MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team will hit the road for just the second time this season as it takes on Bentley University on Saturday, Oct. 5 (1 p.m.) at Bentley Football Stadium. Links to live stats and live video are available on the football schedule page.
This will be the 13th meeting between the two teams, with Bentley having won all 12 previous meetings. The Falcons are a perfect 6-0 against the Hawks on the Hilltop and are 6-0 in the friendly confines of their own home. In the most recent meeting Oct. 6 of last season, freshman QB Andrew Murphy threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns, but the Hawks' rally fell short as Bentley came away with a 38-28 victory under the lights at Grappone Stadium.
The Hawks, who put up the most points of any Bentley opponent to that point in the season and outscored the visitors, 28-14, over the final 21:43 of the contest, fell to 0-6 on the season, including 0-5 in Northeast-10 play. The Falcons remained perfect at 5-0, 4-0 NE-10.
In his second career start, Murphy completed 32 of 48 passes for 293 yards and a pair of scores, but was also picked off twice. Junior WR Justin Bernard snagged nine balls for 74 yards and a touchdown, while classmate Keith Charles made five catches for 82 yards and a score as part of his 173 all-purpose yards. The back also carried six times for 30 yards and ran back three kicks for 61 yards.
Bentley's defense, which entered the game with the second best scoring defense in the country (9.3 ppg), came as advertised, shutting out the Hawks for the first two-and-a-half quarters and staking the team to a 24-0 lead. After that, however, the Saint Anselm offense came alive as it posted 28 second-half points against a defense that had only allowed 37 total points and 1.5 ppg after halftime in four previous contests.
After Saint Anselm's second offensive drive of the second half resulted in seven points for Bentley when Steve Hopkins intercepted a Murphy pass and took it back 40 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown, the Hawks responded with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run by junior RB Greg Bell. Charles ran three times for 21 yards on the drive, while Murphy was 3-for-4 for 21 yards and added a 10-yard run of his own. Senior K Shea Cerio converted the extra point to make it 24-7 with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Bentley responded just one play and 17 seconds later when Bobby Tarr ran 75 yards up the right sideline and dove into the end zone to make it 31-7 following Will Lockwood's point-after.
The Hawks hit right back as they moved the ball 52 yards in seven plays to find the end zone. Murphy was a perfect 3-for-3 on the drive, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Bernard in the back right corner of the end zone that made it 31-13 with 4:05 to go in the third. Murphy, who also had a 14-yard rush during the drive, found Bernard again on the following play for a two-point conversion that sliced the deficit to 16.
The Falcons later put together what looked to be a back-breaking, eight-play, 82-yard drive that took 4:28 off the clock, with QB Luke Zahradka's 15-yard run and Lockwood's PAT making it 38-15 with 9:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Saint Anselm, however, answered just one play and 12 seconds later when Charles received Murphy's dump pass and raced up the middle for 73 yards and a touchdown that made it 38-22 after Cerio's kick with 8:48 left.
Just three minutes later, Bentley started a drive at the 50-yard line and had moved into Saint Anselm territory when senior LB Chris Bent reached up and plucked Zahradka's pass over the middle of the field out of the air and returned it 13 yards to the Hawks' 39-yard line. It was the captain and team-leading tackler's first career interception.
The Hawks capitalized as Murphy missed on his first two throws of the drive, but then completed four straight for 50 yards. Bell then rushed four times for 11 yards to move the hosts down to the Bentley 3-yard line before sophomore WR Ahkeen Williams capped the 11-play, 64-yard drive by taking the ball straight up the middle out of the wildcat formation and into the end zone. Murphy's two-point conversion try failed, however, and the Hawks trailed by 10 with 1:03 on the clock.
Bentley recovered the ensuing onside kick and took a pair of knees to seal the win.
Williams made seven catches for 39 yards.
Neither team would score in the first quarter, with Bentley missing a 39-field goal when Lockwood drove it off the right upright with 5:27 to go. Then, after forcing the Hawks to punt, the Falcons had moved into Saint Anselm territory when freshman DB Jack Hopkins jumped up and ripped away Dan Guadagnoli's pass that was intended for Bill Kiley for his first career interception with 55 seconds left in the opening frame.
Just 1:02 later, however, Bentley's Hopkins would pick Murphy for the first time to set up the first score of the contest. Tarr capped a seven-play, 46-yard drive with a 1-yard run that made it 7-0 after Lockwood's extra point with 11:21 on the clock in the second quarter.
