SPRINGFIELD, Mass., September 16, 2006 – Andrew Jackson rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead TD with 12 seconds left in the third quarter, to lead the Springfield College football team to a 27-15 non-conference victory over Montclair State University this afternoon at SC’s Benedum Field.
As a result, Springfield raises its record to 2-0, while Montclair State falls to 1-1.
Jackson, a sophomore fullback from Pennsville, N.J., proved to be the workhorse of this contest, carrying the ball 32 times. His longest run was of 21 yards. His TD carries were of three and 14 yards. Also sharing the load was junior QB Chris Sharpe (Derry, N.H.), who carried the ball 19 times for 141 yards and two TDs. His touchdown runs were of 34 and 21 yards, the last of which came on a fourth down and one from the MSU 21 yard-line with just 32 seconds remaining in the contest.
This game was a see-saw affair. Montclair State scored first with 9:44 remaining in the first quarter when junior wide receiver Mitch Britcher collected a 30-yard TD pass from junior QB Michael Jump. The drive went 53 yards on three plays. The extra point attempt was mishandled, thus, the Red Hawks led 6-0.
There were destined to be three more lead changes. With 12:53 left in the second quarter, Jackson capped a six-play, 50-yard drive with his threee-yard romp up the middle. The extra point by freshman Chris Bush (Creek, N.Y.) was good, and SC led 7-6.
With 2:51 left before the half, Sharpe scampered around right end to score from 34 yards out. Another Bush extra point gave SC a 14-6 edge. That drive took nine plays and went 80 yards.
Red Hawk senior kicker Vin Doffont booted home a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left in the quarter, cutting the MSU halftime deficit to 14-9.
The third quarter remained scoreless for a good while, until the Red Hawks put together the longest drive of the day, a 94-yarder on 11 plays. That drive was culminated by a two-yard run from junior RB Ryan McCoach. A pass play for the two-point conversion attempt failed, as MSU led, 15-14.
But the Pride answered on the ensuing drive of 73 yards on six plays. Jackson finished with a 14-yard TD up the middle. A two-point rush play failed, so Springfield led, 20-15.
The score remained that way until very nearly game’s end. Montclair State started what looked like a final make-or-break drive from its own two-yard line with 3:36 left. Three plays later, MSU had a 2nd and 10 from its own 21. But a pass from Jump was intercepted by junior DB Joe Harasymiak (Waldwick, N.J.) at the MSU 43, and returned to the MSU 30. It was Jump’s fourth interception thrown of the day, and Harasymiak’s second pick.
SC took possession with 2:19 left, and MSU had but one timeout remaining. Three SC rushes accumulated nine-plus yards, giving the Pride a 4th and 1 from the 21. On the previous play, it appeared that Sharpe, slashing up the middle and losing his helmet in the process, had picked up a first down, but a controversial “spot” created the fourth and inches. Sharpe kept the ball again, broke a tackle, and suddenly sprinted up the middle for his second TD of the day from 21 yards out with 32 seconds left. A Bush extra point attempt was good, giving SC the 27-15 win.
Springfield produced 381 yards of total offense, all on the ground (Sharpe attempted one pass on the day and it was intercepted by junior DB Derek DePascale). Montclair State, meanwhile, produced 311 yards of total offense, 206 through the air. SC had 19 first downs, to MSU’s 15. SC out-possessed MSU, 33:01 to 26:59.
Jackson rushed for 172 yards and two TDs, Sharpe rushed for 141 yards and two TDs. Junior RB Tim Brouillard (Plymouth, Mass.) also rushed for 56 yards on six carries, a 9.3 yards per carry average.
Also for Springfield, junior Mike Mahoney (Mashpee, Mass.) had a good day punting, averaging 42.3 yards on three attempts.
For Montclair State, McCoach led its rushers with 74 yards and one TD on 20 carries. Junior FB Vin Varcadipane rushed for 45 yards on four carries, an 11.2 average. Jump was 13-of-25 passing for 206 yards with one TD and four interceptions. He was sacked twice. MSU’s leading receiver was sophomore WR A.J. Letizia, who had four catches for 74 yards and a long of 39. Senior WR Fred Carter had three more catches for 57 yards.
On defense for SC, senior captain Andrew Madigan (New Britain, Conn.) led the Pride with 10 tackles (five solo), two tackles-for-loss for six yards, and one sack for five yards. Senior captain Kevin Fessette (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) also had a good day with nine tackles (three solo), plus one pass deflection and one interception (with a 53-yard return). Sophomore linebacker Tom Caporale (Closter, N.Y.) had six tackles, one interception, and two pass deflections.
For Montclair State, sophomore LB Cornell Hunt had a big day with a game-high 17 tackles (seven solo). Right behind him was junior LB Sal Fama with 12 tackles (five solo).
Springfield will attempt to remain perfect on the season when it hosts its third straight home game next Saturday (Sept. 23) versus Alfred at 12:00 p.m. That game will represent its Empire 8 opener.