No. 4 Football Kicks Off 2004 Season Under The Lights Saturday
No. 4 Springfield College Pride (0-0) vs. Union College Dutchmen (0-0)
Game #1: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004, 7 p.m., Benedum Field
What’s At Stake:
The fourth-ranked Pride puts its school-record 14 regular-season game winning streak on the line.
SC owns a 4-3-1 lead in the series which dates back to 1917 ... the Pride has won the last three meetings, including a 55-27 victory on Benedum Field on Nov. 16, 2002.
The Last Meeting:
SC held off a furious Union rally for a 21-18 victory in the regular-season finale for both teams in Schenectady, N.Y., on Nov. 15, 2003. The Dutchemen trailed 21-6 entering the fourth quarter.
The Pride has enjoyed good luck in its season openers, recording an impressive 65-38-7 record. As a Division III program, SC has won seven of nine season openers, including the last two in a row, dating back to the 1995 season.
About Saturday’s Game:
SC, which returns 16 starters from last season’s 10-1 squad, opens its highly anticipated 2004 campaign against long-standing rival Union ... the Pride earned its highest national ranking ever this week when it came in at No. 4 in D3football.com’s poll. SC ranked No. 12 in the final AFCA poll and 13th in D3football.com poll of ‘03 .... from 1998 to ‘03, SC and Union tangled in the final game of the regular season. The teams have never faced off played in a season-opener ... the Dutchmen return 18 starters from last season’s 5-5 club ... Union competes in the revamped and renamed Liberty League. Formerly the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association, the Liberty features former Freedom Football Conference members Coast Guard and WPI.
SC, Ithaca The Favorites:
Ithaca and SC tied for the top spot in the 2004 Empire 8 Football Preseason Coaches Poll announced August 31. Four different teams received first place votes: the Bombers, the Pride, St. John Fisher College and newcomer Norwich. For the first time, the winner of the E-8 will earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament ... the Pride captured five Freedom Football Conference crowns from 1996 to ‘03.
Empire 8 Football PreSeason Coaches Poll
1. Ithaca College (3 first place votes) 43 points
1. Springfield College (2) 43
3. St. John Fisher College (1) 39
4. Norwich University (1) 29
5. Alfred University 20
6. Hartwick College 18
7. Utica College 8
You Da Man!:
For the first time ever, three SC seniors earned preseason All-America recognition, including consensus first-team All-American Brian Dewey.
Brian Dewey (Sr., RT)
D3.Football com (1st team), Street & Smith’s (1st), Lindy’s Annual (1st), Football Gazette (1st)
Tim Lutgens (Sr., FB)
D3Football.com (2nd), Football Gazette (3rd)
Justin Fletcher (Sr., ILB)
Football Gazette (3rd)
The Big Dance:
The Pride is vying for its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1998. SC reached the national tourmament in ‘98, 2000, ‘02 and ‘03 ... in 2000, the Pride became the first New England school to reach the East Regional final, just one game shy of a berth in the national semifinals.
Senior QB Ryan Sylvia and senior FB Tim Lutgens became the first D-III duo to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in the same season since 1997. Lutgens led the Pride with 1,307 yards, teamed with Sylvia, who had 1,122 yards. It marked just the second time in SC history that two SC backs eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the same regular season, and the 12th time in D-III history.
2,000 and counting:
Senior FB Tim Lutgens (1,968 yards) needs 32 yards to break the 2,000-yard career rushing mark, and is 71 yards shy of moving past Mark Doherty (2,138) into 10th-place on SC’s all-time rushing list.
No Place Like Home:
The Pride was dominant at Benedum Field in ‘03, averaging 50.6 ppg and 466.5 yards rushing in five home games in '03 ... SC is 9-1 at home over the last two seasons.
The Last Meeting
No. 6 SC 21, Union 18
Schenectady, N.Y., November 15, 2003
With a historic 10-0 season in the balance, LB Curtis Schmidt forced a fumble deep in SC territory with :30 remaining to preserve the sixth-ranked Pride's 21-18 victory over the Dutchmen at Frank Bailey Field.
QB Ryan Sylvia established a D-III single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with his 19th. FB Tim Lutgens rushed for 139 yards and a TD.
Schmidt led SC's defense. Along with his forced fumble, he returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and had 10 tackles.
The Pride overcame an outstanding performance by Union, which totaled 391 yards of offense and held the ball for 36:18. The Dutchmen opened the game with a 19-play, 68-yard drive that spanned 10:05 and was capped by a 28-yard field goal by place-kicker Cliff Eisenhut. Just eight seconds into the second quarter, Schmidt got the Pride on the board with his 23-yard fumble recovery for a score. Lutgens (27 yards) and Sylvia (5 yards) added touchdowns to put the Pride in front, 21-6. On Union's final possession of the half, DT Brian McLellan blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt with :06 left.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Dutchmen closed the gap to 21-12 when Tom Arcidiacono scored on a two-yard rush, but the two-point conversion failed. With 2:06 left, Sean Washington scored from one-yard out but Eisenhut missed the extra point. Union attempted an on-side kick but SC recovered at the Union 44. On second-and-9, SC fumbled to give Union the ball on its own 38-yard line. The Dutchmen marched 45 yards to the SC 17. On third-and-2 with :30 left, Washington headed up the middle but was stripped by Schmidt at the 10, and SS Ryan Santo dove on the ball at the SC 7.