As is often the case with football games, the Homecoming competition between UR and Hobart College is a tale of two halves. The first half is the story is of a talented team playing near the apex of their potential. Its sequel is a tale in which, in the words of head coach Mark Kreydt, “not much went right.”
Even with a season high crowd cheering them on, the Yellowjackets were unable to keep up with Hobart, falling 59-21 to the undefeated Statesmen. Although UR started off well and even led Hobart throughout the first quarter, the Statesmen were able to recover with an offensive surge that proved too much for the young Yellowjackets.
It was dj vu all over again, as the Yellowjackets opened for a second consecutive week with a big kickoff return followed by a touchdown. Junior defensive back Kasim Howell returned Eric Ampuja’s kick 47 yards into Hobart territory. From there, it only took three plays for the Yellowjackets to reach the end zone. Junior running back Gerald Hopkins scurried 12 yards for a first down. Freshman quarterback Pat Manuel then hit junior wide receiver Brian Ferris for a 16 yard gain, quickly followed by another spiral to Ferris that netted 18 yards and a UR touchdown. Junior kicker, Chris Johnston kicked the PAT as the Yellowjackets jumped ahead 7-0.
In another turn of events eerily similar to the previous week’s loss against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Yellowjackets quickly recovered possession of the ball, jumping on a first play fumble by Hobart. Another 18-yard pass from Manuel to Ferris gave UR excellent field position to work with, but the Statesmen defense stifled the Yellowjacket running game, containing senior tailback John Breedy to only 10 yards in four plays. Unable to reach the end zone, Johnston attempted a 27-yard field goal that was wide to the right, scoring no points.
From their own 20-yard line, Hobart distanced themselves from danger as quarterback Craig Swanson completed a pass to Dan Suozzi that advanced Hobart 58 yards before being brought down by UR junior defensive back, Isaac Standish. The Yellowjacket defense was able to contain any further gains, forcing Hobart to settle with a 37-yard field goal, putting Hobart on the board 7-3.
UR responded with a nine play, 80-yard drive that successfully alternated passes and runs to keep the Statesmen on their toes. The drive was capped by a 21-yard pass from Manuel to Ferris putting UR on Hobart’s 30-yard line. Ferris had his second touchdown catch of the day, this one for 15 yards, to put the finishing touches on a drive increasing UR’s lead to 14-3.
Keeping with the game’s mirror image motif, Swanson completed a 56-yard pass to Suozzi. Swanson then threw a short touchdown pass to Rick Spidalieri. Ambuja’s PAT was good, making the score 14-10.
Hobart eclipsed UR early in the second quarter with a one yard quarterback keeper putting the Statesmen ahead 17-14. They would not relinquish this lead for the remainder of the game. The lead was soon inflated to 24-14 thanks to another Swanson TD pass. UR’s last hurrah came late in the second quarter when Manuel threw a 51-yard bomb to Ferris for his third touchdown of the day. As the first story ended, UR was only a mere three points behind the powerful Statesmen.
The second part of the tale is not nearly as interesting, as Hobart responded to halftime with an offensive surge that dashed any Yellowjacket hope of recovery. Hobart runningback Ty Godinho rushed 7 yards for a touchdown, followed several moments later by a 3-yard TD pass from Swanson to Jeremy Archer. Hobart’s last two touchdowns were a 59-yard pass to Pirozzolo and a 30-yard run by Godinho to make the final score 59-21.
“We proved that we can play with a very good team, as seen by the first half. Now we have to prove that we can sustain that level of play for the entire game,” Kreydt said. “I feel good about our kids and how we are going to respond together and make things happen. The bottom line is that we’ve got to find a way to beat good people and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” The Yellowjackets will have another opportunity to beat a high quality team as they will battle Union College at 2 p.m. Saturday at Fauver Stadium.
Schloss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.