Dutchmen get going, rip Saints

The Union College football team had the ball for less than 24 minutes, but the Dutchmen’s big-play o
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The old saying says that possession is supposed to be nine-tenths of the law. Usually, holding onto the ball for long periods of time is usually a pretty important statistic in football, as well.

But although the Union College football team had the ball for less than 24 minutes, the Dutchmen’s big-play offense helped them score 35 unanswered points en route to a 35-14 homecoming victory over St. Lawrence Saturday before a crowd of 3,215 on Frank Bailey Field.

Sophomore tailback Chris Coney played less than three quarters, yet still scored three touchdowns and ran for 79 yards on 13 carries. Meanwhile, freshman quarterback Andrew Connolly completed nine of 14 passes for 218 yards and two long touchdown passes to help the Dutchmen square their Liberty League record at 2-2 and their overall mark to 3-3. St. Lawrence fell to 0-3 and 0-6.

St. Lawrence stunned the Dutchmen with two first-quarter touchdowns, but the Dutchmen regrouped in the second quarter and then dominated the second half.

“After we scored to make it

14-7, I thought we settled down,” said Union head coach John Audino. “We were too pumped up for the game. But I’m seeing our kids

mature. We made some adjustments in the second half, and we made some big plays.”

“We knew we could beat them deep,” said Connolly, who hooked up with Justin Gallo for a 54-yard bomb in the second quarter and then found Chris Boland for a

71-yard TD strike in the third per­iod. “When you’ve got a back like Chris Coney, wouldn’t you try to stuff the run? That’s why we figured we could beat them with a couple of big pass plays. My blockers did an excellent job, and both Justin and Chris ran great routes. I think we’ve all got more energy and confidence right now.”

Coney, who entered the game as the nation’s eighth-leading rusher at 148.6 yards per game, was held to a little more than half of that average, but he didn’t mind.

“I feel honored that everyone seems to be concentrating on trying to stop me,” said the soft-

spoken speedster. “But it opens up our passing game when they try to stop me. I don’t mind being a decoy, as long as we win.

“I had no clue that I’d be scoring so many touchdowns this year,” added Coney, who now has 12 touchdowns. “But it feels great. Still, the most important thing to me is that we win.”

After a pregame shouting match between the teams at midfield, Union started off slowly. Connolly hit tight end Josh McKelligan with a seven-yard pass on the Dutchmen’s first possession, but McKelligan fumbled, and defensive end Charles Haydock recovered on the 36-yard line. The Saints scored in 10 plays, with Connor Hackett finding the end zone on a three-yard run. Matt Popov added the PAT.

The Saints also scored the next time they touched the ball. They used up 4:33 on the clock and marched 64 yards in nine plays. JP Kearney hit Hackett with an eight-yard swing pass for the score, and Popov added another PAT to give St. Lawrence a 14-0 lead with just 28 seconds left in the first quarter.

But Connolly’s long TD strike to Gallo got the Dutchmen going on the second play of the second period.

The Saints bounced right back and marched down to the Union

14-yard line, but Kevin Rautenstrauch recovered an Eric Jones fumble to end the threat.

Cameron Johnson also came up with a big defensive play for the Dutchmen the next time the Saints touched the ball as he intercepted a pass — the first of two picks in the game — on the SLU 28-yard line. Coney’s five-yard sweep and a Ben Rapple PAT tied the score at 14-14 with 2:51 left in the half.

“After the first quarter, we figured out their offense,” said Johnson. “We made some changes, and we shut down them.”

Union dominated the second half.

Following’s senior defensive lineman’s Dan LoBasso’s fumble recovery on the 49-yard line, Coney scored his second TD of the game on a 13-yard run to help the Dutchmen take a 21-14 lead. The play was set up by a lateral from Connolly to Jared Gourrier, who found Gallo for a 36-yard gain.

Coney’s third TD run of the game with 6:52 left in the third quarter stretched Union’s lead to 28-14.

Connolly’s long bomb down the far sidelines to Boland gave the Dutchmen a commanding 35-14 edge with 4:42 left in the period.

Johnson’s second interception of the game once again slowed down the St. Lawrence attack just before the fourth quarter began.

Union substituted freely throughout the final quarter. The Saints had one last chance to score and reached the Union 21-yard line before Kearney’s fourth-and-six pass fell incomplete.

“I thought Chris Coney ran the ball well once again, but we figured we could rest him with a bye week coming up and the RPI game on the schedule in two weeks,” said Aud­ino. “Now, we’ve got an off week to rest and get ready for RPI.

“I was very happy with the way everyone played today. It was a nice homecoming game.”

St. Lawrence 14  0  0 0 — 14

Union  0 14 21 0 — 35

SL — Hackett 3 run (Popov kick).

SL — Hackett 8 pass from Kearney (Popov kick).

U — Gallo 54 pass from Connolly (Rapple kick).

U — Coney 5 run (Rapple kick).

U — Coney 13 run (Rapple kick).

U — Coney 15 run (Rapple kick).

U — Boland 71 pass from Connolly (Rapple kick).

———

STATISTICS

SLU Union

First downs 21 12

Rushes-yards 39-125 33-139

Passing yards 222 254

Passing 22-41-2 10-16-0

Return yards 10 13

Fumbles lost 2 1

Punts-avg. 4-39.2 5-38.6

Penalties-yards 6-50 8-64

Categories: College Sports

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