Springfield, Mass. - September 27, 2008 - Eric Rockwood's 35-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining proved to be the difference as the Alfred University football team defeated Springfield College, 17-14, this afternoon in the Empire 8 Conference opener for each squad at rainy Amos Alonzo Stagg Field.
With the victory, Alfred raises its record to 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the Empire 8, while the Pride falls to 1-2 overall, 0-1 in league play.
Each team had leads of seven points in this contest, but it was all tied at 14-all headed into the fourth quarter. The Pride seemed to have the upper hand on two occasions early in the fourth quarter. SC had a first and goal from just inside the Saxons' 10-yard line, when a false start penalty cost it five yards. Two short runs and an incomplete pass then forced the Pride into a 29-yard field goal attempt, which missed wide left with 13:29 remaining
Alfred then punted from its own 24 a short time later, but a roughing the kicker penalty against Springfield would ultimately give the momentum right back to the Saxons. Alfred took full advantage by marching all the way down to the SC 17. Rockwood, a freshman from Allegany, N.Y., then kicked a 35-yard field goal, giving Alfred the lead for good with 5:24 left.
Springfield would get the ball back twice, starting a final drive with 3:24 left at its own 18-yard line, but with no time outs remaining. A 25-yard rush by junior halfback Jared Livingston (Seattle, Wash.) would give SC a first down at the 50. Later, a pass completion from freshman QB Josh Carter (Marlborough, Mass.) to sophomore halfback Joe Myhren (New Hampton, N.Y.) put SC in business at the Alfred 22. But two short rushes and a Carter incompletion then put it all on the foot of Pride sophomore kicker Gordie Barr (Carolina, R.I.), who missed a 41-yard field goal (wide left) with 17 seconds remaining.
The game actually began very well for Springfield, which marched the ball 10 plays and 74 yards for a touchdown on its opening drive. Sophomore fullback Justin Fuller (Berkley, Mass.) rushed for 61 yards, including a 1-yard plunge on a fourth down for the opening TD. Barr's extra point made it 7-0.
Springfield had the better of the play until midway through the second quarter when Alfred came to life Taking over at its own 20 with 5:27 left, the Saxons poceeded to drive all 80 yards on 13 plays for the tying touchdown. Junior wide receiver Milton Harding (Binghamton, N.Y.) scored on a four-yard pass play from freshman QB Tom Secky (Bemus Point, N.Y.) with 25 seconds left. Rockwood's extra point tied it, and it was 7-all at the half.
The second half kickoff was returned by Alfred junior wide receiver Jared Manzer (Johnson City, N.Y.) 50 yards to the Springfield 43. Just four plays later, the same combination of Secky to Harding struck again, this time from 29 yards out. Harding would have four catches for 48 yards and two TDs on the day. Alfred now led, 14-7, with 12:56 left in the third quarter.
Alfred then forced a three-and-out, and for the first time all day had seized control of the game. But two plays later, Secky threw an interception to SC junior CB Chris Bush (Fly Creek, N.Y.), and SC took over on its own 42 yard line. A Fuller 25-yard rush, plus a 15-yard face mask penalty, then set up the Pride at the Saxons' 18. On a second and goal from the five, Livingston then ran around left end for the score, tying the game at 14-all with 6:42 left in the third quarter.
That set up the heroics of the fourth quarter.
For Alfred, Secky completed 13 passes in 26 attempts, with 2 interceptions and 2 TDs. Senior tailback Morgan O'Brien (Bradford, Pa.) was the Saxons' workhorse with 106 yards rushing on 22 carries. Manzer caught seven passes for 73 yards. Junior Pete Marley (Warsaw, N.Y.) had a good day punting, averaging 40.8 yards on five boots.
For Springfield, Carter, in this battle of freshman quarterbacks, completed just one pass on 10 tries with one interception. Both Carter and Fuller rushed for 110 yards apiece, Fuller on 17 carries, Carter on 16 carries.
On defense, Alfred was led by senior DT Bob Ritter (Fairport, N.Y.) with 12 tackles, followed by junior LB Marc Mangovski (Kirkville, N.Y.) with 10. Senior CB Ron Smith (Lyons, N.Y.) had the interception.
For Springfield, senior LB Tom Caporale (Closter, N.J.) led his squad with a game-high 13 stops, including 8 solos, plus one pass deflection. Senior LB Todd Pelletier (Deerfield, N.H.) had 10 tackles and two pass deflections. Senior LB Sean Richey (Setauket, N.Y.) had 8 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss for one yard. Senior SS Greg Webster (Melrose, Mass.) had the other interception for the Pride.
Springfield will next play at home on Saturday, October 4 versus Empire 8-foe Utica at 2:00 pm.