Running Game Propels Statesmen
Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013
For the second time in as many games, the No. 8 Hobart College football team ran for over 300 yards, improving to 2-0 with a 34-21 homecoming win over Utica College. Senior running back Steven Webb produced the 10th 100-yard rushing game of his career and fourth in a row with 150 yards and two touchdowns against the Pioneers.
Despite running 25 fewer plays and having a four-minute deficit in time of possession, Hobart still outgained the visitors 398-381. The Statesmen rushed for 329 yards, averaging 8.0 yards per carry, the highest average by a Hobart team in more than a decade.
The Statesmen also got a 100-yard game from sophomore running back Conner Hartigan, who finished the day with 119 yards and a TD. It's the first time Hobart has had two 100-yard rushers in a game since Oct. 23, 2004 (Jack Holleran 169, Ty Godinho 105). Junior quarterback Patrick Conlan was 9-of-16 for 69 yards with two touchdowns. He was also picked off twice. Webb caught a team-high three passes for 14 yards.
The Hobart defense got a game-high 14-tackle performance from senior linebacker Cory Davis as well as 10 tackles from junior cornerback Fajri Jackson. Junior linebacker Nolan Toran forced a pair of Utica fumbles, recovered one, and had a 21-yard interception return to go with five tackles.
For Utica (2-1), Jake Larson rushed for 111 yards and two TDs. Junior quarterback Connor Butkiewicz was 26-of-44 for 235 yards and a touchdown with one interception. His favorite target was junior Anthony Acevedo, who pulled in a game-high 11 passes for 133 yards.
The Pioneer defense was led by Joe Giametta's 11 tackles. Senior linebacker Ryan Hansen added nine stops, including 1.5 for loss.
Utica controlled the opening quarter, taking a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard scoring run by Larson that capped off a 13-play, 66-yard drive.
Hobart got on the board with the first play of the second quarter. Conlan hit junior tight end Mike Berkowitz on an 8-yard scoring play to complete a 2-play drive that covered 28 yards. The short field was set up by senior Devin Worthington, who blocked a Pioneer punt deep.
The defense gave the Statesmen another short field to work with when Toran stripped Larson at the Utica 39. Six plays later, Webb scampered in from 2-yards out for a 14-7 lead.
Utica was forced to punt on its ensuing possession, and Dakota Peel's 56-yard boot, pinned Hobart back at its own 11. The Statesmen handed the ball to Hartigan on first down and he raced 89 yards to the end zone or a 21-7 lead that Hobart carried into the locker room at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, the Statesmen made it 28 unanswered points with another 1-play scoring drive. This time Webb broke free for 56 yards and his fifth touchdown of the season. He now has 38 career touchdowns, nine shy of the Hobart record.
Utica's offense got back on track with an extended scoring drive that got a boost from three pass interference penalties against the Statesmen. Larson plunged in from the 1 to cap a 10-play, 74-yard march. The extra point was no good, leaving the Pioneers in a 28-13 hole heading into the fourth quarter.
With 8:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, Conlan threw his second TD pass, this one from 18-yards out to junior wideout Elvin Souffrant. The extra point was no good making it a 34-13 Hobart lead.
Utica answered with a 12-play, 74-yard drive that Butkiewicz finished off with a 9-yard throw to senior Jamie Murphy to make it a 34-21 game.
Hobart used its ground game to run the final 3:50 off the clock to secure its ninth straight home victory.
The Statesmen will open Liberty League play on Saturday, Sept. 28, when they visit Merchant Marine. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.