SPRINGFIELD, MA – Behind three 100-yard-plus rushers Andre Clayton, Andrew Jackson, and Chris Sharpe, the Springfield College football team defeated Norwich University, 59-13, this afternoon at Springfield’s Benedum Field.
With the win, Springfield ends its season with a 4-6 overall record, 2-4 in the Empire 8. Norwich ends its season at 3-7 overall, 1-5 in the Empire 8.
Clayton, a senior FB from Manchester, CT, ran for 192 yards and 2 TDs on 35 carries. Jackson, a freshman FB from Pennsville, NJ, ran for 138 yards and 1 TD on 27 carries. Sharpe, a sophomore QB from Derry, NH, and the reigning Empire 8 Co-Offensive Player of the Week, rushed for 134 yards and 4TDs on 14 carries. In terms of yards per carry, Sharpe averaged 9.6, Jackson 8.1, and Clayton 5.5.
The Pride jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play. Following a 26-yard interception and return by SC junior LB Ian Johnson (New Britain, CT), Clayton culminated a 4-play, 39-yard drive with a 20-yard TD run with 6:13 left in the quarter. Senior PK Ryan Boyd (Wappinger Falls, NY) added the first of his eight consecutive extra points to make it 7-0, SC.
Sharpe then scored the first of his 4 rushing TDs with 1:24 left in the quarter by scoring from 29 yards out, following a 75-yard drive on 7 plays.
Norwich came to life early in the second quarter (13:12 left) as junior QB Marcus Adames (Milford, PA) found senior WR Chase Jenne (Springfield, VT) on a 24-yard TD pass. The extra point was wide, making it 14-6, SC.
Jackson then raced 44 yards on a remarkable TD run, bulling over several would-be tacklers along the way, with 8:48 left in the half. Boyd then booted home a 40-yard field goal with 2:49 left, upping the count to 24-6. But there was still plenty of scoring left in the second quarter.
With 1:34 to go in the half, senior WR Andreas Craig (Springfield, MA) caught a tipped pass in the end zone for a 29-yard TD from Adames. The Cadets had marched 65 yards in 6 plays, their most impressive drive of the day. That made it 24-13, SC.
Yet Springfield was not finished. Following an impressive 45-yard kickoff return by freshman RB Nick Ford (Laconia, NH), the Pride ran off seven more plays. That drive culminated with 12 seconds left in the half as junior HB Aland Joseph (Stamford, CT) after taking a pitch from Sharpe, somehow floated a pass into the waiting arms of senior SE Mike Grendal (Foxboro, MA) in the right side of the end zone. Boyd’s extra point made it 31-13, SC, at the intermission.
In the second half, it was all SC. Sharpe scored three straight TDs – from 10 yards out with 5:37 left in the third, from 9 yards out with 0:45 left in the third, and from 26 yards out with 12:23 left in the fourth – to push the margin to 52-13.
After that, it became more of the Andre Clayton show as the senior became the featured back in the late stages of SC’s Senior Day. He finally scored on a 1-yard run with 1:53 left in the game. In that final 17-play, 90-yard drive, Clayton carried the ball 14 times for a total of 76 yards.
Springfield ran 78 plays for 487 yards to Norwich’s 55 plays for 215 yards. Of SC’s 487 yards, 481 were on the ground. The Pride had 29 first downs to the Cadets’ 12. Time of possession was 37:02 to 22:58 in favor of SC.
It was the second straight week that SC had scored 59 points, a season-high. The Pride had scored the same number of points in their 59-35 win at Hartwick last Saturday.
In terms of passing, SC’s Sharpe was 0-for-5. Joseph was 1-for-1 for 6 yards and a TD. For Norwich, Adames was 9-for-17 for 102 yards and 2 TDs with 2 interceptions. Both interceptions came in the first quarter. Adames had only been intercepted 6 times on the season at the start of the game.
Norwich’s leading rusher was freshman RB Kevin Ober (Medway, MA) with 75 yards on 11 carries. He had a long of 23 yards. No one else rushed for more than 9 yards.
For receivers, Norwich’s Craig caught 4 for 58 yards and 1 TD. Jenne caught 2 for 32 yards and 1 TD.
SC sophomore punter Michael Mahoney (Mashpee, MA) had a good day, averaging 43.3 yards on 3 punts.
On defense, senior free safety Evan Thomas (Hampden, ME) closed out a great career with a game-high 16 tackles (8 solos) for Norwich. Junior ILB Greg Abell (Fort Lauderdale, FL) added 12 tackles (6 solos), including one sack of 8 yards. With 9 tackles each for the Cadets were freshman DE Richard Cumby (Fort Walton Beach, FL) and junior ILB Micah Lieberman (Iselin, NJ).
For Springfield, which had 2 interceptions, 4 pass break-ups, and 3 sacks as a team, junior LB Andrew Madigan (New Britain, CT) led with 11 tackles (5 solos). That included 1 sack for 10 yards, 1 pass break-up, and 1 blocked punt. Junior DB Lucas Maciarello (Stillwater, NY) also added 7 tackles (5 solos), with 1 interception and 1 pass break-up.