Despire fourth quarter heroics, UR lost 37-25 in Saturday’s game in Schenectady versus Union College. After three sluggish quarters the Yellowjackets came alive with a pair of touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Pat Manuel to senior receiver Brian Ferris. However, the late strikes weren’t enough to overcome the costly earlier turnovers that have plagued the Yellowjackets the last several games.

“We killed ourselves in that game,” Manuel said. “We outmatched Union physically and talent wise but the turnovers have really been our nemesis the last two games. We squeaked by Hobart and really can’t continue to expect to do well if we continue to turn over the ball so much.”

Manuel, who has assumed a slash position in the UR lineup, entered the game late in the third quarter relieving sophomore quarterback Aaron Molisani. Opening the fourth quarter at UR’s own 20-yard line, Manuel hit senior running back Gerard Hopkins with a spiral good for 16 yards, following it up with 19 yard quarterback keeper that advanced the Yellowjackets past midfield. Manuel continued to splinter the Dutchmen defense, rushing another nine yards before releasing a 26-yard bomb to Hopkins that brought UR within 11 yards of the endzone. The drive was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Manuel to Ferris, set up by a one-yard run by Hopkins. Taking a quick timeout, the Yellowjackets huddled and decided to attempt a two-point conversion, successfully executed by a pass from Manuel to senior receiver Patrick Roman.

The Dutchmen responded in force, platooning running backs Tom Arcidiacono and Sean Washington to power 47 yards through the UR defense and score another touchdown, adding another seven points to their already substantial 27-18 lead built over the first three quarters.

Retaking the field, Manuel connected with Hopkins and sophomore receiver Nathan Gibbons for eight and ten yards respectively for a first down. Manuel then released another salvo into the air with targets intended for Roman and Gibbons but an interference penalty on the Yellowjackets negated the gain and set UR back five yards. Catching Union off guard, Manuel then kept the ball himself while rushing 20 yards before being stopped by Union defender Chris Wood. Within field goal range, Manuel was sacked by the Dutchmen for a six-yard loss and UR penalized another five yards for a delay of game penalty forcing a fourth down with 13 yards to go. Down 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Yellowjackets went for the touchdown but came up short as a pass from Manuel to Roman was broken up by Dutchman Dan Mehleisen.

Hope for victory slipped even further away as the Dutchmen capitalized on UR’s turnover on downs to tack on another three points to their lead with an impressive 43-yard field goal by kicker Cliff Eisenhut.

The Yellowjackets would have the last word though, down 19 points but certainly not out as demonstrated by their final drive, in which the team advanced 98 yards in only four plays and 45 seconds. Manuel completed an 18-yard pass to Hopkins on the first play, followed by a 30-yard quarterback rush on the second. The third play was a 45-yard pass to Roman and the fourth and final offensive play for the Yellowjackets on the afternoon was a five-yard touchdown pass from Manuel to Ferris.

The Yellowjackets were hurt by their frequent turnovers, five on Saturday alone. Capitalizing on UR’s inability to hold onto the ball, the Dutchmen were easily able to outlast their Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association foe, such as an interception by Union returned 33 yards early in the third quarter to extend their lead 27-10.

The Yellowjackets were unable to put any points on the board until the second quarter, when a 25-yard field goal attempt by senior Chris Johnston ended a 7-0 shutout by Union.

Union responded with two field goals of their own, a 40-yard and 31-yard effort that increased the Dutchmen’s lead to 13-3. UR’s first touchdown, a two-yard rush by Hopkins, culminated a nine-play, 71-yard drive that put the visitors within a field goal of tying it up.

The Yellowjackets were sabotaged on their closest chance to taking the lead by turnovers, first by an interception thrown by Molisani and later a fumble that was recovered by Union. Two turnovers in less than two minutes – a development that haunted the Yellowjackets as the Dutchmen began to pull away in the second half. Union scored another touchdown before the end of the first half to send the Yellowjackets into the locker rooms down 20-10. Turnovers beat the Yellowjackets and turnovers forced Kreydt to put in Manuel as a form of damage control. Manuel, who smashed UR school records his freshman year as quarterback, is supportive of his move to wide receiver.

“We help each other out,” said Manuel referring to fellow quarterback Molisani. “As long as I’m able to help out the team I have no problem.”

The Yellowjackets return home to Fauver Stadium next week to take on the University of Chicago Maroons in a University Athletic Association matchup. The Maroons are 1-6 overall after a demoralizing 28-0 loss to Washington University in St. Louis.

Steering their offense in freshman quarterback Phil Marino who completed 16 out of 31 pass attempts for 185 yards against the Washington Bears in his first career start. The Yellowjackets will have to be careful to capitalize on Marino’s inexperience without allowing turnovers to sour what looks to be promising contest.

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