BANGOR, Maine - It wasn't the start Gallaudet University had drawn up heading into Saturday's Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) game with conference power Husson University. The visiting Bison got down early before a big-time play by the defense swayed momentum, briefly, before the Eagles rolled to a 50-16 win.
Special team miscues contributed to a quick 14-0 lead for the Eagles. Husson (4-1, 2-0 ECFC) was knocking at the Gallaudet doorstep, once more, after the Bison special teams unit turned the ball over on their own 1.
The teams had to switch sides of the field to begin the second quarter at the Gallaudet 4 and the Eagles facing third down and goal. Husson quarterback Cory Brandon (11-for-17, 210 yards, three touchdowns) dropped back to pass but was intercepted by senior safety Carneilus Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) at the Gallaudet 2. Smith made the pick and raced 98 yards into the end zone to get GU on the scoreboard.
The Bison (1-4, 0-2 ECFC) elected to go for two-points after the interception score. Sophomore Kahan Louissaint (Gaithersburg, Md.) bulldozed his way into the end zone as GU had cut the Eagle lead to six, 14-8.
Smith's 98-yard interception return is the longest in program history. Gallaudet's Neal DiMarco returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown on Sept. 9, 2011 against Catholic University of America.
Gallaudet's defense held Husson to its second three-and-out possession of the game and got the ball back. Unfortunately, the Bison followed suit with their own three-and-out, one of six times, and had to punt the ball back to Husson. This time Brandon made Gallaudet's secondary pay the price as he connected with Robenson Saintard (two catches, 62 yards) on a 48-yard touchdown strike.
That score began a stretch where Husson scored four times in eight minutes and 45 seconds. It was a stretch that Husson did without its star tailback John Smith, the 2015 ECFC Offensive Player of the Year, who went down with an injury early in the second quarter. Smith didn't return due to the large lead and finished the day with 11 rushes for 52 yards and one touchdown.
GU freshman quarterback Timel Benton (Columbia, S.C.) threw an interception that was returned 21 yards for an Eagles score. Benton had a rough day as he only completed one pass for five yards and was limited to six rushes for minus nine yards.
Brandon tossed two more touchdowns as Husson took a 43-8 lead into halftime.
Husson running back Obie Christmas scored his second touchdown with a 1-yard run at the 10:15 mark to push the lead to 42 points, 50-6.
Gallaudet sophomore quarterback Antoine McKinney (Racine, Wis.) hit sophomore wide receiver Lawrence Watson (Fayetteville, N.C.) on a play action pass for a 92-yard touchdown. The 92-yard score is a career-high for both players.
The 92-yard touchdown pass is the second longest in program history since Gallaudet returned to Division III in 2007. Jimmy Gardner threw a 98-yard touchdown pass to Ryne Worsham on Oct. 9, 2010 at Norwich University.
- Smith led the Gallaudet defense with 12 tackles (six solo)
- Sophomore Louie Akuffo (Bowie, Md.) made 11 tackles (eight solo)
- Senior Sean Fenton (Chicago, Ill.) tallied 10 tackles (five solo)
- Sophomore Solomon Worthey (San Diego, Calif.) had the team's lone sack
- Watson led the team with 114 all-purpose yards (97 receiving yards, 17 kick return yards)
- Junior Montray Roberts (Dallas, Texas) intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter for the Bison and returned it three yards
- Freshman defensive tackle JaQuan Thomas (Midway, Ga.) forced and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter
- Freshman Spencer Maples (Kempner, Texas) led the team with 29 rushing yards on five carries
Gallaudet returns home and will host Mount Ida College (1-4, 1-1 ECFC) on Saturday, Oct. 15, at noon at Hotchkiss Field in an ECFC game.