LEICESTER, Mass. - Junior Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) may still be a novice when it comes to returning kickoffs but don't let his lack of returns fool you. Smith's two returns here Saturday provided two highlights for Gallaudet University in a 58-6 loss to Becker College in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) contest.
Smith fielded Jacob Holmes' kickoff at the Gallaudet 9 and raced upfield and broke through several tackles in front of the Bison sideline. Smith split through Becker defenders Anthony Kaplan and Joseph Linnehan at the Gallaudet 35 and received key blocks from junior Sean Fenton (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman Rashard Witherspoon (Brownsville, Tenn.) as he raced 91 yards for the touchdown at the 1:51 mark in the third quarter. This was Smith's fourth kickoff return of his career.
Smith provided Gallaudet (0-7, 0-5 ECFC) will its lone points on the day as Becker (5-3, 3-2 ECFC) had built a 30-0 lead in the first half and extended it by 21 points before Smith's big return. Freshman quarterback Ramon Johnson (Sylmar, Calif.) attempted the extra-point kick after the touchdown and missed.
There must be something special for Gallaudet and long returns at Alumni Field. Two years ago, Gallaudet blocked Becker's field goal attempt with no time left in the fourth quarter and Ryan Bonheyo returned the ball 79 yards for the game-winning touchdown for the thrilling 40-34 victory to keep Gallaudet undefeated. The Bison won their first ECFC championship the following week.
It was a rough day for Johnson (17 of 33, 99 yards) against the Hawks' defense as he was sacked seven times and threw three interceptions. Freshman wide receiver Dylan Mento (Hammonton, N.J.) had his first 100-yard receiving game as he made a career best 12 catches for 103 yards.
Gallaudet's defense surrendered 453 total yards of offense with 279 yards coming through the air. Becker quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton completed 19 of 26 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. DeJahn Dawkins caught five passes for 82 yards and two scores. Becker had seven different players score touchdowns in the game.
- Freshman Kahan Louissaint (Gaithersburg, Md.) led the Bison with 37 yards rushing on 16 carries
- Freshman Louie Akuffo (Bowie, Md.) led the defense with 13 tackles (eight solo) and one sack for a loss of 10 yards
- Smith was the second leading tackler with eight and one tackle for a loss of two yards
- Smith's 91-yard kickoff return is a Gallaudet record since the Bison returned to varsity status in 2007
- The previous long was a 85-yard kickoff return by Pierre Price on Nov. 3, 2007 against Maritime (N.Y.)
- Smith's first kickoff return went for 23 yards
- Smith had 114 kickoff return yards in the game
- Freshman Richard Harty (Montville, N.J.) added seven tackles
- Freshman Daequan Taylor (Hampton, Va.) forced and recovered a fumble for the Bison
- Gallaudet has lost 12 straight
- This is Becker's first win over Gallaudet since 2007 as the Hawks won 30-6
- The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak over Becker
Gallaudet returns home to host Anna Maria College (0-8, 0-5 ECFC) in the home finale for the Bison at Hotchkiss Field at noon. GU will pay tribute to its seniors prior to the start of the game.