Rodrick Payne rushed for 177 yards on 20 carries and Sean Richardson threw two touchdown passes to lead the St. Lawrence University football team to a 17-10 Hoffman Cup victory over Norwich University on Saturday afternoon in Northfield, Vermont.
With the win, the Saints improved to 1-1, while Norwich fell to 0-2 on the year.
"Winning isn't easy," said head coach Dan Puckhaber. "The team came out and battled with a tough Norwich squad that is always tough to play. Rod Payne, the defense forcing two turnovers, and Skyler Williamson were the difference today in two evenly matched teams."
Payne, who had eight carries for 103 yards in the second half, was named St. Lawrence's Most Valuable Player in the game, while Connor Bourque was the Cadets' MVP with 134 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.
Bourque got the Cadets on the scoreboard first, scoring on a 48-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. The Saints responded early in the second quarter, with Richardson finding Cameron Edwards on the right and Edwards scampering down the sideline for a 17-yard score to tie the game. The Saints had a short field to start the 24-yard drive, thanks to a fumble recovery by Brendan Donahoe.
Richardson found Marnell for two big passes on a scoring drive late in the first half, converting a third-and-nine with a 20-yard play before capping the drive with a 15-yard scoring connection with 51 seconds remaining in the second quarter to lift St. Lawrence to a 14-7 lead.
Donahoe again came up with a big defensive play as the half expired, intercepting Norwich quarterback Phillippe Bazinet's long pass down the field to preserve the Saints' halftime lead.
Bourque once again broke free for a long on the Cadets' second drive of the third quarter, running 61 yards down the left sideline, but Donahoe made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Saints' 14-yard line. The Saints prevented Norwich from advancing the ball any further, as the Cadets were forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Clyde Tamburro.
The Saints restored the seven-point lead on the last play of the third quarter, as Daly Hebert capped a 13-play drive with a 21-yard field goal.
Norwich had two chances to tie the score in the fourth quarter, but stalled out on the Saints' 34-yard line on their first drive and near midfield on the second. St. Lawrence closed out the game with a 12-play drive that started with 5:32 left on the game clock, finishing the game in the victory formation inside Norwich's 20-yard line. Payne had four carries for 72 yards on the final drive for the Saints.
Richardson was 17-for-31 for 167 yards passing, with Vincenzo Ferraro making eight catches for 56 yards. Marnell had three receptions for 54 yards, while Edwards made three catches for 38 yards.
Donahoe led the Saints defense with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and one tackle for a loss, while Skyler Williamson made 10 stops for the Saints. The Saints defense held Bazinet to 4-for-10 passing for 21 yards. St. Lawrence has allowed just 13 completed passes this season.
The Saints will play their first home game of the season next weekend, hosting Ithaca on Homecoming Weekend on Saturday at 1 p.m.
"It feels great getting that first win of the year, but it is short lived because we have our league opener next week and that is our focus," said Puckhaber.