UR Football couldn’t stop the run and underwhelmed on offense in a 45–7 loss at Alfred State. Rochester fell to 1–2 , while the host Saxons, ranked 17th in Division III, improved to 3–0.
Alfred got off to a quick start, forcing an early Rochester punt and then driving down the field for a 15-yard rushing touchdown. The ‘Jackets got back into Saxons’ territory, but a false start on fourth down led to a turnover on downs. However, the ‘Jackets defense forced a three-and-out thanks to a strong tackle by senior defensive end Adam Schempp.
On the next drive, the ‘Jackets found themselves in the red zone following a 22-yard completion by Matt Gallagher to tight end Daniel DiLoreto. Gallagher couldn’t seal the deal, though, and incompletions led to another turnover on downs at the 16-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, Saxons running back Nasir Smith broke free for a 72-yard rushing touchdown, widening their lead to 14–0. It seemed that the ‘Jackets never recovered from the impact of their missed red zone opportunity and the big play by Smith.
The ‘Jackets remained unable to stop Alfred’s relentless ground attack, giving up two more touchdowns, including a 49-yard rushing touchdown by Maleke Fuentes. When the ‘Jackets finally got on the board thanks to a hard-fought 6-yard touchdown pass to Daniel DiLoreto, they were still down 28–7.
In the fourth quarter, the Saxons increased their lead and the ‘Jackets were unable to score. Rochester gave up 17 points in the fourth, and put in backup quarterback Josh Brown on their last offensive drive.
The game exposed Rochester’s defensive inability to effectively stop the run. The Alfred ground game rushed for an unbelievable 423 yards and five touchdowns. They were led by Fuentes, who had 185 yards and two touchdowns, and Nasir Smith, who had 138 yards and a touchdown. Although the ‘Jackets only gave up 85 passing yards, the Saxons focused on capitalizing on their successful run game.
However, the ‘Jackets did have some statistical success on offense. Quarterback Matt Gallagher set the UR record for single-game completions, going 30 for 43 with 248 passing yards and a touchdown. He spread the ball around, completing a pass to eight different receivers. However, the ‘Jackets were less effective in the run game, with only 87 rushing yards.
Despite the exciting win last week against the Alfred State Pioneers, UR has suffered two huge losses on the road this season. The offense has scored just 11.7 points per game so far, and the defense has allowed 31.3 points per game. Next week they’ll look to redeem themselves at winless Becker College in Worcester, Mass.