WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University defense thwarted Norwich University's last ditch effort to try and extend Saturday's Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) game as the Cadets fumbled near the goal line as time expired and the Bison celebrated a 30-22 victory.
Gallaudet (5-0, 2-0 ECFC) remains undefeated as the Bison continue its best start in program history, as a NCAA Division III program, since 1987 when GU won its first five games to start the season. After several near misses, Gallaudet defeated Norwich for the first time in five tries. All five games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
The Bison racked up 375 yards of total offense and rushed for 304 yards, the fourth game this season they have surpassed 300-yards as a team. The team also passed for 71 yards, a season best total. The Bison were 5-for-5 in the red zone and held the ball for 38 minutes, 20 seconds. Gallaudet leads all Division III football teams in time of possession. GU held Norwich to 238 yards of total offense, 108 came on the ground.
Gallaudet trailed briefly, 7-6, in the first quarter and into the start of the second quarter before the Bison regained the lead and scored three consecutive touchdowns before the half.
Sophomore quarterback Quentin Williams (Chesapeake, Va.) scored two touchdowns during the 21-0 second quarter as he plunged in from a yard out and two yards out. Sophomore running back Braxton Baker (Webb City, Mo.) scored from four yards out at the 1:47 mark, as he ran to the corner of the end zone and snuck in right inside the pylon. A quick three-and-out allowed the Bison to get the ball back and score right before the intermission. A 52-yard pass by sophomore quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) to senior running back Mike Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.) set the stage for Williams' second touchdown. GU led 27-7 at the half.
Bonheyo finished the game 3-for-4 for 71 yards and one first quarter interception, which led to Norwich's first touchdown. Bonheyo rushed the ball 13 times for 54 yards.
The Bison added to their lead in the third quarter as GU marched 23 yards on eight plays in over four minutes to set-up sophomore kicker Chase Magsig's (Hudsonville, Mich.) 32-yard field goal. Magsig made 3-of-4 point after attempts in the game.
Gallaudet's defense was stout in the third quarter as it caused four consecutive three-and-out possessions and four punts by Norwich (2-3, 1-1 ECFC). The Cadets converted 4-of-17 third down possessions.
Junior linebacker Gregg McConville (Frederick, Md.) led the Bison with 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss of seven yards and recorded 1.5 sacks for a loss of six yards. Junior Jaris Alleyne (Waldorf, Md.) added nine tackles and had one pass breakup. Senior Adham Talaat (Springfield, Va.) and freshman Jacy Pedersen (Fremont, Calif.) recorded a sack each and freshman Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) had a half sack and three quarterback hurries.
GU was backed up to its own 15 early in the fourth quarter and were forced to punt. A poor Magsig punt, that traveled 16 yards and went out-of-bounds, gave the Cadets great field possession at the Gallaudet 31. The Bison had Norwich 3rd and 3 but jumped off sides to give the Cadets a first down. Gallaudet had nine penalties in the game for 90 yards. NU quarterback Keyen Foley (16-for-28, 130 yards) called his own number, on the next play, and ran 19 yards to the end zone.
The Bison fumbled near midfield on their next possession as the Cadets regained control with 6:45 left in regulation. Norwich marched 47 yards on five plays and aided on a Bison pass interference penalty. Foley capped the drive with a 22-yard pass to Matt Mulcahy (five receptions, 61 yards).
Norwich attempted an on-side kick but the ball went out-of-bounds and gave Gallaudet prime field possession. The Bison tried to run the clock out as it ran seven plays but couldn't convert on 4th and 9 at the Norwich 22. The Cadets took over on downs and had 2:35 to work with.
Foley went to work and completed passes and ran several times as NU marched down the field. Foley scrambled 24 yards on 4th and 17 at his own 28-yard line. He later completed a 23-yard pass to Mulcahy as the Cadets moved into Gallaudet territory. The Bison defense had the Cadets down to 4th and 1 at the Gallaudet 20 and sacked Foley for a loss of four yards but the play didn't count as a defensive holding penalty was called to give the Cadets a first down. As the final seconds ticked off the Cadets got to the Gallaudet 2 before Foley fumbled on the last play as James-Dana Milan recovered the loose ball at the Gallaudet 7 as time expired.
Gallaudet scored the game's first score when senior Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) ran in from seven yards out at the 6:11 mark. A failed point after attempt gave the Bison a 6-0 lead early. Foley responded with his own touchdown run from seven yards out at the end of the first quarter as Norwich led 7-6.
The Bison hit the road and will travel to Castleton, Vt., next Saturday (October 19) and face Castleton State College (1-4, 0-2 ECFC).