Service accounts for 223 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in second half and OT
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 30, 2017) – The Western New England University football team overcame a late two-touchdown deficit for the second consecutive week, this time rallying to defeat St. Lawrence University 27-24 in an overtime thriller on Saturday afternoon in non-conference action at Golden Bear Stadium.
• After being held to just 81 combined yards (75 passing, six rushing) and no touchdowns in the first half, senior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) led Western New England's second half comeback. Over the final 30 minutes of regulation and in overtime, Service accounted for 223 yards (105 rushing, 118 passing) and three scores, finishing his day with 304 yards of total offense (193 passing, 111 rushing).
• Service connected with eight different receivers, including junior Jared Wolfe (Seaford, N.Y.) and freshman Steven Fedorchak (Guilderland, N.Y.), who caught three passes each for 32 and 30 yards, respectively. Wolfe's third reception, an 11-yard touchdown catch in overtime, proved to be the difference in the contest.
• Junior linebacker Mike Chirco (Weedsport, N.Y.) was Western New England's leading tackler with a team-high 17 stops (six solo, 1.5 for loss).
• Senior safety Sam Olsson (Milford, Conn.) recorded nine tackles, two pass breakups and an interception that he returned 38 yards.
• St. Lawrence senior quarterback Sean Richardson (East Syracuse, N.Y.) completed 18-of-30 pass attempts for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
• Junior running back Rodrick Payne (Buffalo, N.Y.) carried the ball 31 times for 98 yards, while junior wide receiver Travis Marnell (Highland, N.Y.) caught five passes for 120 yards.
• Defensively, senior lineman Ryan Byrne (Buffalo, N.Y.) led the Saints with a team-high 17 tackles (2.5 for loss), and senior linebacker Skyler Williamson (Canton, Conn.) added 11 stops, including one sack.
• After a scoreless first quarter, St. Lawrence took a 7-0 lead at the 9:10 mark of the second period when Richardson capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Cameron Edwards (Norwich, N.Y.).
• Western New England tied the game at 7-7 later in the quarter, as Olsson picked Richardson off at the St. Lawrence 40-yard line and returned the ball all the way to the Saints' two. Two plays later, sophomore running back Peter Hoff (Shelton, Conn.) plunged into the end zone for his third touchdown of the season with 4:44 on the clock.
• The Saints regained the lead on their next possession, however, as Richardson completed a 42-yard pass to Marnell and a 15-yard toss to Edwards, before scrambling and finding senior wide receiver Vincenzo Ferraro (Greenwich, Conn.) in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown three plays later.
• St. Lawrence, which held a 14-7 advantage at halftime, took a 21-7 lead with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter when Richardson connected with Ferraro again, this time for a nine-yard score.
• After their next two drives resulted in three-and-outs, the Golden Bears got the ball back at their own four-yard line with 10:11 remaining in regulation and still trailing by two touchdowns. Service found sophomore tight end Josh Henry (Wilbraham, Mass.) for a 37-yard gain on the first play of the possession, but he was sacked for an eight-yard loss two plays later. A St. Lawrence pass interference penalty helped keep Western New England's drive alive, and three plays later Service ran up the middle and broke free for a 45-yard touchdown.
• The Western New England defense forced punts on each of St. Lawrence's next two possessions, giving the Golden Bears an opportunity to tie the contest late in regulation. They did just that, as Service engineered a nine-play, 85-yard scoring drive that culminated in a six-yard touchdown run by the senior signal caller on third-and-five with 53 seconds remaining.
• The Golden Bears won the coin toss in overtime and elected to defend first, giving St. Lawrence the first possession of the extra period. The Western New England defense came through again, forcing a field goal try by the Saints, which senior Daly Hebert (Darien, Conn.) converted from 30 yards.
• With the Golden Bears facing a fourth-and-one on their ensuing possession, Service found a hole up the middle and picked up a first down with a five-yard gain. Two plays later on second-and-ten, Service rolled out of the pocket towards the sideline and hit Wolfe in stride for the game-winning 11-yard touchdown.
• Western New England outgained St. Lawrence 190-56 in the fourth quarter and outscored the Saints 14-0.
• Saturday's contest served as the first ever meeting between the Golden Bears and Saints, and marked Western New England's first overtime game since a 7-0 loss to Curry College on November 1, 2014.
• With his touchdown pass today, Service (34) is now one shy of matching Tyler Ward (35) for second on the program's all-time list. The senior has accounted for 12 touchdowns this season (nine passing, three rushing) while turning the ball over just once.
With its non-conference schedule complete, Western New England will be off next weekend before returning home to host Endicott College in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) opener for both schools on Saturday, October 14. St. Lawrence (1-3) resumes Liberty League play next Saturday at Union.