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Turnovers doom Saxons in loss to St. John Fisher
10/01/11

PITTSFORD, NY - Turnovers were the story of the game as Alfred University dropped a 17-3 decision to host St. John Fisher in a key Empire 8 Conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Growney Stadium.

The Saxons, ranked 10th in the American Football Coaches Association poll and 14th in the D3football.com poll, turned the ball over six times. Four times the miscues occurred in Fisher territory and denied the Saxons solid scoring opportunities, while Fisher scored all its points off three AU miscues. With the loss, AU falls to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Empire 8; Fisher improves to 3-1 in winning its first E8 game of the season.

Alfred lost despite holding a sizeable 36-minute to 24-minute advantage in time of possession while outgaining the Cardinals 274-215 and posting 16 first downs to 12 for Fisher. It was turnovers - Alfred had six and Fisher only two - that made the difference.

Miscues played a role early as Fisher fumbled on its opening possession of the game and the Saxons recovered at the Cardinal 29. But on a second-and-6, AU senior quarterback Tom Secky (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove) was intercepted at the Fisher 5-yard line by Adam Burdick, who returned the ball 52 yards to the AU 43-yard line.

Fisher didn’t score, but Alfred turned the ball over on downs on its next two possessions, both in Fisher territory. Fisher scored the only points of the first half on Chad Monheim’s 42-yard field goal with 10:32 left in the second quarter. The Saxons turned the ball over on their ensuing possession when senior backup quarterback T.J. Kilcarr (Nanuet, NY/Clarkstown South) fumbled on a running play at the AU 41-yard line. Fisher didn’t capitalize, and the teams exchanged punts before Secky tossed his second interception of the game, this time by Brendan Moore at the Cardinal 38-yard line with under a minute left in the half. Fisher drove to the AU 27 before Manheim missed a 44-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired.

AU scored on its opening possession of the second half, as senior placekicker Eric Rockwood (Allegany, NY/Allegany-Limestone) nailed a 41-yard field goal 4:32 into the third to cap a seven-play 31-yard drive.

After forcing a turnover on Fisher’s next possession, Alfred gave the ball right back deep in Cardinal territory. Junior free safety Jon Jackson (Amherst, NY/Bishop-Timon-St. Jude) intercepted Fisher’s Ryan Kramer at the Alfred 10 and the Saxons began the drive at their own 29. AU drove to the Fisher 25 but Secky fumbled on first-and-10 and Fisher’s Mason Judd recovered at the Cardinal 14 with 5:29 left in the third.

AU punted on its next two possessions, with the second giving the Cardinals possession at the Alfred 27-yard line. Three plays later, Kramer tossed a 25-yard TD pass to Ryan Schmidt at Fisher led 10-3 with 1:02 left in the third.

AU started its ensuing drive at its own 7-yard line and three plays later, Secky was intercepted at the Saxon 20 by Wade Kline, who returned the ball to the Alfred 16. Four plays later, Kramer found Nathan Nigolian for a five-yard TD pass and Fisher led 17-3 with 13:35 left in the game. On its next possession, AU marched deep into Fisher territory, with junior tailback Tyler DeRosa (Miller Place, NY/Miller Place) ripping off a 35-yard run in the drive. But again, AU turned the ball over, this time when Secky was intercepted by Troy Sant at the Fisher goal line.

Alfred got the ball back on a Fisher punt and started the drive at its own 49-yard line with 10:12 left in regulation. Kilcarr replaced Secky on the Saxons’ next possession and led AU on an 11-play drive that stalled at the Fisher 7-yard line. After a Fisher punt gave AU the ball back at the Cardinal 38-yard line, Alfred went four-and-out and Fisher ran out the clock.

DeRosa finished with a game-high 130 yards on 20 carries, but sophomore tailback Austin Dwyer (Hornell, NY/Hornell) ran for only 17 yards on 10 rushes. It snapped Dwyer’s streak of three games to open the season with at least 100 yards on the ground. Secky was 12-of-27 for 96 yards and the four INTs. Kilcarr was three-of-10 for 32 yards.

Fisher’s Kramer was 10-of-20 for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Schmidt had five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Tailback FuQuan Borum ran 12 times for 43 yards.

Senior end Marcellus Jones (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) had 11 tackles (five solo) and a sack, and Jackson finished with five tackles and an interception - Alfred’s first of the year - to lead the Saxon defense. Senior linebacker Wes Smith (Turbotville, PA/Muncy) had 10 tackles and senior linebacker Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood) had eight. Senior cornerback Roland O’Brien (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls), senior linebacker Darrick Mason (Driftwood, PA/Cameron County) and junior nose guard Mike Raplee (Dundee, NY/Dundee) each had sacks.

Dave Vosburgh had a game-high 13 tackles and forced a fumble to pace Fisher’s defense. Travis Jones had nine tackles and forced a fumble and Moore had seven tackles to go with an interception.

Alfred is in action next on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. at home, when the Saxons entertain Empire 8 foe Hartwick on Homecoming.