Kings Point, N.Y. - October 14, 2017 - The Springfield College football team handled Merchant Marine, 35-13, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) showdown on Saturday afternoon.
Springfield, which broke into both the D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Poll at #25 this week, now stands at 7-0, marking just the seventh time in program history that the Pride has rattled off seven-straight wins to begin a season, and the fourth such instance since 2000.
The Pride entered the game with the most potent rushing attack in all of college football and finished the game with 429 yards of total offense, including 353 on the ground. Jordan Wilcox (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) continued to put up impressive numbers as the fullback carried the ball 25 times for 169 yards and a score, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) rushed for 79 yards and two scores, while also completing three passes for 76 yards and two scores. Jakai Whittingham (Meriden, Conn.) had two catches for 54 yards as he found the end zone twice.
As impressive as Springfield's offense was, it was its defense that was dominant in the contest. Christian Zotti (Newington, Conn.) totaled a game-high 11 stops and Nick Giorgio (Cumberland, R.I.) had eight stops, including four for a loss of 23 yards. The Pride held Merchant Marine to just 104 yards of rushing, 290 below their average, had 10 tackles for loss in the contest, and held the Mariners to just 4-of-17 on third down conversions.
Neither team created much offense in the opening half as 11 of the 17 drives in the first two quarters ended in punts. The Mariners got on the board first on at field goal at 3:54 of the first, but the Pride responded on their very next drive when it used just two plays to go 62 yards, including a 41-yard connection from Eglintine to Whittingham that gave Springfield a 7-3 lead at 3:06.
The next five possessions were all three-and-outs before the visitors got the ball at 10:06 of the second quarter and used six plays to go 71 yards for a TD on a four-yard TD by Wilcox to up up 14-3 with 7:55 to play.
The Mariners responded with their second field goal with 1:20 on the clock to make it a 14-6 contest, only to have the Pride answer right back. Springfield benefited from a costly offside penalty against the Mariners on a 4th-and-5 gave, and Whittingham made a great catch on a fade ball for a 13-yard TD pass with just 13 seconds left in the half for the 21-6 lead.
Springfield fumbled on their first two drives of the third quarter, but the Mariners were unable to take advantage and had to punt away both times. The Pride scored on their next two possessions, with Eglintine scampering for a 40-yard rushing touchdown at 2:24 of the third and then again for a 13-yard run at 12:30 of the fourth.
Merchant Marine scored their only touchdown of the game with 4:50 remaining in regulation an the Pride would hang on for the 22-point victory.
Next Saturday will be Homecoming at Springfield College, and the Pride will host Catholic at 12 pm on Stagg Field.
Photo courtesy of Clifford F. Zeman