Head coach Robert Talley congratulates senior co-captain Anthony Masucci after today's win at #11/14 Bloomsburg. (PHOTO BY Kendyl Galbraith/Bloomsburg Athletics)
Skyhawks post first nationally-ranked win since 2009, with highest-ranked triumph in program history
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (September 5, 2015) – Stonehill College rode a dominant defensive effort to defeat its highest-ranked opponent in program history with a 27-10 triumph over Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, ranked 11th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II preseason poll and 14th in the D2Football.com Division II rankings, in non-conference football action at Danny Hale Field at Robert B. Redman Stadium this afternoon.
It marks Stonehill's first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since a 23-21 victory over 24th-ranked Bentley University at W.B. Mason Stadium to cap the 2009 season. The win also marked the Skyhawks first against the perennial Super Region 1 power in the four year series history against Bloomsburg. It also marks the Skyhawks first season-opening win since a 35-7 win over Curry College in 2011 – the year prior to starting the Bloomsburg series.
Stonehill's defense, which led the Northeast-10 Conference for total defense, passing defense and rushing defense in 2014 while ranking second for scoring defense, picked up right where it left off. The Skyhawks held Bloomsburg to 264 total yards, including 86 on the ground, and forced three turnovers – resulting in ten points, while 68 of the Huskies yards of offense came on its final drive of the afternoon that produced a consolation touchdown in the final minute.
Sophomore Donovan Phanor (Portsmouth, New Hampshire/Portsmouth) led the Skyhawks defensive effort with a career-high seven tackles (three solo), an interception, fumble recovery and pass breakup. His fumble recovery led to Stonehill's first touchdown of the afternoon, while his interception set up a field goal that gave the Skyhawks a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. Senior co-captain Anthony Masucci (East Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame-West Haven) added six stops (one solo), including 1.0 tackles for a loss of three yards.
Senior Colin Markus rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown today. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Junior Justin Kaffenberger (Monroe, New York/Monroe-Woodbury) chipped in five stops on defense (one solo) and a fourth quarter interception that sealed the victory, but also averaged 38.8 yards on four punts, two of which were downed inside the Bloomsburg five yard line. His first punt, downed at the Huskies one, late in the first quarter led to a fumble which resulted in Stonehill's first touchdown of the afternoon. Kaffenberger had a second punt downed on the two in the third quarter and after a Bloomsburg three and out, the Skyhawks got the ball back on the Huskies 42 before scoring four plays later for a 17-3 advantage.
Senior running back Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk) powered the Stonehill offense which finished with 328 total yards, with 27 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown for his ninth career 100-yard rushing performance. The Skyhawks' 153 yards on the ground today were more than their team rushing total for the first three meetings between these two programs combined (149).
Sophomore quarterback Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) engineered the offense with an impressive 180.50 efficiency rating as he completed 13-of-19 passes (68.4-percent) for 175 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception. Senior co-captain Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Massachusetts/BC High) caught five of those passes, including the 100th of his career, for 79 yards and a touchdown, while classmate Corey White (Bergenfield, New Jersey/Bergenfield) also chipped in with a touchdown reception. Senior Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, New Hampshire/Manchester Central) contributed a pair of field goals for the Skyhawks.
Senior quarterback Tim Kelly (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania/Cedar Cliff) completed 18-of-35 passes for Bloomsburg for 178 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice. Junior Chad Hoffman (Drums, Pennsylvania/Hazleton) finished with six receptions for 81 yards, while classmate Nate Hoenl (Whitehall, Pennsylvania/Whitehall) caught the Huskies lone touchdown.
Donovan Phanor had a team-high seven tackles, an interception and fumble recovery.
Junior Jerrin Toomey (York, Pennsylvania/West York) paced the Bloomsburg defense with a game-high nine tackles (five solo), while senior Jeremiah Lowery (Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania/Academy Park) added eight tackles, including 1.0 sacks for a loss of seven. Junior Ezra Ranco (Collegeville, Pennsylvania/Perkiomen Valley) chipped in with seven stops (three solo), including 1.0 for a loss of four yards and a forced fumble.
Stonehill struck first less than a minute into the second quarter as Foltz connected with White for a four yard touchdown pass on third and goal to cap a six play, 23-yard drive after Phanor recovered a Bloomsburg fumble at the Huskies 23. The Skyhawks extended their lead to 10-0 with a 22-yard Grzywacz field goal after Phanor picked off Kelly at the Stonehill 27 and returned it to the Bloomsburg 47. The interception came after two first down runs by the Huskies were negated by holding calls. Bloomsburg got on the scoreboard with a 32-yard field goal by junior Tyler Smith (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania/Gettysburg) with just three-seconds left in the half.
Stonehill put the game out of reach with the first 17 points of the second half, starting with a two yard scoring run from Markus after the Skyhawks had great field position off a Kaffenberger punt that was downed on the Bloomsburg two. Foltz found McLeod for a 28 yard touchdown pass on fourth and six on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 24-3. Grzywacz added a 25-yard field goal to push the Skyhawks lead to 27-3 with five minutes remaining before the Huskies got their lone touchdown of the afternoon with just 37-seconds left.
Stonehill (1-0, 0-0 NE-10) is right back in action after a short week when it opens its Northeast-10 schedule at Merrimack College on Friday, September 11, at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks home opener is the following Saturday, September 19, when they host Pace University as part of Kickoff Weekend and Stonehill's Presidents' Cup celebration at W.B. Mason Stadium at 6 p.m. Bloomsburg (0-1, 0-0 PSAC) visits California (Pa.) University next Saturday at 1 p.m.