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AU at St. John Fisher Game Notes
11/14/13

Alfred University Saxons at St. John Fisher College Cardinals

Saturday, Nov. 16, 1 p.m.

Growney Stadium, Pittsford, NY

 

Last meeting: 2012, AU win, 26-13, at Alfred

Last week: AU: W, 48-31, vs. Utica; Fisher, W­­, 24-6, at Buff State

Saxon Offense: 32.6 points per game

Saxon Defense: 21.1 points per game

Cardinal Offense: 31.9 points per game

Cardinal Defense: 21.2 points per game

 

Players to watch: AU — Tyler Johnson, FR, QB; Austin Dwyer, SR, TB; Josh Phillips, SR, WR; Jonathan Ruffin, SR, WR; Tyler DeRosa, SR, TB; Isiah Young, SO, TE; Michael Perkins, JR, FS; Seiji Hinton, SR, DB; Corry Wallace, SO, MLB; Peter Diak, SO, OLB; Justin Collen, SR, DE; D.J. Welch, SR, OLB.

Fisher — Matt Naton, SO, QB; Cody Miller, SR, TB; , Ryan Sweet JR, WR/P; Nathan Nigolian, SO, WR; Dan Rudy, SR, WR; Sean Preish, JR, MLB; Ryan Ballard, SR, S; Mike Donitzen, SR, OLB; Mike Guinta, SR, FS;  Mason Judd, SR, DE; Cody Foster, SR, DE.

Key matchups: Alfred pass defense against Fisher sophomore quarterback Matt Naton, who is making just his second start of the season on Saturday. Naton was a late substitution for Fisher starter Tyler Fenti in the Cardinals’ win over Utica Nov. 2. Naton got the start in Fisher’s win at Buff State last weekend and completed 14 of 23 passes for 293 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. Alfred is allowing just over 200 yards passing per game and has 18 interceptions as a team (a team-leading four by junior free safety Michael Perkins), including eight during the Saxons’ current four-game win streak...The Saxon defense, paced by leading tackler, sophomore middle linebacker Corry Wallace (94 tackles), will need to control a Fisher offense that produces 145 yards per game on the ground, led by leading rusher, senior tailback Cody Miller…AU offense that averages nearly 400 yards per contest against a Fisher defense that allows just 330 per game. The Saxons will look for continued success in a passing game that produces 233 yards per game through the air (275 average the last four games). AU freshman quarterback Tyler Johnson will face a Cardinal defense that gives up 205 yards passing per contest, but last weekend held Buff State to 129, nearly half the Bengals’ average. The Saxons averages 163 yards per game rushing, while the Fisher defense allows 125 yards per game on the ground… Alfred hopes to continue a trend that has seen the Saxons turn the ball over just twice in the last four games, but will be contending with a veteran Fisher defense (six seniors and three juniors start) that has forced 21 turnovers on the year.

 Game Notes: Today is the 16th meeting between Alfred and St. John Fisher, with AU holding a 9-6 edge in the all-time series. The last time these two teams met, in Alfred in 2012, AU won 26-13. The last time the teams met in Pittsford (2011), Fisher prevailed, 17-3. Today’s AU-Fisher contest is Courage Bowl IX, an annual game that benefits Camp Good Days and Special Times, a Rochester-based organization that provides residential camping programs and year-round recreational and support activities for children suffering from cancer.

 

About the Cardinals: Fisher is 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the Empire 8 after last weekend’s 24-6 win at Buff State.

Fisher averages 430 yards of offense per game, with 285 yards coming through the air. Sophomore QB Matt Naton, making his second start in relief of Tyler Fenti (who started the first eight games) has completed 15 of 25 passes for 306 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver Nathan Nigolian has 41 catches for 604 yards and eight TDs and junior wideout Ryan Sweet has 11 receptions for 219 yards and three scores.

Senior running back Cody Miller leads the team in rushing with 779 yards, with 12 touchdowns.

The Cardinal defense allows 330 yards per game (205 passing, 125 rushing). Junior middle linebacker Sean Preish has a team-high 79 tackles (10 ½ for loss, 6 ½ sacks) with two forced fumbles. Senior safety Ryan Ballard has 56 tackles and two interceptions; senior outside linebacker Mike Donitzen has 53 tackles (10 for loss, three sacks) to go with two forced fumbles and two recoveries; senior free safety Mike Guinta has 47 tackles, four interceptions and six pass breakups; and senior end Mason Judd has 46 tackles (10 for loss, 4 ½ sacks).

Senior Kevin Francis averages 19.5 yards on kick returns and 9.2 yards on punt returns. Senior kicker Brendan Carey has made three of seven field goals and 33 of 34 PATs, while Sweet averages 39.1 yards per punt.

About the Saxons: AU is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the Empire 8 after last week’s 48-31 win at home against Utica, the Saxons fourth straight.

The Saxons possess a balanced offense that produces 396 yards per contest, with 233 coming via the pass and 163 coming on the ground.

Alfred freshman Tyler Johnson has been solid since taking over as starting quarterback after a Week 3 win at Brockport, twice winning Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors, once for his performance last weekend against Utica (342 yards passing, two TDs). On the season, Johnson has completed 125 of 203 passes for 1,584 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has been outstanding during the Saxons’ four-game win streak, throwing for 930 yards with eight TDs and just one interception.

Senior wide receiver Josh Phillips leads a deep and talented AU receiving corps with 44 catches for 676 yards and six touchdowns. Senior wideout Jonathan Ruffin has 26 catches for 517 yards (nearly 20 yards per reception) with three touchdowns; sophomore tight end Isiah Young has 21 catches for 270 yards; senior wide receiver David Lee Tack has 18 catches for 204 yards and a score; and senior fullback Chuck Beckwith has three touchdown catches.

Senior tailback Austin Dwyer leads the team in rushing with 526 yards on 109 carries with 10 touchdowns. Johnson has run for 348 yards and three TDs on 67 carries and senior tailback Tyler DeRosa has 319 yards on 76 carries. Sophomore cornerback Calvin Bain has run 12 times for 81 yards, with five of his carries resulting in touchdowns, including four last weekend against Utica.

The AU defense allows 335 yards per game (131 rushing, 204 passing). Sophomore middle linebacker Corry Wallace has a team-best 94 tackles (4 ½ for loss, one sack) with three interceptions and four pass breakups. Sophomore outside linebacker Peter Diak has 51 tackles (3 ½ for loss, 2 ½ sacks) with a forced fumble and a recovery; senior safety Seiji Hinton has 44 stops (5 ½ for loss), two interceptions and two forced fumbles; junior free safety Michael Perkins leads the team with four interceptions; and senior end Justin Collen has 7 ½ tackles for loss, including a team-best six sacks.

Ruffin averages 5.9 yards on punt returns, while Dwyer and Bain average 23.3 and 22.1 yards, respectively, on kick returns. Freshman kicker Thomas Gioia has made seven of nine field goals and 28 of 35 PATs. Freshman Ryan McDonnell averages 37 yards per punt.