The St. Lawrence University sophomore quarterback Danny Metzgar made his first collegiate home start on Saturday against Springfield, finishing 26-of-38 passing for 240 yards, two passing touchdowns and another on the ground. However, the Pride used several big plays from scrimmage and blocked punt en route to a 33-20 victory at Leckonby Stadium in the first meeting between the teams since 1946.
St. Lawrence falls to 0-7 after playing Springfield as a Liberty League opponent, while the Pride improves to 5-3 (3-2).
"I'm proud of the way our guys battled this afternoon," said St. Lawrence head coach Mark Raymond. "We gave great effort against a very good football team, but they made the big plays and we came up a little short."
St. Lawrence had the edge in first downs (25-17) and total yards (352-342), as Springfield did not complete a pass in the game. However, the triple option was effective early in scoring plays, and later in the contest in moving the chains. Quarterback Jonathan Marrero led the Pride with 103 yards on 16 carries including two scores, while Mike Davis, Andrew Alty and Keith Rodman each added touchdowns on the ground.
The Saints were led offensively by Mike Tateosian's game-high eight catches for 79 yards, while Brad Parrott and Evan Shifley added touchdown receptions. Defensively, senior Joe Napolitano had a game-high 12 tackles, while Springfield was led by Sam Weiss and Brian Staub with 11 stops each.
St. Lawrence came out clicking on its first drive, which covered 79 yards on 16 plays to build a 7-0 lead. Metzgar led the hurry up offense, converting on four third downs, including a nine-yard touchdown pass to Shifley to put the Scarlet and Brown on top. Chris Dris added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Though Springfield went three-and-out on its first possession, the Pride would score on four consecutive drives to build an impressive lead. Marrero's 63-yard rush helped tie the game, with Ricky Peacock's extra point, while Alty raced in from 67 yards out to give the visitors a 13-7 advantage. Peacock's point after was blocked by senior co-captain Oraene Morgan.
After the Saints' offense went three-and-out, Dris had his punt stuffed inside his own 20-yard line by Mike Dublin, giving the Pride the ball at the Saints 14. Rodman would cap the short five play drive with a two yard score for a 19-7 lead, though the two-point conversion failed.
Springfield would cap the first half scoring with a 74-yard drive, aided by a 24-yard run by Davis and a 15-yard penalty against St. Lawrence. Davis would finish the drive from four yards out, giving Springfield a 25-7 lead with 4:56 remaining in the first half. Peacock's extra point try pushed the lead to 26-7.
St. Lawrence would have a chance at the end of the first half deep in Springfield territory. Though the team found the red zone, they were unable to push the pile on 4th-and-inches, turning the ball over at the Pride 6-yard line to end the first half trailing by three scores.
After the defense forced a punt from Springfield, the St. Lawrence offense would turn in a seven play, 47-yard scoring drive, as Metzgar used the QB sneak to cross the goal line from the 1-yard line. Dris' extra point was good, pulling the Saints within two scores at 26-14 early in the third quarter.
However, a 15-play, 67-yard Springfield drive that took 8:10 would take the momentum away from the home team once again. The critical play on the drive came with Springfield facing a 3rd-and-16 at the Saints 34-yard line, as Marrero's pass was incomplete to Phil Baier, but pass interference was whistled against the home team, giving the Pride a fresh set of downs. Three plays later, Springfield was celebrating a 33-14 lead thanks to an 18-yard score by Marrero followed by Peacock's extra point.
Metzgar continued to shine, leading a 9-play, 73 yard touchdown drive to bring the score to 33-20 with 14:22 left in regulation. He once again converted a pair of long third downs, and eventually found Parrott on a roll out to his right for a 7-yard touchdown score. Dris added the point after.
The Saints' defense would stop Springfield on the ensuing drive, but not before the visitors wiped 8:39 off the game clock, forcing the Scarlet and Brown to attack through the air. Though Metzgar would get his offense to the Springfield 24-yard line, rookie Jake Gnieser was stopped on 4th-and-1, giving possession back to the Pride on downs, who ran out the clock after kneeling on the ball.
St. Lawrence will hit the road next week to Worcester, MA as the Saints take on WPI on Saturday, October 27 at noon.