The football team participated in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Northwest Bowl game against Alfred University on Saturday, Nov. 17. The game was a repeat match-up, as UR took on Alfred in the same bowl game last year. Unfortunately for the ‘Jackets, the result was the same. The Saxons came away from the game with the win, 49-14.

Alfred put the first points on the scoreboard a little over five minutes into the first quarter, capping off a seven-play, 39-yard drive with a touchdown to take the lead, 7-0.

This remained the score for more than 15 minutes. UR was finally able to make a response to the Saxons’ score with 9:38 left in the second quarter. At the end of a 10-play, 72-yard drive, senior running back Matt Bielecki went on an eight-yard run for a touchdown. Sophomore kicker Griffin Moar’s successful extra point tied the score at 7-7.

This knotting did not last long, however, as Alfred turned the ensuing kickoff into a six-play, 68-yard drive that ended in a one-yard touchdown run. The ‘Jackets were unable to compose themselves and fumbled the kickoff return, quickly giving the ball back to Alfred at its own 47-yard line. In three short plays, they took a 21-7 lead.

UR could not get a handle on the game after this turnover. Alfred was able to score yet again before halftime. With just 52 seconds left in the second quarter, the Saxons essentially put the game out of reach for the Yellowjackets. Capitalizing on an interception at their own 48-yard line, Alfred drove down the field in eight plays to make the score 28-7 going into the locker room.

In the third quarter, the ‘Jackets were able to hold the Saxons to just one touchdown, but, unfortunately, they were unable to come up with any points of their own, further widening the gap to 35-7.

In the fourth, the Saxons scored twice more before UR was able to redeem a little dignity with a final touchdown. Alfred scored less than two minutes into the quarter on a five-play, 49-yard drive and again with approximately nine minutes left in the game on a four-play, 66-yard drive.

The Yellowjackets created a little excitement at the end of the game when senior defensive back Tim Hamilton blocked a punt with just under two minutes left and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, bringing the game to its final score of 49-14.

Despite their disappointing performance on the field, the ‘Jackets still put up impressive numbers. Bielecki had 20 carries for 64 yards, and freshman running back Clarence Onyiriuka rushed 10 times for 24 yards. Senior wide receiver Jay Jay Vanderstyne made 10 catches during the game for a total of 133 yards.

Sophomore quarterback Adam Barrett made 17 complete passes in 33 attempts for 195 yards with just one interception. He was replaced by freshman Patrick Keegan, who was three of six for 15 yards.

On the defensive end, junior defensive back Matt Stack had 12 tackles and senior inside linebacker Joe Galantini had 10.

The ‘Jackets finished off the season with a record of 6-5. They will face off against Alfred in their regular season next year, when the Saxons come to UR in November.

For Bielecki’s achievements this season, he was chosen as an alternate for the Aztec Bowl, the All-Star football game for Division III players. If one of the four chosen players cannot attend the game, Bielecki will be able to play in the game, held in Chihuahua, Mexico on Dec. 8. There is a good chance that this will happen, as one of the four chosen is playing in the NCAA quarterfinals. If the chosen player’s team wins this game, then that player will not be able to participate in the Aztec Bowl and Bielecki will take his place.

If Bielecki does make it into the game, he will leave on Sunday, Dec. 2 and go to Mexico to prepare for the game for a week. The All-Star team will face off against Mexican college football players in a tradition that has played out 36 times since 1947.

Bielecki, who missed two games mid-season due to injury, ended the year with 1,160 yards rushing over nine games, giving him an average of nearly 129 yards per game and ranking 15th nationally in rushing yards per game. In these rushes, he scored 12 touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 61 yards and two more TDs. With a two-point conversion run, he finished the season with 86 points.

Bielecki currently holds the UR record in multiple offensive categories. He is the career leader in rushing yardage with 4,301, rushing attempts with 886, total touchdowns with 43, total points with 264 and rushing yards per game with 107.5. He is also the only player at UR to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

Even if he does not get to play in the game, this honor is a great way to end Bielecki’s collegiate football career.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.



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