Dutchmen attack under siege in football loss

Hobart blitzed Union College — literally — in Saturday’s battle of Liberty League co-leaders.

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Hobart blitzed Union College — literally — in Saturday’s battle of Liberty League co-leaders.

The Statesmen sacked Dutchmen senior quarterback Drew Connolly eight times, slowing down Union’s prolific passing attack en route to a convincing 41-24 victory on Frank Bailey Field.

Hobart (2-0, 4-0) took over sole possession of first place and is the only remaining unbeaten team in the league. Union dropped to 2-1 and 2-4.

“He [Connolly] was certainly under a lot of pressure out there,” said a dejected Justin Gallo, the nation’s second-leading receiver, in terms of yards per game. “This is a tough loss for us, and I’m not exactly sure what to say.”

Although Gallo caught five passes for 72 yards and a pair of scores, Union’s passing attack was on edge all day because of Hobart’s attacking defense. Gallo was well below his usual average numbers. Connolly completed 16 of 26 passes for 246 yards and three scores, but the eight sacks took a toll.

Union’s rushing game, effective early, was also eventually shut down by the Hobart defense.

“I like the take-aways we had on defense, but I didn’t like the turnovers we made on offense,” said Hobart coach Mike Cragg.

“The first two scores they [the Dutchmen] got was because we didn’t have enough pressure on them. It opened the door for their rushing game for a while, but then we stopped their rushing,” Cragg said.

Devin Worthington, a sophomore outside linebacker, led the Hobart defensive charge with 31⁄2 sacks and 10 total tackles.

“We knew pressure would be the key,” said Worthington. “They’ve got great receivers and a great quarterback. Gallo is one of the best receivers in the country. But it was a total team effort. You can put pressure on somebody, but if you don’t back it up in the secondary, it won’t work.

“We were relentless today. We just kept coming after their quarterback. We didn’t come all the time, but when we did come on the blitz, we usually got there.”

The momentum completely turned around after Union grabbed a 17-14 lead on an Adam Henry 39-yard field goal with 1:58 left in the half.

Hobart stuck immediately on an 83-yard fly pattern from Nick Strang to Junior Woodard.

On the next play, Alexander Macchio fumbled the kickoff return, and freshman free safety James Smith scooped it up and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown that gave the Statesmen a 27-17 lead at halftime.

Union never recovered.

Drake Woodard’s interception led to a 45-yard TD pass from Strang to Troy Robinson to put Hobart on top, 34-17 late in the third quarter.

After Connolly and Justin Gallo connected for a 38-yard TD strike down the far sidelines to cut the Union deficit to 34-24, Hobart closed out the scoring on a five-yard keeper by Strang.

Union’s first two scores were a 10-yard TD pass from Connolly to Justin Gallo and a 61-yard TD pass from Connolly to Connor Gallo.

Darnel Thomas led Union’s rushing attack with 85 yards on 10 carries. Steve Webb had 85 yards and a touchdown, and Bobby Dougherty added 55 yards and a score for the Statesmen. Nearly all of Webb’s yards came on a 70-yard TD run in the opening quarter after he was originally stopped by several Union defenders, but broke away when several defenders thought the play was whistled dead

“They made three or four big plays on us, but almost every score we basically handed to them,” said Union head coach John Audino. “The game was closer than it looked. We had our opportunities, but their pressure defense certainly had a bearing on what we did on offense. Hobart has one of the best pressure defenses I’ve seen.”

Hobart 7 20 7 7 — 41

Union 14  3 0 7 — 24

U — J. Gallo 10 pass from Connolly (Henry kick).

H — Webb 70 run (Guevara kick).

U — C. Gallo 61 pass from Connolly (Henry kick).

H — Dougherty 9 run (Guevara kick).

U — Henry 39 FG.

H — Woodard 83 pass from Strang (Guevara kick).

H — Smith 15 fumble return (kick failed).

H — Robinson 15 pass from Strang (Guevara kick).

U — J. Gallo 38 pass from Connolly (Henry kick).

H — Strang 5 run (Guevara kick).

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STATISTICS

Hobart Union

First downs 16 15

Rushes-yards 37-234 34-82

Passing yards 181 246

Att-Comp-Int 23-10-1 26-16-2

Return yards 50 27

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-1

Punts-avg 5-29.0 5-33.6

Penalties-yards 8-71 8-61

Categories: College Sports

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