MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team will welcome Saint Anselm alumni back to the Hilltop as it plays host to Merrimack College on Saturday, Oct. 19 (1 p.m.) at Grappone Stadium on Homecoming. Links to live stats and live video are available on the football schedule page.
This will be the 16th meeting between the two teams, with the Warriors leading the all-time series, 11-4. After Saint Anselm captured three of the first four meetings, Merrimack has won 10 of the last 11, including five straight. Merrimack is 7-2 at home against the Hawks and has won seven of the last eight there. In the most recent meeting Nov. 10 of last season, senior WR Craig Dennis put together a career day in his final collegiate game, but the eighth-seeded Hawks ended their season with a 62-26 loss to fifth-seeded Merrimack in a Northeast-10 Championship Weekend tilt at Martone-Mejail Field
The Hawks closed out their 2012 season at 2-9, while Merrimack wrapped up its season at 6-4.
Dennis set career highs in both catches (12) and receiving yards (140) to close his career. Junior RB Keith Charles composed his second career 100-yard rushing game as he carried 13 times for 113 yards. Freshman QB Andrew Murphy wound down his sensational rookie campaign by going 32 of 61 for 327 yards and four touchdowns, while also throwing a trio of interceptions. Murphy, who set the program's single-season touchdown passing record last week, finishes the year with 26 touchdowns, while coming up just 154 passing yards short of that single-season mark.
The Hawks drew first blood as they took the opening kickoff and marched down the field in just three plays. Charles set up the score with a 59-yard run that brought the Hawks down to the Merrimack 10-yard line. Charles then made it into the end zone just two plays later when he pulled in a swing pass toward the far sideline from Murphy and scampered in from six yards out. Senior K/P Shea Cerio had his extra point carom off the upright and the Hawks led 6-0 after the game's opening drive.
After Saint Anselm recorded a takeaway, but was then forced to punt, Merrimack took over at the Saint Anselm 34-yard line and finished the short drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Joe Clancy to Jere Brown. Nick Zwaan's extra point was no good and the game was tied at six with 9:43 to go in the opening quarter.
Merrimack then grabbed the lead with 6:19 left when Clancy hit Isaiah Voegeli for a 10-yard touchdown pass over the middle. Zwaan made the game's first extra point and the Warriors led it 13-6.
The Warriors added to their lead on the opening play of the second quarter. After getting the ball back on an interception by freshman DB Jack Hopkins, the Hawks were staring at third-and-12 from their own 14-yard line when Jesse Fowler intercepted Murphy's pass near the left sideline and returned it 30 yards, diving inside the pylon on the opposite side of the field after a circus-like return that lasted 19 seconds. Zwaan knocked the point-after through and Merrimack led 20-6 at the 14:41 mark of the second quarter.
On the ensuing Saint Anselm drive, Murphy was once again picked on a second-and-11 by linebacker Ryan McCarthy, who raced 45 yards down the left sideline for a score that made it 27-6 after Zwaan's kick with 12:38 remaining in the second quarter.
The Hawks got it right on their next drive as they went 58 yards in just five plays and 43 seconds to reach the end zone. Dennis highlighted things by pulling in a 32-yard pass down the right sideline from Murphy, who hit junior WR Eric Feehan for an eight-yard touchdown just two plays later. Cerio split the uprights and the Merrimack lead was sliced to 27-13 with 11:55 to play in the first half.
The Saint Anselm defense caused another turnover on the following Merrimack drive as Clancy tried to force it in on a second-and-15 at their own 38, but was picked by senior LB Matt Gordon, who went down at the Hawks' 44 after a one-yard return. It was the first interception of Gordon's career.
The Hawks then put together a nine-play, 47-yard drive that brought them down to the Merrimack 9-yard line. Murphy tried to go to Dennis in the left corner of the end zone, but was again intercepted by Fowler and Merrimack took over at its own 2-yard line.
The Hawks took it back on a pick by freshman DB Tyler Lindsay, but the Hawks went four-and-out to give it right back. Merrimack scored on its fifth play of the ensuing drive as Clancy found Steven Browne for 53 yards and a score. Zwaan tacked on the extra point and the Warriors led 34-13 with 5:04 left in the second quarter.
The Warriors opened the second half with three unanswered scores that made it 55-13 with 6:49 to go in the third.
The Hawks later completed a six-play, 54-yard drive with a spectacular play on fourth-and-seven. Murphy rolled out to the left, then stood in and took a hit as he aired it out down the left side of the field where sophomore Ahkeen Williams pulled it in as he ran into the end zone from 41 yards out. Cerio added the PAT and the Hawks cut it to 55-20 with 1:56 to go in the third.
Clancy expanded Merrimack's lead later in the fourth quarter when he hooked up with Brown on a 91-yard catch-and-run that brought the score to 62-20 following Zwaan's extra point with 10:40 to go.
Saint Anselm made it a little closer after a seven-play, 59-yard drive that was capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Murphy to junior WR Justin Bernard that trimmed the deficit to 62-26. Cerio's extra point was no good.
Bernard completed the day with 10 catches for 74 yards and the score. He also wrapped up the single greatest receiving season by a Hawk with 97 catches for 1,110 yards and 15 touchdowns – all single-season program marks. Bernard, who became the school's all-time leader in touchdown catches last week, adds to that mark and now has 20 heading into next season. Williams made five grabs for 76 yards and a score.
