No. 4 Football Faces No. 24 St. John Fisher In Key E-8 Showdown
No. 4 Springfield College Pride (5-0, 2-0 Empire 8) at
No. 24 St. John Fisher Cardinals (6-1, 2-1 Empire 8)
Game #6: Saturday, Oct. 23, 2004, 1:00 p.m.
Game Day Quick Facts
What’s At Stake:
The fourth-ranked Pride looks to make it 20-straight regular-season wins and improve to 3-0 in the Empire 8 Conference.
This is the first meeting between the teams.
The Last Time Out:
The Pride routed winless Plymouth State, 55-0, last Saturday; St. John Fisher dropped a 39-34 decision at Norwich on a Hail Mary pass with no time remaining.
About Saturday’s Game:
SC begins a brutal stretch where it plays three of its final four games on the road. Following its first meeting ever with the 24th-ranked Cardinals (Oct. 23), the Pride heads to long-time rival Ithaca (Oct. 30). After a home date with Hartwick (Nov. 6), SC ventures to Norwich (Nov. 13) to face a Cadet team that knocked St. John Fisher out of the unbeaten ranks with a 39-34 victory last Saturday. SC is 9-2 in its last 11 road games dating back to the ‘02 season ... in the Empire 8, the Pride sits in first with a 2-0 record. Alfred is second at 3-1, followed by St. John Fisher and Ithaca, both 2-1 ... the Pride stayed at No. 4 in the AFCA poll and moved up a spot to No. 5 in the D3football.com poll. After their loss at Norwich, the Cardinals dropped from 14th to 24th in the D3football.com poll and fell out of the AFCA poll ... Sylvia and senior Tim Lutgens continue to climb SC’s all-time lists. Lutgens is fourth in rushing TDs with 31, and seventh on the rushing list with 2,452. He needs 91 yards to move past Bob Sedlor (6th/2,542) and 97 to break into the top-5, past Mike Lasorsa (5th/2,548). Sylvia’s career numbers are listed on page 2 ... another Sylvia-Lutgens note: Sylvia enters Saturday’s game with 12-career 100-yard rushing efforts, while Lutgens has 10. Both have gone for 100 yards on the ground twice in ‘04 ... the Pride leads the E-8 in seven offensive statistical categories: scoring (45.2), rushing (412.2), third-down conversions (37-71, 52.1%), fourth-down conversions (7-8, 87.5%), red zone offense (25-28, 89.3%), time of possession (34:24) and sacks allowed (one) ... the Pride has been extraordinarily efficient in the red zone lately, scoring touchdowns on 20 of its last 21 trips inside the 20-yard line.
News & Notes
Ones To Watch:
Saturday’s game features three of the most productive backs in D-III. Cardinals’ sophomore HB Mark Robinson leads D-III in scoring (16.3 ppg) and is second in rushing (178.7 ypg). SC FB Tim Lutgens (13.2 ppg, 96.8 ypg) and QB Ryan Sylvia (10.8 ppg, 110.4 ypg) rank seventh and 20th, respectively, in scoring nationally. Lutgens and Sylvia have combined for 20 rushing TDs and 1,036 rushing yards in ‘04 ... in ‘03, Lutgens (team-high 1,307 yards) and Sylvia (1,122 yards) became the first D-III duo to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in the same season since 1997.
SC registered its second shutout in three weeks against Plymouth State (Oct. 16). The Pride is atop the E-8 in seven defensive categories: scoring defense (12.0, 13th in D-III), total defense (212.2, 8th in D-III), pass defense (137.5 ypg), rush defense (74.0 ypg, 13th in D-III), opponent first downs (50), opponent third-down conversions (16-of-68, 23.5%) and red-zone defense (allowed 7 scores in 11 trips, 63.6%) ... in two E-8 games, SC has allowed only 15 first downs ... preseason All-American senior LB Justin Fletcher (32 tackles, 4.0 tfl, 1 int.) and senior DT Brian McLellan (26 tackles, 3.0 tfl, 1 sack) lead the Pride’s defense.
SC has rolled up 400+yards on the ground three times in ‘04, including a season-best 484 yards against Alfred (Sept. 25). Since the ‘02 campaign, the Pride has cracked the 400-yard barrier 12 times in 26 games, and is 12-0 in those games ... SC’s best rushing performance in this stretch was a 586-yard effort against Union (Nov. 16, 2002) ... the Pride has won three of the last four D-III national rushing titles (2000, ‘02 and ‘03). Last season, SC led all D-I, II and III teams at 398.5 ypg.
Time Is On Our Side:
The Pride is executing head coach Mike DeLong’s ball-control offense nearly flawlessly. In its 56-27 win at Western Connecticut (Oct. 9) SC, which leads the E-8 in time of possession (34:24), seemingly kept the Colonials’ defense on the field all day, dominating 41:19 to 18:41. In fact, the Pride has held at least a 7:00 time-of-possession advantage in three of its last four games.
Movin’ On Up:
Senior QB Ryan Sylvia has several school records in his sights. Sylvia set a D-III record for most rushing TDs by a QB with 20 in ‘03. Here’s a look where Sylvia ranks on SC’s all-time list.
1. Kevin Cahill, 44 TDs
2. Ryan Sylvia, 43 TDs
1. Kevin Cahill, 276
t-2. Jay Miller, 258
t-2. Ryan Sylvia, 258
1. Kevin Cahill, 4,842 yards
2. Ryan Sylvia 3,843 yards
1. Kevin Cahill, 3,209 yards
2. Jay Miller 2,804 yards
3. Ryan Sylvia 2,766 yards
Game #5: No. 4 SC 55, Plymouth State 0
Springfield, Mass., Oct. 16, 2004
Senior QB Ryan Sylvia rushed for two touchdowns and threw a 33-yard scoring pass as the fourth-ranked Pride cruised past Plymouth State, 55-0, in a non-conference game before a Homecoming crowd at Benedum Field.
Sylvia moved into second place at SC with 43 career-rushing scores. The Pride, which extended its school-record regular-season game-winning streak to 19, rushed for 435 yards and had 500 yards of total offense. SC allowed the Panthers (0-5) just 87 yards.
Junior FB Andre Clayton led SC with 89 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and senior halfback Will Davis added 74 yards on just seven carries.
For the SC defense, senior LB Curtis Schmidt recorded five tackles, including three tackles-for-loss (13 yards) and a sack (eight yards). Junior linebacker R.J. Perkins also had five stops and a tackle-for-loss.
The Pride scored on its first three drives to take a 21-0 lead with 4:30 left in the first quarter. Sylvia hit junior SE Matt Norris with a 33-yard score 3:12 into the game. It was Norris' first career TD. After a Panther fumble, senior FB Tim Lutgens rumbled 19 yards just 21 seconds later to make it 14-0. Sylvia capped the first-quarter scoring with a one-yard run with 4:30 left to give SC a 21-point cushion. Sylvia's five-yard scoring run just 1:23 prior to intermission accounted for the only score of the second quarter.
Senior CB Chris Whidden opened the second half by returning an interception 35 yards for a score as the Pride extended its lead to 35-0. Clayton made the score 42-0 with a 16-yard TD at 8:06 of the third quarter. Senior QB Mike Judge capped the scoring with a pair of one-yard TD runs, one with :46 remaining in the third quarter and the other with 1:43 remaining in the game.