Manchester, N.H. (September 25) -- Led by a single-game school-record 408-yard passing performance by sophomore Michael Pierce (Andover, Mass.), Saint Anselm picked up its first win of the 2010 season with a 45-35 defeat of visiting Pace University on Saturday afternoon at Grappone Stadium. The win gives the Hawks a 7-6 lead in the all-time series over the Setters as the Hawks have now taken three straight from Pace.
After nearly 12 minutes of scoreless play to start the opening quarter, Saint Anselm got on the board first as freshman Keith Charles (Laurel, Md.) rumbled nine yards for his second touchdown in as many games. The play was set up by a then season-long 50-yard completion to senior Marcel Bouie (Stone Mountain, Ga.) that got the Hawks down to the Pace 26-yard line.
Pace answered back immediately on a two-play, 42-yard drive that was capped off by a 23-yard touchdown run up the middle by senior Jason Washington (Bronx, N.Y.). The Setters got into scoring position following a 39-yard kickoff return by Washington. Saint Anselm extended the lead to 14-6 on a six-play, 56-yard drive as junior Marc Wilson (Farmington, Conn.) hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass across the middle. On the ensuing Pace possession, the Hawk defense stepped up with its first points of the season as freshman Alex White (Brockton, Mass.) picked off Pace quarterback Joe Romanick (Slidell, La.) and scooted 48 yards up the near sideline for the 20-6 lead after one quarter.
Saint Anselm pushed the lead up to 26-6 on an 80-yard drive midway thru the second quarter as Wilson pulled down a three-yard touchdown for his second score of the game.
Pace closed out the first-half scoring in the final seconds of the period as Jurrell Hawkins (Binghamton, N.Y.) scored from one yard out on second and goal for a 26-13 halftime margin.
Saint Anselm got the ball to start the second half and marched down the field, capped off by a 16-yard scoring run on a reverse by Bouie as Saint Anselm pushed the lead to 20 points at 33-13 early in the third quarter. Hawkins got the Setters back to within 13 as he dodged a number of Hawk defenders and found the end zone from 34 yards out for his second touchdown of the game.
The Hawks continued to put things together on offense as Pierce rushed for a first down on third and 10 and then finding Bouie for a 56-yard touchdown with 4:40 left in the third quarter. Pierce's pass was nearly tipped away, but Bouie managed to pull it in just inside the 20-yard line and find the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. Pace countered with a big play of its own just moments later as Romanick found a wide-open Eric Ortega (Staten Island, N.Y.) in behind the Hawk defense for a 71-yard touchdown and the 39-27 score.
Saint Anselm closed out its scoring with 4:26 left in the fourth as Pierce found Wilson for his third touchdown of the afternoon on a 35-yard reception that put Pierce over 400 yards for the game, a single-game school record. Washington pulled Pace back to within 45-35 with just under three minutes remaining as he scored from one yard out and Romanick added the two-point conversion for the 10-point final.
Pierce led the Hawk offense with 24-of-37 passing for 408 yards and three touchdowns, along with 42 yards on the ground for a total of 450 yards of total offense. Wilson pulled down 13 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns, while Bouie had five catches for a career-high 149 yards. Freshman Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.) added 90 receiving yards as well. Charles was the top rusher for the Hawks with 83 yards, while Bouie and Wilson finished with 192 and 172 all-purpose yards, respectively. This is Wilson's fourth career 100-yard receiving game and just short of his career high of 163 yards.
Washington was the leading rusher in the game for the Setters with 100 yards and two touchdowns, while Hawkins had 51 yards and a pair of scores. Romanick completed 17-of-26 pass attempts for 274 yards and a touchdown and was sacked twice. Ortega led the Pace receiving corps with a seven-catch, 144-yard afternoon.
Defensively, Saint Anselm was led by sophomore linebacker Shane O'Donnell (Dracut, Mass.) with 10 tackles, including two for a loss, to go along with a forced fumble. Raphael Polanco (Clifton, N.J.) led all tacklers in the game with 11 stops.
With the win, Saint Anselm improves to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in Northeast-10 play, while Pace remains winless at 0-4 overall and 0-2 in league action. Saint Anselm is back in action on Saturday, October 2 as the Hawks travel to Merrimack for a 1 p.m. start at Warrior Field in North Andover.