by Jason Pisco

A new-look offense and a stingy defense led the UR football team to a dominating 44-6 victory over St. John Fisher College last Saturday night under the lights at Fauver Stadium.

In the process, the Yellowjackets broke a 43-year-old record for total offense by amassing 595 total yards in front of a mammoth crowd of 4,267 fans.

UR football head coach Mark Kreydt deployed a brand-new shotgun-style offense The team responded quickly, driving all the way to the Cardinals? 11 yard line on the first possession of the game. Only a fumble by junior running back Greg Lozeau stopped them from scoring right off the bat.

But this glitch only gave the UR defense a chance to show their might.

St. John Fisher was forced to punt on its possession after the fumble, and the UR offense had the ball back with a chance to erase the sour taste in their mouth following their first possession.

A five-yard burst up the middle on fourth and three by senior John Breedy giving UR a chance to put the first points on the board. After a few big runs by Lozeau, UR found themselves back on the 11-yard line with a first down.

From the 11, senior quarterback Jeff Piscitelli threw a pass that was deflected half way to his target, senior wide receiver Anthony Yandek.

The veteran WR was able to stick with it to make what appeared to be a great diving TD catch at the goal line after the deflection. However, the referee called the pass incomplete.

UR had no intention of letting this drive end so quietly. Two plays later, Piscitelli rolled to his left, out of the shotgun, and connected with sophomore receiver Patrick Roman at the two-yard line. A nifty spin move around a lunging defender enabled Roman to get into the end zone and put the Yellowjackets on the board.

This would be the first of three TD passes for Piscitelli, who had a monster night for UR. He passed for 280 yards and ran for 86 more, including one rushing TD of his own.

The new shotgun offense appears to be a perfect fit for him because of his awesome running skills and his ability to throw on the move.

?It?s a scheme that fits Piscitelli?s abilities well,? Kreydt said.

UR made frequent use of QB keepers and rollout passes, allowing Piscitelli to use his entire repertoire to bury Fisher. His success also allowed for increased confidence in the running game.

?Piscitelli?s maturity and his knowledge of the offense helps him to run it successfully,? Lozeau said.

?He has the ability not only topass and run the ball, but also the knowledge to change plays at the line so the offense is always running the right play. This is what helped the running backs have such a great game,? he continued.

Lozeau helped UR run for a total of 315 yards on the ground.

The three-man rotation of running backs Lozeau, Breedy and Gerard Hopkins proved to be a formidable force for UR throughout the game.

A 33-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Chris Johnston and a pretty 14-yard TD scamper around the right end by Hopkins increased the Rochester lead to 17-0.

The Cardinals responded on their next drive, scoring a touchdown on a goal-line burst from two yards out by tailback Jason Meyers, but their inability to convert the point after touchdown left them with only six points.

A miscommunication between Piscitelli and Lozeau on a play-action exchange led to a fumble, recovered by the Cardinals. UR dodged a bullet in the possession.

The Yellowjackets? defense didn?t let its opponent capitalize on the turnover, forcing a fourth and 11 situation in UR?s territory.

St. John Fisher?s QB Dave Blahowitz tried for the end zone on the fourth down play, but good coverage by senior cornerback Matt Blenner denied their attempt to wipe out more of the deficit.

Despite the action, UR?s offense wasn?t done for the half just yet. With under two minutes remaining, the men drove down to the St. John Fisher 19. Piscitelli threw a pass on the run into the end zone to a leaping Roman for their second TD connection of the night. The extra point gave UR a 24-6 advantage at the break.

The UR defense came out with a vengeance in the third quarter. Junior tackle Jon Van Valkenburg and senior Matt Pugh each had sacks on the opening drive of the half, forcing a quick three-and-out.

UR started their first possession of the quarter with excellent field position, on its own 46. A 28-yard gain on an end around by Yandek to the Cardinals? 33 set up the fourth TD of the game for the Yellowjackets. Junior tailback John Breedy accepted a screen pass from Piscitelli and weaved his way into the promised land, extending the lead to 31-6 going into the final quarter.The fourth period provided the same results for UR. Hopkins scored on a 15-yard trap play out of the shotgun for his second TD of the evening. Piscitelli then added 6 more points to the score later in the quarter on a 16-yard keeper made possible by a fumble recovery by the UR defense at midfield. A blocked extra pont kept the score at 44-6 until the end of the game.

Next week, UR will take on a tough Johns Hopkins University team at Fauver Stadium. It will be their first meeting on the gridiron, but the Yellowjackets seem confident.

?Johns Hopkins? defense is new to us because the university has never played them before,? Lozeau said. ?They will also be tougher than Fisher because they will be ready for the shotgun no-huddle approach that we have this year.

Our offensehad a very successful game against Fisher but have a lot of improvements to make,? he continued. ?As long as we work hard to fix the problems we had in the last game, we can be successful against Johns Hopkins,? Lozeau added.

If UR can dominate on both sides of the ball like they did Saturday, the season should be excellent for the men in blue and yellow.

Jason Pisco can be reached at jpisco@campustimes.org.



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