Following nine plays and a punt by Cerio, the Falcons marched 74 yards in four plays and 1:40 before Sean Cross caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Guadagnoli that made it 14-0 after Lockwood's kick with 6:27 left in the second.
After the Bentley defense forced a fumble in the red zone that it recovered, the offense crafted a 14-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a Lockwood 24-yard field goal that made it 17-0 as time expired on the half.
Hopkins then came up with his pick-six on the third play of Saint Anselm's second drive of the second half that staked Bentley to a 24-0 lead with 10:00 left in the third quarter.
Bent and Hopkins, in addition to recording their first career interceptions, each tallied a game-high 13 tackles. Junior DB Trevor Jessie made nine stops and broke up a pair of passes.
Bentley gained 501 yards of total offense, including 289 on the ground, while the Hawks amassed 378 yards of total offense, with 293 of them coming through the air.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior WR Justin Bernard caught 10 passes for 88 yards and sophomore QB Andrew Murphy threw for 251 yards, but the Hawks dropped a 42-20 decision to Southern Connecticut on Sept. 27 at Grappone Stadium.
The Hawks sunk to 0-4 on the season, including 0-3 in Northeast-10 play, while the Owls evened their record at 2-2, 2-1 NE-10.
Murphy went 24 of 43 and threw a touchdown pass, but was picked off three times. Senior RB Keith Charles narrowly missed going over 200 all-purpose yards for the fourth straight time this year as he caught four passes for 74 yards, rushed 11 times for 29 yards and returned four kicks for 88 yards.
After Saint Anselm's opening drive stalled out in Southern Connecticut territory, Murphy's pooch punt pinned the Owls down at their own 4-yard line. The visitors responded by driving 96 yards in nine plays and 4:02 to grab the game's first score. John Moscatel polished off the series with a 9-yard touchdown run before Jeff Groth added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 9:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Hawks were forced into a three-and-out on the ensuing series, but their punt attempt went awry as Kayjuan Bynum fell on the loose ball at the Saint Anselm 24-yard line. The Owls needed just six plays to find the end zone as Jacob Jablonski found Vito Fornarelli from four yards out. Groth's point-after pushed the lead to 14-0 with 4:44 left in the first quarter.
Following another Saint Anselm punt on the ensuing series, the Owls crafted an eight-play, 78-yard drive that was capped by a Dequane June 1-yard touchdown jaunt that opened it up to 21-0 just 30 seconds into the second quarter.
Saint Anselm finally jumped on the board on the following possession when sophomore K/P Shane Grayson drilled a 35-yard field goal following a 14-play, 66-yard drive by the offense to cut it to 21-3 with 9:58 left in the first half.
Junior DB Mike Tatro intercepted Jablonski at the Saint Anselm 45 on the second play of the ensuing drive, but Southern Connecticut forced another three-and-out to take the ball back at its own 26-yard line. The Owls pushed ahead 74 yards in nine plays with Jablonski throwing a 27-yard strike to Gary Williams for a touchdown that made it 28-3 with 3:14 to go after Devin Silverman's PAT.
The game went into halftime that way and after Southern Connecticut began the second half with a three-and-out, Saint Anselm marched 82 yards in 18 plays before Grayson hit a 20-field goal to trim the deficit to 28-6 7:01 in. It was the first multiple-field goal game for Grayson.
The teams then each turned the ball over on downs before June capped a three-play, 74-yard drive with a 65-yard run that widened the gap to 35-6 with 1:54 left in the third following Silverman's kick.
After Murphy was intercepted by Mike Dunkley on the ensuing drive, the Owls put together a six-play, 55-yard drive that was capped by an 18-yard Moscatel scamper that brought the score to 42-6 with 11:52 remaining following the Silverman extra point.
The Hawks responded by racing 65 yards in just three plays and 1:33. Murphy hit Charles for a 59-yard catch-and-run and two plays later he found junior WR Brandon Gomes from seven yards out to make it 42-13 after Grayson's kick with 7:59 on the clock.
Saint Anselm closed the scoring with 2:58 left after a two-play, 80-yard drive that was highlighted by freshman QB Yianni Gavalas finding freshman WR Shane Jackson near the right sideline for a 76-yard catch and run touchdown that cut it to 42-20 after Grayson's PAT.
