Oneonta, N.Y. - October 24, 2009 - After giving up the opening touchdown of the game, the Springfield College football team scored 35 unanswered points en route to a 35-7 win at Hartwick in Empire 8 action on Saturday afternoon. Baldwin Cunningham rushed for 113 yards on just 11 carries to lead the Pride offensively.
Springfield has now upped its record to 6-1 overall, 2-1 in the Empire 8, and has captured four straight. Hartwick, following its 4-0 start, has now lost three in a row, and is 4-3 overall, and 0-3 in league play.
The first score was provided by the Hawks' RB Keith Geraldsen on a 9-yard pass from QB Brian Radley with 4:57 left in the first quarter. The TD culminated a 15-play, 74-yard drive. Heath Dunn booted home the extra point.
SC struck right back. Senior DB Jarred Burrell returned the ensuing kickoff 29 yards. A roughing penalty then added on another 15, and SC was in business at Hartwick's 42. Seven plays later, junior RB Joe Myhren swept around right end for what would be the tying TD. Sophomore PK Giuliano Pizzo added the first of five extra points.
Neither team scored in the second quarter, but there was plenty of excitement that occurred in the final minute of the half. SC sophomore QB Josh Carter had hooked up with junior WR John Schmaltz on a 74-yard bomb down the left sideline. Schmaltz was caught from behind at the Hartwick two with just over 30 seconds left, and with all three timeouts remaining. but the play was called back due to an ineligible receiver downfield. That left it at 7-all at the intermission.
Springfield received the kickoff to start the second half, and made immediate inroads. The first play from scrimmage saw Cunningham break up the middle for 31 yards. On the very next play, freshman RB Mitchell Davis, seeing his most extensive action of the season, ran around left end for 16 more yards. Ultimately, Carter scored from two yards out with 11:51 left in the third period, as he finished an 8-play, 72-yard march, making it 14-7, SC. That put Springfield into the lead for good.
The next drive for Hartwick proved decisive perhaps more from a psychological point of view. Hartwick drove all the way to the SC 2-yard line, setting up a first-and-goal. But three plays later (two stuffs for no gain, and an incomplete pass out of the back of the end zone), the Pride forced a 19-yard field goal attempt from the left hash mark. The boot went wide left, and SC was certainly bouyed by its excellent defensive effort.
Springfield then put together a back-breaking 14-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a Carter three-yard run with 48 seconds left in the third. SC led, 21-7.
The next time SC took over, it marched 64 yards on eight plays. Sophomore FB Alex Mendez scored on a forceful 1-yard run, the first TD of his career. That came with 12:33 remaining in the fourth.
The situation was becoming more desperate for the Hawks. A fourth-down play was thwarted, and Hartwick turned it over on downs at their own 27. Cunningham then scampered around the right side for a 1-play, 27-yard TD with 5:32 left that closed the scoring.
Springfield, ranked #2 nationally in rushing offense, ran for 363 yards, not quite matching its 386-yard per game average entering the contest. Overall, SC finished with 421 yards of total offense, compared to Hartwick's 324. SC finished with 23 first downs to Hartwick's 17. In turnovers, SC lost one fumble, but came away on the plus-side due to two interceptions, both by freshman Niall Murphy.
As mentioned, Cunningham finished with 113 yards rushing and one TD. Carter ran for 75 yards and two TDs. Davis had his best game as a collegian, rushing for 66 yards. He also caught one pass for 28 more yards. Myhren totalled 58 yards rushing, plus one TD. And Mendez finished with 29 more yards on the ground and one TD.
On defense, senior ILB Ken Goodwin had another excellent effort today with nine tackles, including two tackles-for-loss (for 10 yards), and one sack (for seven yards). Freshman ILB Matt Pieterse was right behind with eight tackles, and one pass break-up. Junior CB Tim Schumacher, senior OLB Ryan Gunningsmith, and senior DB Jarred Burrell all had seven tackles. Burrell also had two pass break-ups.
The Pride, having played five of its first seven games on the road, including all three of its Empire 8 contests, will now play its final two games of the season at home, its first coming next Saturday afternoon against Ithaca. Kick off at Stagg Field is slated for 2:00 pm.