Senior LB Chris Bent finished with 12 tackles and ends his career as the all-time leading tackler in program history with 345 stops. Bent also closes the 2012-13 campaign with the second most tackles in a Saint Anselm single season as his 111 tackles are just three short of Dan Bohenek's 114 stops from the 2009 season.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior WR Justin Bernard set a school record with 17 catches, while senior RB Keith Charles racked up over 200 all-purpose yards and scored twice as the Hawks fell to Assumption College, 41-27, Oct. 11 at Grappone Stadium.
The Hawks dipped to 0-6, including 0-5 in Northeast-10 play, while the Greyhounds evened their record at 3-3 and improve to 3-2 in the conference.
Bernard, who is now the Saint Anselm single-game, single-season and career record holder in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches, surpassed the old school record of 16 grabs that he matched last year at Seton Hill on Nov. 3, 2012, in addition to piling up 154 receiving yards and a touchdown. Charles ran the ball 12 times for 54 yards and a touchdown, caught a career-high 10 passes for 84 yards and another score and returned three kicks for 76 yards. Sophomore QB Andrew Murphy was mostly solid as he went 37-for-57 for 315 yards and two TDs, but was also picked off twice.
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams made up for it by combining for 38 points in the second stanza. The Hawks began the scoring as Charles capped off an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard stroll that made it 7-0 after the extra point by sophomore K/P Shane Grayson.
Matt Heriveaux matched Charles' one-yard touchdown run and then Matt Pedone scampered 59 yards for a second score and Assumption led 14-7 with 8:09 on the clock in the second. Tad Beuchert, who made both extra points, added a 23-yard field goal with 2:48 left to push the Greyhounds' lead to 10.
Saint Anselm quickly responded by moving 75 yards on eight plays in just 1:49. Charles finished off the drive by taking a swing pass from Murphy and motoring 14 yards down the left sideline before leaning forward just inside the pylon. Grayson's PAT sliced the deficit to 17-14 with just 53 seconds left in the half.
Then came the backbreaker, however, as Assumption found a way to get it into the end zone before time expired. James Ward collected the ensuing kickoff and bolted 89 yards in just 15 seconds to send the Greyhounds into the locker room with a 24-14 lead after Beuchert's kick.
Assumption broke it open in the third quarter by outscoring the hosts, 17-0. Pedone's 28-yard reception and Heriveaux's 10-yard run provided the bulk of the damage, while Beuchert's 48-yard field goal added the icing for the Greyhounds as they led 41-14 at the end of three.
Another long drive of 13 plays for 75 yards put the Hawks in the end zone as freshman RB Joe Heyman scored his first career touchdown on a two-yard run that trimmed it to 41-20 with 12:13 to play. Saint Anselm went for the two-point conversion, but came up empty.
The Hawks pulled even closer with 1:22 left in the contest when Murphy found Bernard in the back of the end zone from three yards out to polish off a 12-play, 88-yard drive that made it a two-score game following Grayson's PAT.
Hayman rushed 10 times for 43 yards.
Defensively, junior LB Mike Tatro and junior LB Zach Hayes led the Hawks with eight tackles apiece. Junior DL Andrew Lebowitz, junior DL Josh Cheever and senior DL Lou Licciardi each recorded seven stops.
Saint Anselm outgained its opponent in total yards for the first time this season as it racked up 406 and held Assumption to 379 – the lowest mark of any opponent this year.
The Hawks raised awareness for Leukemia by wearing socks and tape that was orange - the awareness ribbon color for Leukemia. Their match through Team IMPACT, 15-year-old Nathan Etchells, who was diagnosed with the disease at age 11, served as an honorary captain and was out at midfield for the pre-game coin toss. Orange donation buckets were set up at the ticket booths and special addition programs were on sale, with all proceeds going directly to Team IMPACT.
Senior RB Keith Charles leads the conference and is seventh in the country with 202.3 all-purpose yards per game. Junior WR Justin Bernard leads the league and is second in the nation with 10.5 receptions per game. Bernard also ranks second in the league and 15th, nationally, with seven touchdown catches. Sophomore QB Andrew Murphy's 26.8 completions per game place him second in the league and 12th nationwide. Finally, senior DL Lou Licciardi's 1.7 tackles-for-loss per game lead the league and place him 21st nationally.
RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOK
In the Hawks' 41-27 loss to Assumption on Oct. 11, junior WR Justin Bernard toppled the last major program mark that he had yet to solely take ownership of when he caught 17 passes to eclipse the mark of 16 that he matched last season at Seton Hill on Nov. 3. Bernard, who now owns Saint Anselm's single-game, single-season and career records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches, racked up 154 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
Senior RB Keith Charles ran the ball 12 times for 54 yards and a touchdown in the Hawks' 41-27 defeat against Assumption on Oct. 11, but it was through the air where Charles made his largest impact. The co-captain caught a career-high 10 passes for 84 yards and another score as he went over 200 all-purpose yards for the third time this year.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Despite suffering a 41-27 loss to Assumption on Oct. 11, the Hawks outgained their opponent in total yards for the first time this season as they racked up 406 and held Assumption to 379 – the lowest mark of any opponent this year. Sophomore QB Andrew Murphy also put together his best game of the season, numbers-wise, going 37-for-57 for 315 yards and two TDs. It was the first time Murphy, who averaged 404.0 passing yards in six starts a year ago, topped the 300-yard mark this season.
When senior LB Matt Gordon recovered a Bentley fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown that put Saint Anselm on top, 27-26, with 5:52 remaining in the Oct. 5 contest, it was the latest in a game the Hawks had held a lead all season.
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.