Sunday, September 11, 2016

How The Others Guys Fared

All three of Dartmouth's nonconference opponents are now 1-1 after New Hampshire outlasted Holy Cross last night, and Towson fought back to upend St. Francis. A look at last night's results:

New Hampshire 39, Holy Cross 28
Paced by the precision passing of Peter Pujals, the visiting Crusaders jumped out to a 21-6 lead by the early moments of the second half in a bid to spoil the opening of Wildcat Stadium. Pujals, a four-year starter, was 23-for-26 for 215 yards in the first half, with only a 56-yard TD run by New Hampshire's Dalton Crossan allowing the Wildcats to claw back to within 21-13 at the half.

With Pujals cooling down (he would finish 42-for-64 for 427 yards with three TDs and two interceptions) and UNH heating up, the Wildcats carried a 32-28 lead deep into the fourth quarter. A big Holy Cross stop gave the Crusaders the ball at their 21 with 2:25 to play but on third-and-10 All-American Casey DeAndrade picked off Pujals and returned the interception 28 yards to give UNH a much-needed cushion. New Hampshire outscored Holy Cross in the second half, 26-7.

Crossan carried 24 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns for New Hampshire. The Cats got 190 passing yards and 87 more on the ground from quarterback Trevor Knight, who threw for two scores and was picked off twice. UNH ran for 362 yards to 71 yards for Holy Cross. New Hampshire is now 48-6 at home since 2007.

Towson 35, St. Francis 28
Between 1993 and 2014 St. Francis had exactly no winning seasons, five times going winless and on eight other occasions winning just one or two games. But the Red Flash finally got over the .500 mark with a 6-5 record last year, and a week ago carried a lead late into a game at perennial powerhouse Montana before losing, 41-31. All of that is to say it would be a mistake to downgrade Towson for having to dig itself out of a 28-10 hole after losing its starting quarterback to a shoulder injury midway through the first quarter.

A field goal as time expired in the first half and a 75-yard TD drive to open the second (capped by a two-point conversion) pulled the Tigers within a touchdown early in the third. Taking over at their 1 on their very next possession, they got a five-yard run on their first play and then a 94-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 28.

Towson blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and scored the winning points on a 43-yard touchdown pass with 2:21 remaining.

The Tigers finished with 473 yards of total offense to 287 for St. Francis and a 23-17 advantage in first downs over their visitors, who opened the scoring by turning a Towson fumble on the first play of the game into an 89-yard touchdown return.