Conference schedule gives Union new optimism

A second chance sure sounds good right about now.

A second chance sure sounds good right about now.

After starting the season 0-3 for the first time since 1975, the Union College football team can wipe the slate clean and start all over again when the Dutchmen play their Liberty League opener today at the University of Rochester’s Fauver Stadium. Game time is 12:05 p.m.

Union lost its first two non-conference games on the road, each by a single point. The Dutchmen were crushed, 37-18, by Ithaca in last week’s home opener, when they turned the ball over five times.

But in the overall scheme of things, the Dutchmen still aren’t out of the playoff picture, because it’s what they do in the league season that really counts.

“Absolutely. the league games are the ones that really count,” said Union head coach John Audino, who is in danger of suffering only his second losing season in 20 years with the program. “We still have an opportunity for this program to get into the NCAA playoffs if we can win the league. We are thankful that the league season is starting. It gives us a new lease on life.”

Audino doesn’t believe his Dutchmen have played that poorly, despite their 0-3 start.

“We’re probably eight plays from being 3-0,” he said. “I see a lot of good things from our players in the first four weeks since we broke training camp. Last week, we stopped ourselves with turnovers, and we were just a play away from winning the other two games. Sure, it hurts that we’re 0-3, but it’s not the end to our season. We are not panicking. We are really looking forward to this trip.”

Audino said the Dutchmen are healthy for the most part, although sophomore tailback Dylan Schuck is banged up. “Luckily, we have five tailbacks who can play,” Audino said. “I think [freshman] Darnel Thomas will play this week, but he’s probably about another week away from being 100 percent. We’re definitely a lot healthier than we’ve been, especially on the defensive line.”

Senior quarterback Drew Connolly is the key to the Dutchmen’s offense. He has completed 48 of 84 passes for 673 yards and five scores, but he has also thrown five interceptions. Connolly has 5,424 career passing yards, and is 124 yards from moving into fourth place on the all-time passing yards list.

Justin Gallo, Union’s top receiver with 15 catches for 309 yards and three scores, is now second on the Dutchmen’s career receiving yards list with 2,419.

Schuck tops the Dutchmen in rushing with 192 yards, while Thomas has 167, despite sitting out all of last week’s game with Ithaca and all but five plays in the Utica game two weeks ago because of injury.

Rochester (0-1, 1-1) is paced by tailback Clarence Onyiruka (102 yards, one TD) and quarterback Braezen Subik (26-for-44, 331 yards, one TD).

The Yellowjackets were crushed by St. John Fisher, 52-3, last week, but won their opener, 17-7, at Salisbury.

Danes at Columbia

University at Albany will try for its first win of the season when the Great Danes visit the Columbia Lions at Kraft Field at Wien Stadium in New York City today at 12:30 p.m.

It will be the first-ever meeting between these programs.

The 0-2 Great Danes were hammered by Maine, 31-15, a week ago. Dillon Romain scored on a one-yard TD run, and tailback Andrew Smith, out of the wildcat form­ation, tossed a six-yard TD pass to fullback Justin Peterson for the UAlbany scores.

Columbia (0-1) is in its 121st season of football. Marcorus Garrett ran for 42 yards in a 21-14 loss to Fordham, while quarterback Sean Brackett passed for 239 yards and two scores in that game.

Transit trophey

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute visits Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the annual Transit Trophy game at Alumni Field.

It’s the Liberty League opener for both teams.

Junior quarterback Mike Hermann rushed for 168 yards and a TD, and he also threw for 188 yards and three scores in RPI’s 51-21 victory over Castleton State last week — the first win for new head coach Tim Landis. Senior TJ Strunk added 98 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

WPI (1-2) defeated Becker, 31-3, last week. Quarterback Pat McAuley has completed 27 of 52 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. Ernie Mello (272 yards) paces the ground attack.

Categories: College Sports

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