Springfield, Mass. - September 2, 2017 - The Springfield College football erupted for 28 points in the third quarter and never looked back as it stormed past Western New England, 35-21, in front of over 5,000 fans at Golden Bear Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday's game proved to be the fifth installment of the rivalry of the Pynchon SAW Game, which is derived from city founder William Pynchon and the acronym of "SAW" is for the first initial of both schools, Springfield And Western New England. Springfield handed Western New England its first regular-season loss in 22 games and marked the Golden Bears first loss at home since October 26, 2013, a span of 17 home contests. This is the second time in the last three seasons that Springfield has knocked off a nationally-ranked team, as WNE was 24th in the latest D3Football.com poll.
Senior fullback Jordan Wilcox (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) fueled Springfield's rushing attack, carrying the ball 30 times for 148 yards, while senior quarterback Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, sophomore Hunter Belzo (Middletown, Conn.) added 99 yards on the ground, averaging 11 yards per carry. Defensively, junior defensive end Nick Giorgio (Cumberland, R.I.) posted six tackles to lead the way, including 1.5 sacks.
Springfield outgained Western New England 531-305 and racked up 435 yards on the ground as it dominated the time of possession by having the ball for over 40 minutes in the contest. The Pride racked up 28 first downs and went 12-for-21 on third-down conversions.
Springfield drove all the way to Western New England's four-yard line on the Pride's first possession of the contest, but a pair of penalties pushed the visitors back to the 24-yard line and the Pride came up empty on a 32-yard field goal attempt as they were unable to dent the scoreboard first.
Western New England's ensuing possession resulted in seven points, as Anthony Service connected with Justin Townsend out of the backfield and Townsend raced 64 yards down the sideline for the game's first touchdown. The Golden Bears got the ball back late in the first quarter and put together a six-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in Service lofting a pass to Laron Gunderway in the middle of the field for a 22-yard touchdown.
Springfield, which trailed 14-0 at halftime, got on the board early in the third quarter when Eglintine capped a 12-play, 72-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle. The Pride's defense quickly forced a three-and-out on Western New England's ensuing possession, and two plays into Springfield's drive, Belzo took an option pitch 49 yards down the right sideline to tie the score at 14-14.
However, Western New England answered right back at the 6:41 mark of the third quarter, as Jared Wolfe snagged a 28-yard touchdown. Springfield pulled even for the second time on a one-yard plunge by Eglintine with 4:25 remaining in the third, before taking its first lead with 1:28 on the clock when the senior quarterback broke free up the middle for a 79-yard touchdown run.
After Western New England's next drive resulted in a punt, Springfield got the ball back and manufactured an 18-play, 75-yard possession that lasted over nine minutes. The Pride drove all the way to the Western New England one-yard line, but Eglintine was stuffed by on fourth down as the Golden Bears regained possession.
On the first play of Western New England's drive, however, Springfield senior linebacker Christian Zotti (Newington, Conn.) forced a fumble and recovered it in the end zone to give the Pride a 35-21 cushion with 4:14 to play. The defense then sealed the win for the Pride when junior defensive back Marlowe Scott (Dorchester, Mass.) intercepted Service with just under three minutes remaining, and Springfield was able to run out the remainder of the clock to secure the win.
Springfield will play its first home game of the 2017 season next Saturday when it hosts Kean University in a non-conference game at 12 pm on Stagg Field.