Stonehill Powers Past Saint Anselm, 35-20

Senior Jermetrius Troy rushed the ball a career-high 33 times for 150 yards and a touchdown. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Troy and Willis grind out a combined 242 yards as Skyhawks retain "Ol' Bronze Hawk" for seventh-straight year with eighth-straight series win overall

MANCHESTER, N.H. (September 14, 2012) – Stonehill College won the "Battle for the Ol' Bronze Hawk" for the seventh straight year and claimed its eighth straight series win with a grinding 35-20 victory over Saint Anselm College at Grappone Stadium tonight.

Senior Jermetrius Troy (Mattapan, Mass./The Tilton School) and junior Justin Willis (East Haven, Conn./Notre Dame) combined for 242 yards and two touchdowns to spearhead at Stonehill offense that pounded out 523 yards of total offense – the Skyhawks most since 539 total yards in a 49-0 win over Pace University last October.

Troy carried the ball a career-high 33 times for a season-best 150 yards and a touchdown. He moved into sixth place on Stonehill's career rushing list with 1,388 yards after entering the game just a yard shy of cracking the all-time top ten list. Troy's 33 carries are the third-highest total in program history and most by a Skyhawk since 1995. Willis added 19 rushes for a season-best 92 yards and a score.

Senior wide receiver John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) caught six passes for a season-best 104 yards, while sophomore Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) added four receptions for 77 yards and two scores. Junior Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) completed 12-of-19 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while classmate Jesse Hunt (Winchendon, Mass./Oakmont Regional) finished 9-for-13 for 115 yards and a score in split duty at quarterback.

Sophomore Nate Robitaille had two touchdown catches. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Sophomore Michael Hogan (Westborough, Mass./St. John's of Shrewsbury) led the Stonehill defense with nine tackles (two solo). Senior Mickey Miela (Foothill Ranch, Calif./Trabuco Hills) posted a pair of interceptions, both of which came inside the Skyhawks five yard line, two tackles (one solo) and a pass breakup in his return after missing the opening two weeks of the season to injury. Senior preseason All-American Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) finished with seven stops (four solo) and a breakup.

Senior Chris Bent (Dracut, Mass./Dracut) led the Saint Anselm defense with 16 tackles (six solo) and a fumble recovery. Junior Ethan Sylvain (East Montpelier, Vt./Bridgeton Academy) finished with 13 stops (five solo) and an interception that he returned 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Hawks a 20-14 lead early in the second half.

Sophomore Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass./Suffield Academy) led the Saint Anselm offense with seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. He also tossed a 52 yard touchdown pass to classmate Brandon Gomes (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy) on a flea-flicker in the second quarter.

Sophomore Stephen Cuipa (Merrimack, N.H./Bishop Guertin) completed 7-of-12 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, while junior Ray Doucette (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge & Latin) was 14-for-30 for 116 yards.

Stonehill posted a 246 to 29 advantage in rushing yards on the night and converted 10-of-18 third downs (56%) as well as its only attempt on fourth down. The Hawks were just 2-for-12 (17%) on third down and misfired on both attempts at fourth down. The Skyhawks dominated time of possession 42:08, compared to 17:52 for the hosts.

Junior Justin Willis added 19 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill struck first on its second possession of the contest after Gomes gave the Skyhawks good field position with a 17 yard punt return to the Saint Anselm 38 yard line to start the drive. Meyer connected with Robitaille five plays later for a 23 yard touchdown pass on third and eight with 7:49 left in the first quarter.

Saint Anselm answered on its next drive, going 74 yards over seven plays in just 2:02 before Cuipa found Bernard for a 35 yard touchdown pass with 5:47 to go in the quarter, with the extra point going off the mark. Cuipa was 4-for-4 for 86 yards, while adding two rushes for five yards on the drive.

Bernard put Saint Anselm in front midway through the second quarter when he connected with Gomes for a 52-yard flea-flicker on its first play after Stonehill had a punt blocked near midfield. Stonehill drove to the Saint Anselm 15 on its next drive, but a 15 yard loss on a sack pushed the Skyhawks back and then freshman Stephen Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) missed on a 42-yard field goal.

Stonehill bounced back on its next drive after Saint Anselm went three and out with Troy scoring on a one yard plunge to cap an eight play, 67-yard scoring drive with 36-seconds left before halftime. He had 33 yards on six carries on the drive, while Hunt was 2-for-2 passing for 34 yards.

Senior Mickey Miela returned to the lineup and intercepted two passes inside the Skyhawks five yard line.

Stonehill had the opening possession in the second half, but Sylvain provided a spark for Saint Anselm when he intercepted Meyer at the Stonehill 45 and raced all the way in for the touchdown and a 20-14 Hawks lead just over a minute and a half into the third quarter.

The Skyhawks bounced back on its next drive to take the lead for good as senior Tyler Williams (Hamden, Conn./Hamden Hall) capped a ten play, 73 yard scoring drive with a three yard touchdown catch from Meyer with 8:57 to play in the third. Meyer was 4-for-6 for 76 yards on the drive, including three passes to Gomes for 55 yards.

Stonehill extended the lead to 28-20 on the first play in the fourth quarter when Hunt connected with Robitaille for his second touchdown of the day from 37 yards out to cap a nine play, 63 yard drive.

Saint Anselm moved the ball to midfield on its next drive, but was forced to punt after the drive stalled at the Stonehill 43. The Skyhawks then grinded out a backbreaking 16 play, 80 yard drive, capped by a five yard touchdown run from Willis with 5:20 to play that consumed 8:12. Meyer completed 3-of-4 passes for 54 yards, including a pair of 20 yard plays to Gomes and freshman Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Mass./BC High), to set up the score with Willis adding 25 yards on eight carries.

Saint Anselm turned the ball over on downs on its own 35 on its next possession, but Stonehill turned the ball over with a fumble on the next play to give the Hawks a final chance. The Hawks drove to the Stonehill six yard line, but Miela's second interception of the game sealed victory for the Skyhawks who have now win their first two NE-10 games for the first time since head coach Robert Talley's first season at the helm in 2007.

Stonehill (2-1, 2-0 NE-10) returns home next Saturday to host Assumption College in a key early season NE-10 matchup as part of Family Weekend at the College at 6 p.m. Saint Anselm (0-3, 0-2 NE-10) visits nationally-ranked University of New Haven next Saturday at 1 p.m.