Springfield, Mass. - October 26, 2013 - The Springfield College football team rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat visiting St. Lawrence, 21-20, to highlight Homecoming on Saturday afternoon on Stagg Field. The win snapped the Pride's three-game skid as it improves to 4-3, 1-3 in Liberty League play.
The loss sets St. Lawrence's record to 5-2, 3-1.
After the Saints starting quarterback Mike Lefflbine (Greenwich, Conn.) was knocked out of the game just seven plays into the first quarter, the visitors turned to quarterback Zane Fish (Evans Mills, N.Y.) and running back Maurice Irby (Freeport, N.Y.) to carry the offensive load. On their second series of the afternoon, Irby carried the ball seven-straight times, with his last going for 12 yards before finding the end zone to put the Saints up 6-0.
On the ensuing extra point, Springfield's Mike Varvara (Hopewell Junction, N.J.) broke through the line to block the extra point, in what would prove to be a critical play.
The Saints added to their lead late in the second quarter, with Irby scampering in from two yards out with just 20 ticks left in the half.
Springfield seized the momentum off the opening kick of the second half, as Joe Festo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) galloped for a 77 touchdown return to make it a 13-7 ball game.
St. Lawrence answered thanks to Max Johnson (Chappaqua, N.Y.) slipping behind the Pride secondary to score a 45 yard touchdown off a terrific throw by Zane. With the score, the Saints owned a 20-7 lead with 7:13 to play in the third.
After the teams traded possessions, Tim O'Brien (E. Bridgewater, Mass.), starting in his first collegiate game, put together a masterful drive. Faced with a 13-point deficit, the sophomore went to the air, completing three passes, including a remarkable 25-yard catch by Christian Rodriguez (Wayne, N.J.) on 3 and 10 from the St. Lawrence 42. Austin Bateman (Gansevoort, N.Y.) got to the edge on the next play to put the Pride inside the five, which O'Brien finished off on a one-yard plunge two plays later.
The Saints controlled the ball for the next 7:41 on a 12-play drive before a punt gave Springfield its first possession of the fourth quarter with 7:41 to play.
O'Brien didn't disappoint, putting together a 13-play drive which would lead to the eventual go-ahead touchdown. The key play on the drive came when the Pride were faced with a 3 and 14, and after Bateman rushed for just six yards, the Saints were flagged for a late-hit out of bounds, giving the Pride 15 yards and keeping the drive alive. Eight plays later, Louis Fenaroli (Newtown, Conn.) barreled his way in from one-yard out to even the game at 20-all. Tyler Rouse (Hagaman, N.Y.) tacked on the extra point to put Springfield ahead for the first time all game with 2:34 to play.
Fish moved the ball in an attempt to bring the Saints back, but his pass on 3 and 1 from the Springfield 45 was picked off by Umberto DiMeo (Hamilton, N.J.) as Springfield held on for the win.
O'Brien finished with 65 yards on the ground to go along with a score, while throwing for 82 yards on 4-of-7 passing. James Poggio (E. Granby, Conn.) caught two balls for 46 yards and Sam Weiss (Glasser, N.J.) led the defense with 6.5 tackles.
For St. Lawrence, Obi Nwaigwe (Valley Stream, N.Y.) had three tackles for loss en route to eight tackles for the game. Irby rushed four 97 yards and two scores, and Fish went 13-for-22 for 158 yards.
Football will have the week off until it plays again on November 9th at RPI. Kick off is scheduled for 12:00 pm.