MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Anselm College football team posted a 59-13 loss to the visiting Vulcans from California University of Pennsylvania on Friday night at Grappone Stadium.
With the defeat, the Hawks fall to 0-1 on the young season. California (Pa.), an NCAA Division II Tournament team as recently as 2017, improves to 1-0 following the non league tilt. The Hawks head to Assumption for a non-conference game on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.
Despite 16 first downs and 278 yards of total offense by Saint Anselm, the Vulcans took advantage of four Hawks interceptions and three lost fumbles on the way to the decisive victory.
Making his Saint Anselm debut, junior transfer Phillip Tran (San Jose, Calif.) completed 30 of his 49 passes for 285 total yards, but threw four interceptions in the defeat. Junior Ryan Sullivan (Stoughton, Mass.), who ranked sixth in NCAA Division II last season in tackles, finished with a team-leading 10 takedowns to his credit.
Receiving the opening kick, the Hawks fumbled the ball to set up a Keaton Hier field goal within the game's first three minutes to create a 3-0 hole. On the next play, Tran threw an interception to California's Aaron Brown, setting up a nine-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a Vulcans touchdown.
The Hawks got on the board with a 39-yard field goal from junior Joey Cody (Cinnaminson, N.J.), kicking the first field goal of his career.
Saint Anselm forced a three-and-out late in the opening quarter, but another turnover by the Hawks offense created a 17-3 advantage. A pass by Tran on third-and-four was brought back 20 yarsd by Julian Cox and with the Hier point-after, Saint Anselm found itself trailing by 14 points.
California was not done, tacking on 28 additional points in the second quarter with a 79-yard touchdown by Tyson Hill, a 20-yard rushing score by Nelson Brown and an 84-yard fumble recovery by Lamont McPhatter II. The Vulcans pushed across another touchdown in the last two minutes of the first half, upping the lead to 45-3.
Cody capped a 10-play, 53-yard drive as time expired with his second field goal of the game, this time booting home a 30-yarder to shrink the California lead to 45-6 at the break. The Hawks held the statistical edges in passing yards and time of possession, but the Vulcans took advantage of Saint Anselm turnovers while building their lead.
Jordan Dandridge and Derrick Caraway each hauled in passing touchdowns to elevate California to a 59-6 lead with 9:25 to play. The Hawks answered with a late touchdown by senior Kimothy Bynum (Accokeek, Md.), the first of his career, with 7:13 to go in the contest to create the final score of 59-13.
Senior Seamus Oeser (Brookfield, Conn.) and junior Torrian Bradley-McSwain (Macon, Ga.) each had two pass breakups for Saint Anselm while freshman Taylor Pawelkoski (Bradenton, Fla.) recovered a fumble in his collegiate debut. Senior Eric Fairweather (Londonderry, N.H.) led the Hawks with 82 rushing yards, including a 69-yard scamper that was a game-high for both teams.
California quarterback Noah Mitchell was 15-for-27, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Brown and Jamorya Cousin each had rushing touchdowns with the former racking up 75 yards on 14 carries. Jermal Martin had seven tackles, leading the Vulcans, while also recovering a fumble.
Saint Anselm converted only one of the team's 14 third down opportunities while California picked up nine first downs on 16 of its chances.