WASHINGTON, D.C. – An overflow crowd witnessed Gallaudet University's 44-20 Homecoming win over Becker College in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) game on a picturesque fall Saturday afternoon before a season record 3,854 fans at Hotchkiss Field. It was a record setting day for the Bison (4-3, 3-1 ECFC) who set season-high marks on offense and defense.
"This was a great team win for the Bison and Gallaudet University. We had an unbelievable turnout this afternoon from our Alumni and supporters and we are happy we came through with the win," said Gallaudet head coach Chuck Goldstein, in his second season.
Sophomore defensive end Matt Harris (Lynchburg, Va.) set a program record for sacks in a game with seven as he dropped Becker quarterback Robert Baker (17-for-30, 240 yards, one touchdown) for a loss of 49 yards. Harris finished the game with a team-high eight tackles. The nine sacks made by the Bison in the game are a season-high and the most under third-year defensive coordinator John Davis. GU also recovered three fumbles to match the top mark this season.
Gallaudet's offense ran for a season-high 366 yards on 56 carries and accumulated a season best 460 yards of total offense. Freshman quarterback Quentin Williams (Chesapeake, Va.) got the start under center and ran for a career-high 138 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns. Williams scored Gallaudet's first touchdown on a 10-yard run to increase GU's lead to 9-0 at the 4:14 mark in the first quarter. He later ran a career long 55 yards to the end zone just five minutes into the third quarter as the Bison increased their lead to 30-7. Williams completed 3-of-10 passes for 59 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Bison had a dominant first half as they held the Hawks to negative 48 yards rushing and just 25 total yards of offense, two fumble recoveries and no points. On offense the Bison scored three touchdowns on their final four possessions of the first half as they went into halftime up 24-0.
Senior defensive end John Van Wey (Alexandria, Va.) sacked Baker in the end zone at the 6:50 mark for the safety and the early 2-0 lead. Van Wey finished with four tackles, 1.5 sacks for a loss of 10 yards and 3.5 tackles for a loss of 13 yards. Becker was forced to punt which led to Gallaudet's first touchdown drive of five plays for 49 yards when Williams scored his first touchdown.
GU added to the lead in the second quarter when sophomore running back Michael Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.) rumbled in from seven yards out as the lead stood at 16-0. The Bison got tricky on the next possession as Williams handed the ball off to sophomore running back Nick Elstad (Colorado Springs, Colo.) who threw up a 17-yard pass to junior wide receiver Ryne Worsham (Chicago, Ill.) for the score. The tricks didn't stop there as Special Teams Coordinator Stephon Healey called for a fake on the extra-point attempt as Elstad ran the ball in untouched for two points and a 24-0 lead.
Becker (1-7, 1-4) jumped back into the game in the third quarter as the Hawks outscored the Bison 14-6. GU received the opening kick-off of the second half but a quick three-and-out series gave the Hawks the ball at their own 44-yard line. Two plays later, running back Tyler Iafelice (five carries, 54 yards) busted off a 34-yard scamper to the end zone for Becker's first points of the game. The Bison responded with Williams' 55-yard touchdown run before Becker found the end zone again. The two teams swapped three-and-out possessions before Baker hit DeMon Frazier for a 59-yard touchdown pass at the 6:28 mark in the third quarter.
The Hawks forced another Bison punt opportunity late in the third when junior Shelby Bean (Arvada, Colo.) boomed a 37-yard punt down to the Becker three. Baker and company then marched 97 yards on 14 plays to the end zone on a 5:38 scoring drive. The key play of the drive was a fake field goal set-up by the Hawks when back-up quarterback William Ramirez threw a 17-yard pass to Luis Sanchez to keep the drive alive. On the next play, running back Kyle Gregg (eight carries, 28 yards) scored from 14 yards out at the 13:28 mark to cut the Bison lead to 30-20 as the Hawks' two-point conversion failed.
Gallaudet came up with a key fumble in the fourth quarter when Baker botched the hand-off and put the ball on the ground at the Bison 42-yard line where freshman linebacker Jaris Alleyne (Waldorf, Md.) scooped up the loose ball and returned it 33 yards the other direction to the Becker 25. Three plays later, Williams hits Worsham (four receptions, 76 yards) for his second touchdown of the game, seventh of the season, and the third time this season with two touchdown grabs in a game.
Harris helped to close out the game as he recorded one and a half sacks on Baker on the next possession as Becker turned the ball over on downs at its own 40-yard line. Gallaudet put the game away when Elstad ran in from five yards out after junior full back Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) ran 28 yards to set-up the score.
Becker freshman safety Asante Harris and junior defensive back Kenneth Quist led the defense with nine tackles each. Harris also had two tackles for a loss of two yards and one interception. Freshman defensive back Andre Holder (five tackles) made the other interception and returned it 35 yards.
The Bison will hit the road and travel to Vermont next Saturday, October 29, and face Castleton State College in an ECFC game at noon.