Stonehill Intercepts Assumption, 26-24

Senior Kevin Anderson matched the program record for interceptions in a game for the second time in his career, including a 98 yard touchdown return to cap Stonehill's third-straight victory. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Anderson matches school record for second time in career with three interceptions, including game-winning 98-yard pick six

EASTON, Mass. (September 22, 2012) – Stonehill College ran its winning streak to three games and is 3-0 in Conference play for the first time in six seasons after grinding out a 26-24 victory over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference football action in front of an overflow crowd of 2,400-plus on Family Weekend at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium tonight.

Senior cornerback Kevin Anderson (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet) intercepted three passes, returning the third 98 yards for a touchdown with 6:19 remaining to cap a Stonehill comeback from a 24-13 deficit late in the third quarter. He matches the program's single-game record for the second time in his career after he also intercepted three Assumption passes in a 22-14 Stonehill victory in 2009. Sean Daley set the mark with three pickoffs, also against Assumption, in 1995. Anderson also added three tackles (one solo) and finished with a game-high 168 all-purpose yards as he also returned three kickoffs for 49 yards to go with his 119 yards off interception returns.

Senior defensive back Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) posted a game-high 12 tackles (eight solo), including 2.0 for a loss of three yards, with 1.0 sacks for a loss of one, a pass breakup and quarterback hurry. He moves into eighth place all-time with 254 career tackles with his total tonight. Junior safety Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) added a season-high nine tackles (six solo) and two breakups, while sophomore linebacker Michael Hogan (Westborough, Mass./Saint John's of Shrewsbury) finished with nine stops (four solo), including 1.0 for a loss of a yard.

Sophomore Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) paced the Stonehill offense with four receptions for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Senior John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) added four receptions for 88 yards, moving into second place on the program's career receiving yardage list with 1,975. He passes Brian Adamson, who totaled 1,962 receiving yards from 1994-97 and now trails just Dan Cahill (1992-95) with 2,245.

Sophomore Nate Robitaille posted his second two touchdown day of the season for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Junior quarterback Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) finished 13-for-25 for 188 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He was able to move into fourth on the program's career passing list with 3,272 yards, passing John Darak who passed for 3,169 yards from 1996-99.

Stonehill, who posted over 42-minutes of possession time in last week's win at Saint Anselm, was limited to 21:17 tonight, including just 7:08 in the second half, as Assumption held the ball for 38:43. The Skyhawks finished with 258 yards of total offense, with 207 passing and just 51 on the ground. Assumption posted 354 total yards, with 225 passing and 129 on the ground.

Junior Bobby Jordan (Cromwell, Conn./Cromwell) completed 15-of-34 passes for 211 yards and two interceptions with three interceptions. Junior Scott Simonson (Red Bank, N.J./Middletown South) caught six passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, while classmate Matt Pedone (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Regional) led the Greyhounds with 132 all-purpose yards as he rushed the ball 17 times for 80 yards, caught three passes for 37 yards and added a 15 yard kickoff return.

Junior Jon Wozney (North Haledon, N.J./DePaul Catholic) led the Assumption defense with seven tackles (four solo). Senior Sonny Dillinger (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann) added five solo stops, including a sack for a loss of three yards.

Stonehill was kept off the field for all but 3:15 in the third quarter, after possession was even in the first half, as Assumption extended a 14-13 halftime lead to 24-13. The Greyhounds opened the second half with a seven play, 78 yard drive, capped by a 42-yard touchdown pass from Jordan to Simonson down the left side 2:52 into the third quarter.

Assumption added a ten play, 45 yard drive that ate up 7:05, but was held to a 25-yard field goal by junior Tad Beuchert (Danvers, Mass./St. John's Prep) with 1:26 left in the third. The Greyhounds were hurt by two false start penalties on the drive, the second of which came on first and goal from the Stonehill five.

Stonehill answered by marching 60 yards on four plays with Meyer connecting with Robitaille for a 27 yard touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter to pull the Skyhawks within four after the extra point. Gomes caught a 36 yard strike from Meyer on the first play of the drive.

Senior John Gomes moved into second place on program's career receiving yardage list with his 88 yards on four catches tonight. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Both teams punted on their first drives of the fourth quarter and then Assumption drove to the Stonehill five on a nine play drive that took 4:56 before senior Uly Gibson (Middletown, N.J./Middletown North) was dropped for a loss of two and then Anderson stepped in front of a Jordan pass intended for Simonson at the two yard line and evaded three potential tacklers before finding the end zone with a 98 yard return with 6:19 to go.

It marks the second-straight year Stonehill has had a long interception return for a touchdown against Assumption as Gaines had an 82 yard pickoff return for a score last season and it marks the longest interception return for a score since Mike DeBye had a 100 yard return against the Greyhounds in 2005.

Assumption had good field position on its next drive, starting at the Stonehill 44 after a 23 yard kickoff return from Darius Daniels (Clearwater, Fla./Tarpon). A 15 yard personal foul penalty stalled the momentum of the drive as three straight incomplete passes from Jordan turned the ball over on downs.

With Assumption out of timeouts, Stonehill was unable to get a first down on its next possession, giving the Greyhounds the ball back with 1:47 to play, but sophomore Ryan Handy (Howell, N.J./Howell) boomed a 53 yard punt that pinned the Greyhounds on their own eight yard line. Assumption got a first down after a pass interference penalty and got out to the 21, but an incomplete pass, sack for a loss of seven and back-to-back pass breakups from Bennett on third and fourth down clinched the win for Stonehill.

Assumption struck first with a two yard pass from Jordan to Simonson to cap a nine play, 77-yard drive, which took 4:35 with 6:35 remaining in the first quarter. Stonehill answered with a 25-yard field goal from freshman Stephen Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) with 3:11 left in the opening quarter and then Robitaille added his first touchdown of the game on a 15 yard pass from Meyer for a 10-7 Skyhawks lead with 9:45 left in the second quarter.

Sophomore Matt Tuleja (Mansfield, Mass./Xaverian) scored on a one yard plunge to put Assumption back in front (14-10) with 1:01 to play in the half. Stonehill made the most of the final minute of the half as Handy executed a five yard run on fourth and two near midfield on a fake punt and then Meyer connected with Gomes for a 33 yard pass to the Assumption two with five seconds left. The Skyhawks opted to go for three points and Grzywacz converted from 20 yards out to draw within a point (14-13) at the half.

Stonehill is now off to its first 3-0 start in NE-10 play since head coach Robert Talley's first season in 2007, when the Skyhawks started 4-1 overall and 4-0 in Conference play. The Skyhawks have won three in a row for the first time since ending the 2009 season with three-straight victories.

Stonehill (3-1, 3-0 NE-10) hits the road for the next two weeks for a pair of Friday night contests, starting with arch-rival Bentley University next Friday at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks next home game is Saturday, October 13, when they host Merrimack College on Senior Day at noon. Assumption (1-3, 1-2 NE-10) hosts American International College next Saturday at 1 p.m.

Highlights and Postgame Interviews