WASHINGTON – In three minutes, during the second quarter, Gallaudet University broke open a 9-7 game with back-to-back touchdowns as the Bison football team took a 16-point lead into halftime en route to a 37-13 victory over Rochester (N.Y.) University before 530 at Hotchkiss Field.
Gallaudet (3-0) is off to its best start in program history, as a NCAA Division III program, since 1987. The Bison, who are averaging 35.3 points per game, have scored points in every quarter and have recorded a touchdown in every quarter but one this season.
The Bison defense had a hand in two of Gallaudet's six scores against the Yellowjackets (1-1), as both came in the first half.
Freshman Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) tackled Nick Perpignan (45 rushing yards) in the end zone for a safety at the 8:42 mark in the first quarter. A 14-play, 68-yard touchdown drive followed as the Bison ate over seven minutes off the play clock. Gallaudet held the ball for 12 minutes, 30 seconds in the first quarter. Sophomore quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) capped the lengthy drive with a 2-yard run. He finished with a game-high 110 yards rushing, two touchdowns and completed 2-of-4 pass attempts for 30 yards and one interception.
The game took a crazy twist in the second quarter when four turnovers happened in a matter of one minute, three seconds. Gallaudet fumbled on its first rush (8-second possession), Rochester threw an interception on the next play (5-second possession), Gallaudet fumbled the ball back two plays later (37-second possession) before the big blow of the game took place.
Rochester quarterback Dean Kennedy (6-for-22, 70 yards, one interception) stepped back and was dropped at the Gallaudet 48-yard line by junior linebacker Nico Santiago (Moorestown, N.J.) for a 12-yard sack. Santiago's hit jarred the ball loose as it bounced into Rochester's territory where junior defensive end Tyler Snider (Thornville, Ohio) picked up the ball and rumbled 45 yards into the end zone as the Bison took a 16-7 lead.
The Bison defense then forced a three-and-out possession as the Yellowjacket drive stalled at their own 23-yard line. Rochester kicker Jeff Weinfeld came on to punt and had his kick blocked by freshman Devante Walters (Chesapeake, Va.) as senior Mike Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.) pounced on the ball at the 19-yard line. Four plays later, Gallaudet sophomore Braxton Baker (Webb City, Mo.) scored from three yards out. Gallaudet took a 23-7 lead into halftime.
The Bonheyo brothers scored two touchdowns in the second half for the Bison as senior running back Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) scored on a 4-yard run at the 9:12 mark in the third quarter. Rochester running back Myles Allen (72 rushing yards) scored on a 21-yard run at the 5:01 mark in the third quarter to cut the Bison lead to 17 points, 30-13. Todd Bonheyo capped the game's scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run at the 13:03 mark in the fourth quarter.
The Bison held the ball for 38 minutes, four seconds, which included a 12:30 first quarter and an 11:56 fourth quarter. GU also converted 11-of-19 third-down conversions while Rochester only made 6-of-16. Gallaudet had 365 total offensive yards as 298 yards came on the ground.
Junior linebacker Gregg McConville (Frederick, Md.) led the Bison with 13 tackles (six solo) with one tackle for a loss of three yards while fellow junior linebacker Jaris Alleyne (Waldorf, Md.) recorded 11 tackles (seven solo). Smith finished with seven tackles, two tackles for a loss of 10 yards and one sack. Rochester's Shawn Burke led the team with 13 tackles.
GU is off next weekend and will jump into Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play on Saturday, Oct. 5, when the Bison travel to Mount Ida.