AU Press Releases
AU hammers Rochester to remain unbeaten
ALFRED, NY — Big plays on defense and special team helped the Alfred University football team remain unbeaten with a 51-14 victory over visiting Rochester Saturday afternoon at Merrill Field.
With a win in either of its final two games -- against Empire 8 foes Ithaca next Saturday and Utica Nov. 14 -- Alfred would clinch a share of the Empire 8 title and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championship tournament. Wins in both games would give Alfred the title outright and the team's first undefeated regular season since the 1981 squad went 10-0 en route to the Saxons' only NCAA appearance.
On Saturday, the Saxons (7-0, 3-0 Empire 8) grabbed a 7-0 lead 1:31 into the contest, before their offense even took the field. After forcing a Rochester three-and-out on the Yellowjackets’ opening possession, sophomore cornerback Roland O’Brien (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls) fielded a punt at the Rochester 37-yard line and ran untouched into the endzone. It was the second special teams score in as many games for O’Brien, who scored on a fumbled punt at St. John Fisher last weekend.
Two possessions later, Alfred senior tailback Vinson Hendrix (Rochester, NY/East) scored on a 60-yard run on second-and-six to put the Saxons on top, 14-0, with 7:02 left in the opening frame.
The game pitted two of the top rushers in Division III in Hendrix (fifth in the country coming in with 147.5 yards per game) and Rochester tailback Clarence Onyiriuka (seventh in the nation, 133.4 per game). Hendrix finished with 129 yards on just 15 carries, marking the sixth time in seven games he’s rushed for more than 100 yards. Onyiriuka was held to 92 yards on 30 carries, snapping a string of six games he’d rushed for 100 or more yards.
Alfred won despite fumbling three times and turning the ball over on downs after a failed fake punt deep in their own territory. While only one AU miscue resulted in a Rochester score, the AU defense forced four Yellowjacket turnovers, which led to two AU touchdowns.
The Saxons forced a punt on Rochester’s fourth possession, but fumbled the return, giving the Yellowjackets the ball at Alfred’s 36-yard line with 3:40 left in the first. Four plays later, on fourth-and-five from the AU 31, Rochester quarterback Braezen Subick was intercepted at the Saxon 2-yard line by AU senior safety/wide receiver Jared Manzer (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City), who weaved his way down the field for the score and a 21-0 AU lead with 1:54 left in the opening period. The 98-yard interception return set a new AU record, breaking the record of 97 yards set in 1922.
Alfred went up 23-0 when junior linebacker Chad Pieri (LeRoy, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) tackled Onyiriuka in the Rochester endzone for a safety 24 seconds into the second quarter. The safety came after a 38-yard punt by senior Pete Marley (Warsaw, NY/Warsaw) pinned the Yellowjackets at their own 1-yard line.
Onyiriuka got Rochester on the board with a five-yard run at 9:49 of the second, capping a two-play drive after the failed fake AU punt gave his team the ball at Alfred’s 10-yard line. The Saxons answered on their ensuing possession, driving 78 yards in 12 plays, with sophomore linebacker Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood) plowing in from a yard out with 3:22 left in the half, giving the Saxons a 30-7 lead going into intermission.
A pair of touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback T.J. Kilcarr (Nanuet, NY/Clarkstown South) to Manzer in the third quarter put the Saxons up 44-7. Kilcarr, playing in place of injured sophomore starter Tom Secky (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove), completed 14 of 22 passes for 173 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. Manzer finished with a game-high six catches for 75 yards and two scores and for the game had 230 all-purpose yards.
Onyiriuka’s second touchdown, with 11:55 left in the game, capped a 13-play 52-yard drive to make it 44-14. AU freshman cornerback Andre McCloud (Bath, NY/Haverling) closed out the scoring with a 55-yard return of a Patrick Keegan interception with 6:15 left. All told, Alfred scored on four plays of at least 37 yards.
The Saxon defense was strong, holding the Yellowjackets to 176 yards offense, including only 60 yards passing (seven through the first three quarters). Clark finished with a game-high nine tackles (one for loss, a half-sack) and had an interception. Pieri had eight tackles (1.5 for loss) and sophomore safety Alec Currier (Peru, NY/Peru) had seven. Senior linebacker Marc Mangovski (Kirkville, NY/East Syracuse-Minoa) had five tackles and an interception.
Linebackers Trenton Tully (fumble recovery) and Ed Dauphin (forced fumble) led Rochester’s defense with nine tackles each. Strong safety Andrew Kryszak had six tackles, including a sack.
Alfred rushed for 243 yards in the contest, with freshmen tailbacks Chris Lopez (Rochester, NY/Pittsford Sutherland) and Rich Rossi (Oneida, NY/Oneida) running for 61 and 53 yards, respectively, in relief of Hendrix. Junior wideout Ryan Thon (Victor, NY/Victor) had three catches for 50 yards and junior tight end D.J. Loughlin-Pope (Corning, NY/Corning East) caught two passes for 30 yards.
Wide receiver Adam Barrett caught three passes for 30 yards for Rochester. Subick threw for seven yards and two interceptions before being replaced by Keegan, who completed seven of 17 attempts for 53 yards and two INTs.
Kickoff for the Alfred game at Ithaca is 1 p.m. Rochester travels to St. Lawrence next Saturday for a 1 p.m. Liberty League matchup.