No. 6 Football Goes 10-0 For The First Time Ever
, Nov. 15, 2003 – Springfield College junior linebacker Curtis Schmidt (Whitesboro, N.Y.)
forced a Union fumble deep in SC territory with :30 remaining in the game to preserve the sixth-ranked Pride’s 21-18 victory over the Dutchmen and its undefeated season this afternoon at Frank Bailey Field.
The Pride concludes the regular season with a 10-0 record for the first time in the 111 years of SC football. The win locks up the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and possibly a first-round bye in the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament. The NCAA Division III Football Tournament Selection Show is Sun., November 16, at 1:00 p.m. on ESPNews.
“Traditionally, this is a very difficult game for us,” said SC head coach Mike DeLong. “We knew two things about Union: they would be well-prepared and they are tough. They dominated both lines but we hung in there and made enough plays to win.”
“I don’t know how many people have a chance to experience an undefeated season,” continued Delong, “but it is something that is very special. To be part of this team has been amazing.”
SC junior quarterback Ryan Sylvia (Marion, Mass.)
, who had 60 yards and one score, established an NCAA Division III record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 19. Sylvia, who now has 1,009 yards, joins junior fullback Tim Lutgens (Greenwich, N.Y.)
in the 1,000-yard club. Lutgens rushed for 139 yards and a TD today improving his rushing total to 1,191 yards.
The Pride overcame an outstanding performance by Union (5-5). The Dutchmen totaled 391 yards of offense and held the ball for 36:18. Fullback Tom Arcidiacono had 137 yards on 30 carries and teammate Sean Washington added 113 yards on 24 carries
Schmidt led SC’s defense. Along with his forced fumble, he returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and had 10 tackles. Senior strong safety Ryan Santo (Warwick, R.I.)
had nine tackles, one interception, and recovered the fumble on the SC 7-yard line with :30 left in the game to secure the win. Junior defensive tackle Brian McLellan (Mansfield, Mass.)
, who had four tackles, blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt with :06 left in the first half.
Union opened the game with a 19-play, 68-yard drive that spanned 10:05 and was capped by a 28-yard field goal by place-kicker Cliff Eisenhut. Just eight second into the second quarter, Schmidt got the Pride on the board with his 23-yard fumble recovery for a score. At 11:23, Lutgens raced 27 yards for his 12th touchdown of the season to extend the lead to 14-3. Union’s Eisenhut drilled a 39-yard field goal at 5:1, but Sylvia answered with his record-setting score, a five-yard run to conclude a 13-play, 65-yard drive and put the Pride in front, 21-6.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Dutchmen closed the gap to 21-12 when Arcidiacono scored on a two-yard rush, but the two-point conversion failed. With 2:06 left, Washington scored from one-yard out but Eisenhut missed the extra point. Union attempted an onside kick but SC recovered at the Union 44. On 2nd-and-9, SC fumbled giving Union the ball one its own 38-yard line. Union marched 45 yards to the SC 17. On 3rd-and-2, Washington ran up the middle but was stripped by Schmidt at the 10. Santo dove on the ball at the SC 7 with :30 to play.