STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In the second-straight season opener between the two programs, host Wagner College scored the game's first 30 points on its way to a 37-7 victory over the Saint Anselm College football team on Thursday evening at Hameline Field.
After a scoreless first quarter, Wagner (1-0), a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program, scored a pair of touchdowns 2:50 apart early in the second quarter to go up 13-0. The Seahawks stretched their lead to 30-0 after three quarters, before Ben Reiffarth scored the lone touchdown of the game for Saint Anselm (0-1) with 10:14 remaining.
In his return after missing most of last season with an injury, Eric Fairweather rushed 15 times for 69 yards for Saint Anselm. Correy King had 40 yards on 10 rushes, while Reiffarth scored his first-career touchdown as part of an 11-carry, 27-yard night.
Alex Thomson was 21-for-28 for 256 yards and a touchdown through the air for Wagner. D'Erren Wilson was Thomson's favorite target, hauling in 10 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Denzel Knight ran for 61 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries, while Ryan Fulse carried the ball 16 times for 79 yards and a score.
Wagner outgained Saint Anselm 417-139 in the game due to a 277-10 advantage through the air. The Seahawks also recorded five sacks in the game and had a pair of interceptions.
Isaiah Douglas led the Hawks' defense with a career-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops and one tackle for a loss. Eric Mercer added six solo tackles among his seven tackles, while Nate Lewis pitched in with six and a tackle for a loss.
Early in the second quarter, Wagner took advantage of a 51-yard punt return off a 61-yard punt by Brendan Mulligan to open the scoring, as Fulse scored from five yards out two plays later. The Seahawks again used a short field on their next drive, as Knight punched it in from two yards out to cap a four-play, 31-yard drive following a fumble to make it 13-0 after a missed extra point.
Late in the first half, Kaden Riforgiate boomed a 63-yard punt, tied for the fifth-longest in program history, to pin Wagner inside its 20. The Seahawks marched all the way to the Saint Anselm two-yard line before the Hawks' defense stood firm on fourth and goal to finish the half.
Thomson and Wilson connected from six yards out to finish off a 65-yard drive to open the third quarter to extend the lead to 20-0. A 40-yard field goal by James Cooper and a one-yard run by Knight saw the Seahawks take a 30-0 lead after three.
Saint Anselm put together its best drive of the night to start the fourth quarter. Reiffarth had 27 yards on a 12-play, 73-yard march that the junior capped with a three-yard touchdown. Wagner came back on the next possession with an 81-yard drive on seven plays that ended with a 27-yard touchdown run by Knight to finish the scoring.
Saint Anselm is back at it on Friday, Sept. 8 when the Hawks travel to Bentley to open Northeast-10 Conference play. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. against the Falcons, who fell 51-9 at West Chester on Thursday evening.