WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University football team lost its first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) home game this season, 27-6, here Saturday as visiting Norwich University pulled away in the second half before 458 at Hotchkiss Field.
A young and energized Bison squad took to the field and played a great first quarter as GU took advantage of Norwich miscues and played field possession with the Cadets. Norwich's Sam Chaves fumbled at his own 27 as freshman Louie Akuffo (Bowie, Md.) flew in to scoop up the loose ball. Gallaudet was in business, midway through the first quarter, and freshman quarterback Ramon Johnson (Sylmar, Calif.) didn't waste any time as he tried to connect with freshman wide receiver Dylan Mento (Hammonton, N.J.) but Norwich was flagged for pass interference. On the next play, the Johnson to Mento combo hit on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Mento made a great catch as he was running down the near sideline and grabbed the ball as he crossed the goal line. GU's two-point attempt failed but the Bison held a 6-0 lead and had that lead until late in the half.
Norwich (2-3, 2-0 ECFC) was forced to punt four times and turned the ball over on Chaves' fumble on its first five possessions.
Cadet quarterback Philippe Bazinet orchestrated an 11-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a Chaves two-yard touchdown run with 3:46 left in the second quarter. Norwich used several big plays to keep that drive alive as it made three first downs.
Norwich tacked on three more points, right before halftime, as Robbie Harrison made a 36-yard field goal with 14 seconds left before intermission.
In the second half, Norwich added to its 10-6 lead with strong play from its special teams. Harrison booted home a 39-yard field goal early in the third quarter. Bazinet (16-for-24, 120 yards, one touchdown, 86 rushing yards) threw a 10-yard score to Ryan Cirillo at the 2:43 mark in the third quarter as Norwich led 20-6. The Cadets capped their scoring when Michael O'Neil returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
- Akuffo had a career best 14 tackles (11 solo) and recovered one fumble
- Junior Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) was a force in the middle with 12 tackles, two pass breakups, one tackle for a loss of two yards
- Four different GU defenders had 11 or more tackles
- Junior Jacy Pedersen (Newark, Calif.) had 11 tackles along with freshman Richard Harty (Montville, N.J.)
- Junior Sean Fenton (Chicago, Ill.) was disruptive on the line with seven tackles and one sack for a loss of three yards
- GU's other sack came from freshman TJ Ellison (Hull, Ga.) with a loss of nine yards
- Junior John Anderson (Clarksville, Tenn.) was GU's leading rusher with 48 yards on 13 carries
- Johnson was 17-for-30, 102 yards, one touchdown and one interception
- Mento finished with three catches for 38 yards
GU will hit the road and travel to Vermont to take on Castleton University (3-2, 1-1 ECFC) next Saturday, Oct. 17, at noon.