MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore QB Andrew Murphy (Franklin, Mass.) tossed four touchdown passes, including three to junior WR Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.), but the Saint Anselm College football team was handed a 70-26 defeat by the University of New Haven on Friday night at Grappone Stadium.
The Hawks drop to 0-3 on the season, including 0-2 in Northeast-10 play, while the Chargers – the defending Northeast-10 Champions – improve to 2-1, 2-0 NE-10.
Murphy put together his best game of 2013 as he finished 31-for-42 for 275 yards, four TDs and an interception. That coincided with Bernard's finest performance of the year as he caught 14 passes for 134 yards and three scores, which matched his own school record that he set three times a season ago. Senior RB Keith Charles (Laurel, Md.) went over 200 all-purpose yards again with 12 rushes for 83 yards and four catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, as well as four kick returns for 63 yards. The offense as a whole seemed to take a large step forward in getting back to the high-octane unit they were last season, amassing 385 yards of total offense.
The first quarter nearly went scoreless until New Haven ripped off a four-play, 80-yard drive in 1:12 that was capped by Mike DeCaro's 46-yard TD run. Anthony Greenfield added the extra point and the Chargers led 7-0 with 2:02 on the clock.
The Hawks answered by moving the ball 72 yards in nine plays, with Murphy finding Bernard across the middle for a 27-yard score just 45 seconds into the second quarter that made it 7-6 after the snap on the extra-point was fumbled. Murphy went a perfect 7-for-7 on the drive.
After junior DB Tyrel McDonald (Leominster, Mass.) came up with a huge interception at the New Haven 34-yard line on the ensuing possession, Murphy fumbled the snap on the second play of the following series and New Haven regained control of the ball. Ronnie Nelson connected with Courtney Moshood on a 72-yard strike that set up a two-yard TD toss to Nick Music just two plays later, which pushed the lead to 14-6 with 11:11 remaining in the second stanza after Greenfield's point-after.
Saint Anselm responded just 24 seconds later after freshman WR Ryan Monette (Hampton, N.H.) set the Hawks' up with great field position following an 81-yard kick return that went down to the five-yard line. Murphy found Bernard again for a touchdown on the next play that cut it to 14-13 after the PAT from sophomore K/P Shane Grayson (Ormond Beach, Fla.).
DeCaro helped keep the Chargers in front on the ensuing drive. After a 41-yard kick return, he ate up 32 yards on four rushes during a five-play, 54-yard drive, including his six-yard TD scamper that opened it to 21-13 after the Greenfield kick with 8:43 left before the break.
After the Hawks' ensuing drive of 12 plays and 52 yards stalled out deep in New Haven territory following a questionable spot on fourth-and-three, the Chargers went 74 yards in six plays and found the end zone on Nelson's 25-yard touchdown pass to Michael Flacco with 1:36 left in the opening half. Greenfield tacked on another extra point and New Haven went into the locker room with a 28-13 advantage.
The Chargers took advantage of a short field to open the second half after they recovered Saint Anselm's surprise onside kick attempt at the host's 44-yard line. It took New Haven just three plays to go the distance as Nelson found Music from 34 yards out to make it 35-13 just 38 seconds in after the Greenfield PAT.
The teams would continue to trade scores as Bernard's two-yard touchdown reception at the 11:31 mark and Charles' 30-yard catch-and-run score kept the Hawks within striking distance at 42-26, but DeCaro's 51-yard TD jaunt closed the third-quarter scoring and began a string of four unanswered touchdown runs to close the game.
Junior LB Isaac Jorgensen (Eldersburg, Md.) led all Saint Anselm tacklers with nine stops, while sophomore DB Carroll Bailey (Clinton, Mass.) made eight tackles, including two for a loss of seven yards.
DeCaro finished with 205 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, as part of a 286 all-purpose yard performance. The Chargers as a team racked up 821 yards of total offense, including 509 yards on the ground.
The Hawks return to action Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Southern Connecticut State University at Grappone. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.