Senior running back Colin Markus rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns tonight. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Markus rushes for 166 yards and three touchdowns, Foltz passes for three more
EASTON, Mass. (September 19, 2015) – Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, has won its first three games of the season for the first time in eight years after pinning a 51-13 victory on Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin '80 Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium as part of Stonehill Kickoff Weekend tonight.
Senior running back Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk) paced a Stonehill offense which racked up 292 rushing yards with his tenth career 100-yard game (second of the season) as he finished with 166 yards on 22 carries (7.5 yds/att) and a career-high matching three touchdowns. The three touchdowns, one shy of the program's single-game record, give him 15 for his career – good for fourth on the program's career list. Eight different players had rushing attempts for the Skyhawks who racked up 472 total yards of offense, including 180 passing, with a whopping 40:31 time of possession. Stonehill is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since head coach Robert Talley's first season in 2007.
Sophomore Matt Foltz passed for three touchdowns for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Sophomore quarterback Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) was an efficient 15-of-18 passing for 169 yards and three touchdowns, with his first interception of the season that snapped a streak of 74 straight attempts without a pickoff. He also completed his first eight passes of the game. Sophomore Kevin Dick (Tewksbury, Massachusetts/Tewksbury Memorial) caught a career-high five of those passes for a career-best 52 yards.
The Stonehill defense held Pace, who entered the game with the top rushing offense in the NE-10, to just 131 total yards, with 66 on the ground and only 65 through the air, yielding just six first downs on the night. Juniors Andrew Kibarian (Lynnfield, Massachusetts/Lynnfield) and Anthony Leggio (Commack, New York/Saint Anthony's) paced the defensive effort with five tackles apiece. Kibarian had two solo tackles, including 1.5 stops for a loss of five yards, with 0.5 sacks for a loss of four, while Leggio chipped in a solo stop, 2.0 tackles for a loss of eight and 0.5 sacks for a loss of four. Junior defensive end Jon Figura (Reading, Pennsylvania/Blair Academy) chipped in with three stops (two solo), including 2.0 for a loss of four.
Senior defensive back Jamir Gee (Paterson, New Jersey/Monroe College) led Pace with a game-high 185 all-purpose yards as he returned four kickoffs for 155 yards, including a 95-yard return for a touchdown to put the Setters on the scoreboard in the second quarter. He also returned two punts for 30 yards and chipped in with seven tackles (five solo) on defense. Junior Kenneth Reilly (Washington Township, New Jersey/Westwood Regional) led the Pace defense with a game-high 12 tackles (three solo), including 1.0 for a loss of three yards, and 0.5 sacks for a loss of two. Sophomore Matthew Corrie (South Setauket, New York/Ward Melville) added nine stops (three solo).
Junior defensive end Andrew Kibarian paced the defense. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Stonehill scored touchdowns on its first four possessions to stake out a 28-7 halftime lead. Markus scored the first two touchdowns on runs of two and five yards, respectively, in the first quarter before junior fullback Billy Pierce (Caldwell, New Jersey/James Caldwell) hauled in a four yard scoring toss from Foltz 5:15 into the second quarter. The Skyhawks opening touchdown drive went 77 yards on eight plays before Markus dove in from two yards out 5:43 into the game. A bad snap on a Pace punt attempt on its next possession gave the Skyhawks great field position at the Setters 31 and the hosts took five plays before Markus ran it in from five yards.
Gee's 95-yard kickoff return followed Pierce's touchdown catch, but Stonehill responded with an 11-play, 67 yard touchdown drive. Senior tight end Patrick O'Sullivan (Dorchester, Massachusetts/BC High) collected his first career touchdown catch when Foltz hit him in the left flat after scooping up a bad snap with 3:31 to play in the opening half.
Markus added his third touchdown of the afternoon with a 34-yard scamper on the opening drive of the second half. Pace scored its lone offensive touchdown when freshman Nick Fountis (Bellport, New York/Bellport) found classmate Alex Toplyn (Sicklerville, New Jersey/Paul VI) behind the defense for a 25 yard touchdown pass with 7:44 to play in the third quarter. However, Fountis' extra point attempt was blocked and senior Dante Brito, Jr. (New Haven, Connecticut/Hampden Hall Country Day) scooped it up and raced 95 yards for a two point defensive conversion.
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Stonehill extended its lead with touchdowns on its next two possessions to cap the scoring on the night. Foltz connected with sophomore David Harrison (Weymouth, Massachusetts/Weymouth) for a 19-yard touchdown pass at the end of a seven play, 70-yard drive, with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Sophomore Dylan Brown (Tinton Falls, New Jersey/Monmouth Regional) added a one yard touchdown plunge 2:02 into the fourth quarter.
Stonehill (3-0, 2-0 NE-10) is back in action next Saturday when it visits LIU Post, also receiving votes nationally, for an early battle of only two remaining undefeated teams in the NE-10 at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home the following Saturday, October 3, to open a stretch of four out of five games at home when it hosts Southern Connecticut State University for its Purple & White Game at W.B. Mason Stadium at 6 p.m. Pace (1-2, 0-2 NE-10) visits Assumption College next Saturday at 1 p.m.