Gomes caught three passes for 34 yards and the score. Jackson made the one catch for 76 yards and the TD, while Gavalas completed the only pass he threw for the 76-yard touchdown. Freshman WR Zach Bartak hauled in four passes for 43 yards.
Defensively, the Hawks were led by sophomore DB Carroll Bailey, who made 10 tackles, including 3.0 for a loss, and also forced a fumble. Tatro piled up eight stops, recorded a seven-yard sack and made the interception.
Southern Connecticut compiled 512 yards of total offense, including 292 on the ground. Saint Anselm registered 353 yards, with 327 of them coming through the air.
Senior RB Keith Charles leads the conference and is 10th in the country with 206.3 all-purpose yards per game. Senior DL Lou Licciardi's 2.1 tackles-for-loss per game lead the league and place him 10th, nationally. Junior WR Justin Bernard leads the league and is fifth in the nation with 9.8 receptions per game. Bernard also ranks second in the league and 14th, nationally, with five touchdown catches. Finally, sophomore QB Andrew Murphy's 25.3 completions per game place him second in the league and 20th nationwide, while his nine TD passes are good for fourth in the conference and 33rd in the country.
FORCING THE ISSUE
The Saint Anselm defense has forced the fourth most turnovers (9) in the conference this season and is third in interceptions (5).
GRAYSON IS GOOD
Sophomore K/P Shane Grayson hit field goals of 35 and 20 yards against Southern Connecticut on Sept. 27 for the first multiple-field goal game of his career.
KICKING IT AROUND
In the Hawks' 52-24 loss at Stonehill on Sept. 14, sophomore K/P Shane Grayson booted a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter that registered as the sixth longest in program history.
TAKING IT AWAY
The Hawks forced four turnovers with two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries in their 42-28 season-opening defeat against Bowie State on Sept. 7. It was the second straight game the defense racked up four takeaways as they intercepted three passes and forced a fumble in the 2012 season finale Nov. 10 at Merrimack on Northeast-10 Championship Weekend.
In the Hawks' 42-28 loss in their 2013 opener against Bowie State on Sept. 7, junior DB Mike Tatro made 10 tackles, in addition to a 39-yard fumble return and a 35-yard interception return. Tatro had eight total tackles in his entire career coming into the contest.
PREDICTING THE FUTURE
The Hawks were picked to finish ninth in the Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Aug. 29. AIC, which earned a berth into last season's Northeast-10 title game, topped the poll with 75 points and five first-place votes as it narrowly beat out defending Northeast-10 Champion New Haven, which amassed 73 points and a trio of first-place votes. Bentley grabbed the third spot with 61 points – just one ahead of LIU Post, which totaled 60 points and a pair of first-place votes after re-joining the league over the summer after a five-year stint in the PSAC. Merrimack nailed down the fifth spot with 44 points, while Southern Connecticut and Stonehill followed with 42 and 41 points, respectively. Assumption was picked eight with 24 points, while Pace rounded out the poll in 10th with nine points.
ESPN NEW HAMPSHIRE PARTNERSHIP RENEWED
The Saint Anselm College Department of Athletics has partnered with ESPN New Hampshire Radio for the second straight year in 2013-14. As part of the agreement, ESPN New Hampshire will feature the Saint Anselm Coaches' Show every Tuesday. The show will take place live from the dining hall on campus from noon-1 p.m. and will then be aired on ESPNNH.com, 1250 AM Manchester and 900 AM Nashua from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Nick Anastos, a Bedford, N.H., native, will again host the show. Anastos has served as the color analyst for the Hawks' Pack Network broadcasts of football, men's and women's basketball and men's and women's ice hockey since 2010. The show will highlight what is happening in the world of Saint Anselm athletics, as Anastos will chat with both a head coach and student-athlete during the hour-long segment.
LIVE VIDEO STREAMING
Saint Anselm Athletics and Pack Network will once again team up for the 2012-14 season to offer an industry-leading streaming video solution. The service will feature live event productions that include multiple cameras, an on-screen scoreboard and graphics so that fans can still be part of the action even when they can't make it to the game. And starting this season, fans can stream games live on their ipad or iphone. This season, all football, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's hockey games will be streamed live at SaintAnselmHawks.tv. The Hawks All-Access Pass, available for $69.95, gives fans the opportunity to watch not only all the live coverage of various Saint Anselm home athletic events, but also premium content not available to view without the All-Access Pass. The premium content includes an in-depth archive section of all video available. Single-event subscriptions for all live events will be available throughout the season for $6.95.