WASHINGTON, D.C. – History was made Friday night as Gallaudet University stunned Catholic University of America with a 47-27 victory before a crowd of 1,243 at Cardinal Stadium. The win is the first for the Bison over the Cardinals in the 106-year history of the rivalry between the two D.C. schools.
"It was nice to see a full team effort tonight as our offense, defense and special teams came together to play as a complete unit. A lot of players stepped up in key moments," said Gallaudet coach Chuck Goldstein after the victory. "We had terrific support from our administration, faculty, staff and students who made the short trip to attend the game tonight. Not many schools can say their President, Provost, Vice-President, Dean of Student Affairs and Athletic Director travel for a big game like this. It was terrific to deliver our program's first win with them and our fans in attendance."
Freshman quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) completed 6-of-15 passes for two touchdowns and ran in two touchdowns from a yard out in the third quarter to give the Bison (1-1) a 35-14 lead. Freshman running back BJ Flores (Raymondville, Texas) put the game away in the fourth with two touchdown runs as GU led 47-21, its largest margin in the game, with five minutes left in regulation.
Gallaudet's defense forced five turnovers (four interceptions) as the Bison harassed and swarmed around Catholic quarterback Greg Cordivari (19-for-38, 115 yards, three touchdowns, four interceptions) and caused problems in the secondary. Senior cornerback Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.) had a stellar game as he picked off Cordivari twice and made an acrobatic 10-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to give GU the lead for good. Tatum's first interception helped to set up his touchdown reception when he tipped Cordivari's pass up and while falling to the ground corralled the ball in for the pick. Eleven plays later he celebrated his first touchdown of the season.
"I was surprised when I saw Todd threw the ball in my direction. I had it in my mind to go up and grab it and come down with it while staying in-bounds," said Tatum. "This win feels great and to know that we won as a team is the best part about it. We made history tonight!"
The ensuing Catholic drive saw junior running back Mike Pitsenberger fumble after being tackled by junior defensive lineman Adham Talaat (Springfield, Va.). Sophomore linebacker Nico Santiago (Moorestown, N.J.) scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 65 yards for the touchdown as Gallaudet led 21-7 with five minutes left in the second quarter. CUA (1-1) added a touchdown right before halftime as the Bison carried a seven-point lead, 21-14, into intermission.
GU was 5-for-5 on red zone scoring chances and controlled the time of possession (36:36) as the Bison had 336 yards of total offense (221 yards on the ground). Catholic was held to 239 yards of total offense (124 yards passing) and only converted 31 percent of its third down opportunities.
Gallaudet fumbled on its second play from scrimmage and watched Catholic use five plays to score a touchdown less than two minutes into the first quarter. The Bison buckled down and played hard-nosed football and outscored the Cardinals 35-7 until the end of the third quarter.
The lead was not at a comfortable margin until late for the Bison to breath easy. Last season, Gallaudet led 41-24 over Catholic at home with just under seven minutes to play. The Cardinals scored three consecutive touchdowns to pull a 45-41 come-from-behind victory away from Gallaudet.
GU turned to Flores to help run down the clock in the fourth quarter. The 5-foot-7 shifty back had 14 carries and 99 yards in the game for an average of 7.1 yards per carry. He scored from 22 yards out with 8:49 left in the fourth quarter and after an impressive four and out series by the Bison defense, Flores scored on a 7-yard run with five minutes left in the game as GU led by 26 points, 47-21.
Senior preseason All-American linebacker Tom Pangia (Hammonton, N.J.) led the Bison defense with 14 tackles and two pass breakups. Sophomore linebacker Jaris Alleyne (Waldorf, Md.) added 10 tackles. Senior Shelby Bean (Arvada, Colo.) made two interceptions and converted a fake punt with a 27-yard pass. Bean came out to punt in the second quarter but dropped back and threw a pass to junior Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) who made the catch, fumbled, but GU recovered which allowed Ryan's younger brother Todd to throw a touchdown pass to Tatum.
On the second play of the third quarter, Bean picked off Cordivari at the Gallaudet 38 and almost scored a touchdown on the return as he ran it back 61 yards to the 1-yard line. Todd Bonheyo scored on the next play as GU increased its lead back to 14, 28-14.
Catholic's next drive ended in another interception as Cordivari was picked off by Tatum at the Gallaudet 40. The Bison manufactured a 13-play, 52-yard drive and chewed up six minutes of clock as Todd Bonheyo ran in from a yard out at the 5:33 mark.
Gallaudet and Catholic have only met three times since 1994 but prior to that the two schools had a lengthy rivalry that was very one-sided. Over the years Catholic embarrassed Gallaudet by the tune of 60-0 in 1925, 91-0 in 1931, 41-0 in 1975 and 64-0 in 1994. There were two ties in the series in 1914 and 1919 and the first contest took place in 1906.
"Tonight's win is not just for this year's Gallaudet team but all of the prior Bison teams that never had the chance to enjoy a win like tonight," said Goldstein.
Gallaudet is off next week before hosting the Apprentice School on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. in the home opener at Hotchkiss Field.