Union College defense wins in 30-23 NCAA win over Springfield
SCHENECTADY – The Union College defense knew they were going to take a major test against Springfield College’s three-option offensive attack, and luckily for the Dutch, the “D” got an “A” in several situations. clutch Saturday at Frank Bailey Field.
With star running back Ike Irabor sidelined the entire second half with an undisclosed injury, Union’s powerful offense slowed down a bit from their streak in their opening two games. But the Dutch defense forced five turnovers and stopped Pride twice in a 30-23 victory.
Union (3-0) couldn’t celebrate another win until senior linebacker Collin Lama intercepted Springfield QB’s desperate pass David Wells with less than a minute to go after Pride marched through. ‘at the Dutch 45 yard line. The Dutch defense posted multiple scores for their offense and also reached the end zone when junior linebacker Thomas Cavallo returned a 31-yard interception for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“We knew it would be difficult,” Cavallo said. “Their rear came out and chipped me on that game. I felt him break free, and my gut got me to stay with him. I was lucky that [Jimaar] Edwards put a lot of pressure on his quarterback and the ball came straight to me. We had to learn a whole new defense this week against their triple option. It was very different, but I think we played a good sound. There’s a lot going on with their attack and their formations all look alike. It’s hard to know what’s coming, but the coaches give us work, and we tried to do as much as possible what they told us to do.
Springfield actually edged the Dutch 435-271, thanks to a 290-109 advantage on ground. Irabor ran for 33 yards on 11 carries in the first half before being stopped for the remainder of the game. Sophomore Michael Fiore took over for the Dutch with 110 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
“Ike is a special player, but when guys fall, other guys have to step up,” Fiore said. “It’s a team mentality. I couldn’t have done what I did without my offensive line. We got the win and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. Springfield are a physical team who like to go down and hit hard, but we were ready for them and got the win. “
Union also didn’t return the ball, which turned out to be one of the keys to the game.
“The coach definitely preaches ball safety and no turnovers,” Fiore said. “And our defense played very well. We knew what they were capable of.
Union head coach Jeff Behrman was not surprised that 1-2 Pride gave the Dutch an intense effort until the last minute of the game.
“We didn’t think it would be easy,” Behrman said. “We knew this was going to be a major challenge. Springfield is so well trained and they are doing a wonderful job. They know who they are and they perform at a very high level. I’m proud of our guys. They were persistent and resilient.
Behrman was especially proud of his defense and Fiore’s rush.
“Our defense played a lot,” he said. “We had five turnovers plus a couple of downs. Michael is a relentless runner. He did a great job for us. That’s why we put it in there. We know we’re going to get some positive footage from him. “
Union scored on his first possession, closing a seven-play, 65-yard run with a 24-yard pass from Will Bellamy to Finn Duran.
The Dutch scored three more runs on Andrew Lau’s 27-yard basket after Lama recovered a fumble at the Springfield 25-yard line.
Austin St. Pierre recovered another fumble for the Dutch on Pride’s next possession, but the Dutch failed to capitalize.
Springfield entered the scoreboard with a 2-yard Wells goaltender to top off a 37-yard drive after a short Union punt.
Bellamy extended the Union lead to 16-7 on a one-yard goalie, but the pride edged closer to 16-14 when Wells joined Isaiah Cashwell-Doe on a 74-yard touchdown strike when the half-back beat his defender on a post pattern after the rest of the Union defenders were loaded into the box to stop the run.
Union scored the next two touchdowns to open the second half. Fiore erupted in the middle for a 28-yard rush before Cavallo returned his interception for another score to stretch Union’s advantage to 30-14 with 11:19 remaining in the third quarter.
But even though it looked like the Union was in total control, Springfield’s defense tightened and their rushed game began to kick in.
Wells topped an 81-yard run with a 4-yard goalie to cut the Pride deficit to 30-20 with 9:26 left to play, then Christian Hutra scored a 30-yard field goal to shoot Springfield in a touchdown with 2 : 54 remaining.
Springfield’s onside kick attempt was recovered by Pride, but the recovery was canceled due to an offside penalty. But Springfield stopped the Union defense on just three games and recovered the ball with 1:15 left in regulation.
Springfield scared the Dutch when Wells joined Ian Porter for a 26-yard gain, but Lama’s interception sealed the victory two games later.
“Absolutely, it was a different game than our first two games,” said Bellamy, who was 7 for 17 for 122 yards. “[Springfield] has big tough and tough soccer players on this team. At the start of the week, we thought their security would be in trouble with our attack. We tried to shoot more shots on the outside court, but their safeties didn’t collapse after our playing action. They did a good job.
“Every week we are looking to play the best possible football in all three phases,” Behrman said. “We knew our first two games weren’t that competitive, and it was obvious this game would be a lot more competitive. Our guys did a great job of preparing and practicing. They did the job and came out victorious.
Springfield 0 14 0 9 – 23
Union 10 6 14 0 – 30
U – Bellamy’s Duran 24 pass (Lau kick)
U – Field goal Lau 27
S – Wells 4 run (Hutra kick)
U – Bellamy 1 run (missed kick)
S – Cashwell-Doe 74 pass from Wells (Hutra kick)
U – Fiore 27 run (Lau kick)
U – Cavallo 33 interception return (Lau kick)
S – Wells 4 run
S – Hutra 30 field goal
RPI 24, WPI 10
WORCESTER, Mass .– Quarterback George Marinopolous threw three touchdown passes, and the RPI defense allowed just 162 yards of total offense as the Engineers defeated WPI in the annual Transit Trophy game .
Rensselaer, who now leads the 27-13-1 trophy streak, drops to 3-0 on the season. WPI drops to 1-2.
RPI 14 0 7 3 – 24
WPI 0 7 0 3 – 10
RPI – Marinopoulos Schrader 4 (MacDougall kick)
RPI – Palmer 41 pass from. Marinopoulos (MacDougall kick)
WPI – Farrah 16 pass from Olexa (kick from Wade).
RPI – Walker-Sutton 9 assist from Marinopoulos (MacDougall kick)
WPI – Wade 21 Field Goal
RPI – MacDougall Field Goal 25
Contact Bob Weiner at [email protected]
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Categories: University sports, Sports