now led 22-15 with 12:02 remaining in the third quarter of play.
The Pride went on to score the next 21 points of the contest with no answer from the Mustangs. It started with a two-play, 60-yard drive that was capped by a 47-yard scamper by Springfield quarterback Carter for his second score on the day. The Pride started to pull away after this score, leading 29-15 with 11:36 to go in the third stanza.
The visitors struck again toward the end of the third quarter on another touchdown run by Carter, his third on the day, coming on a five-play, 77-yard drive that was finished off by a Carter one-yard quarterback sneak for six. After the PAT, the Pride commanded a 36-15 lead with 3:02 left in the third.
After an exchange of interceptions, the Mustangs would still not go away, continuing to play hard by recovering two fumbles in the fourth quarter. But SC closed the scoring on a two-yard TD sneak by freshman QB Brian Staub. That culminated a seven-play, 42-yard drive with 2:12 remaining in the game. After the Mustangs blocked the PAT attempt, Springfield eventually rode out the final ticks for the 42-15 victory, their fifth of the season.
Mustang QB Scott Drosendahl finished 11-of-22 for 133 yards passing with one touchdown and one pick. Carter was huge for the Pride down the stretch of the game with three touchdown runs and 181 yards on the ground. In the passing game, Carter went 3-for-8 with 68 yards and an interception.
Two Springfield rushers ran for over 100 yards, including Carter who went for 181 and three TD’s, and Cunningham, who notched 114 yards and one TD.
The Pride had some outstanding individual performances on defense with senior Ken Goodwin totaling 10.5 tackles, a forced fumble, an interception, and four tackles-for-loss for a total of 11 yards. Freshman Matthew Pieterse and senior Cody Flanigan combined for 15 tackles (7.5 each) and added a Flanigan sack for a seven-yard loss.
The Pride returns to Empire 8 action next Saturday when it travels to Oneonta, N.Y. to take on Hartwick at 4 pm.