Southern Connecticut State Turns Over Football, 28-17

Junior linebacker Ryan Doherty posted a career-high 14 tackles, 3.0 for a loss and 1.5 sacks with a forced fumble. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Bynum leads Owls defense that forces five turnovers, seven sacks

BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Stonehill handed first loss by Southern Connecticut"

EASTON, Mass. (October 3, 2015) – Southern Connecticut State University took advantage of five turnovers to claim a 28-17 victory over Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium tonight.

Junior linebacker Kayjuan Bynum (Springfield, Massachusetts/Putnam) led a Southern Connecticut State University defense that forced five turnovers, including four fumbles, with seven sacks as it limited Stonehill to 238 total yards, including 21 rushing, for its first win of the season. Bynum finished with a team-high seven tackles (five solo), including 4.0 for a loss of 24 yards, with 3.5 sacks for a loss of 21, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and pass breakup. Freshman Brendon Pelzer (Cambria Heights, New York/Holy Cross) added six stops (two solo), including 1.5 for a loss of seven yards and a fumble recovery.

Freshman quarterback Robert Nittolo (Hillsborough, New Jersey/Hillsborough) paced the Southern offense with 221 total yards, completing 17-of-26 passes for 193 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also carried the ball 13 times for another 28 yards. Junior Devante Jenkins (Carson, California/North Torrance) caught seven passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns for the Owls, while sophomore Austin Jones (Hartsdale, New York/Iona Prep) and freshman Seimou Smith (Concord, New Hampshire/Concord) each added touchdown receptions.

Senior Gordon McLeod caught his 13th career touchdown pass tonight. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Senior running backs John Moscatel (Lexington, Massachusetts/Lexington) and Robert Thomas (Brooklyn, New York/Fort Hamilton) combined for 138 rushing yards for Southern. Moscatel had 71 yards on 24 carries, while Thomas added 67 yards on 16 attempts. The Owls finished with 359 total yards, scoring two first quarter touchdowns off Stonehill fumbles.

Junior Ryan Doherty (Methuen, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) and sophomore Nick Bona (Peabody, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) led Stonehill with career-highs of 14 tackles each. Doherty had one solo tackle, 3.0 stops for a loss of nine yards, including 1.5 sacks for a loss of seven, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Bona had a career-high eight solo tackles, with 1.5 stops for a loss of three yards.

Senior Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Massachusetts/BC High) led the Stonehill offense with six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) completed 18-of-40 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown, while adding another score on the ground, with an interception and four fumbles (three lost).

Stonehill struck first with a 34-yard field goal from senior Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, New Hampshire/Manchester Central) at the end of the opening drive of the game. Grzywacz finished the game with five points, moving him within seven points of Eddie Vachon's '11 career scoring record of 204 points.

Stonehill forced a fumble three plays into Southern Connecticut's opening possession, as Doherty stripped the ball from Nittolo and recovered the fumble at the Owls 36. However, Bynum forced a Foltz fumble two plays later and then the Owls scored their first touchdown ten plays after that, following a 64-yard drive. Nittolo connected with Jones for a 22-yard touchdown after converting twice on third down, including an eight yard run on third and six two plays before the touchdown pass.

Sophomore Nick Bona added a career-best 14 stops (eight solo). PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Southern Connecticut would go on to score on three straight possessions in all to take a 21-3 lead less than five minutes into the second quarter. Nittolo hit Jenkins for a 31-yard touchdown pass one play after Bynum forced a Foltz fumble three plays after its opening score with 1:43 left in the first quarter. Nittolo found Jenkins for a one yard touchdown toss at the end of a ten play, 84-yard drive 4:07 into the second quarter.

Stonehill gained some momentum heading into halftime with a quick 58-yard touchdown drive capped by a 17 yard McLeod touchdown reception from Foltz with 16-seconds remaining in the half. However, the Skyhawks went three and out on their first two possessions of the second half.

Southern Connecticut had great field position after a punt on the Stonehill 27 after a facemask penalty on a Skyhawks punt to midfield. The Owls extended their lead to 28-10 five plays later with a Nittolo 12 yard touchdown pass to Smith with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter. The Owls converted a key third and nine from the Skyhawks 26 with a ten yard pass to sophomore Shaquan Hall (Newark, New Jersey/Newark).

Stonehill answered just before the end of the quarter when Foltz closed out a six play, 51-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run two plays after a penalty negated an earlier touchdown pass. The Skyhawks had three possessions in the fourth quarter to draw closer, but couldn't get back in the end zone. Foltz was intercepted in the end zone by junior Geovonnie O'Gilvie (Bergenfield, New Jersey/Bergenfield) with 3:22 to play to seal the win.

Stonehill, which was converting at nearly 50-percent on third downs entering the game, was held to 1-for-12 tonight and had possession for just 23:12 after leading the NE-10 in possession time at over 36-minutes coming in.

Stonehill (4-1, 3-1 NE-10) is right back in action here at W.B. Mason Stadium next Saturday when it hosts American International College for a key NE-10 clash at 1 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (1-4, 1-3 NE-10) hosts Pace University next Saturday at noon.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook.

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