WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University football team and 3,185 alumni, students, faculty, staff and supporters danced the afternoon away on a cold, wet and breezy Saturday as they celebrated a 13-9 Bison victory at Hotchkiss Field over Alfred State College in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) game on homecoming weekend.
Gallaudet (3-3, 3-1 ECFC) took the lead for good from Alfred State (0-8, 0-4 ECFC) late in the third quarter, when junior slot Damonte Bray (Clinton, Md.) scored on a 14-yard run into the end zone. Bray's score capped off a five-play, 75-yard drive that took just over two minutes.
The Bison defense stepped up in the fourth quarter and kept the Pioneers out of the end zone. Alfred State's first possession in the fourth quarter was a quick three-and-out followed by a six-play drive that covered nine yards. Senior linebacker Demontrai Lewis (Trinity, Texas) sacked Pioneer quarterback Carter Harman for a loss of four yards on that drive.
GU made things interesting down the stretch.
The Bison began to run the clock out on consecutive rush plays but a costly fumble by sophomore RJ Randle (McCalla, Ala.) at the 1:29 mark gave new hope to the Pioneers. Harman (10-for-33, 161 yards) went to work and marched Alfred State into Gallaudet territory. GU's defense rose to the occasion and forced four straight incomplete passes, as Harman's throws were closely defended by the Bison secondary, to end the game.
"We were thrilled to deliver a homecoming victory to our wonderful Gallaudet alumni, who braved the elements and came out today to cheer on the Bison," said Gallaudet head coach Chuck Goldstein. "It was great to see so many alumni dancing with our players after the game because when we win, we dance."
Junior linebacker Mauricio Orozco (Largo, Md.) led the Bison defense with eight solo tackles, two tackles for a loss of eight yards and one pass breakup. Senior free safety Louie Akuffo (Bowie, Md.) had seven solo tackles, one tackle for a loss of two yards and one pass breakup. Freshman cornerback Marc Wallace (Mobile, Ala.) had an interception in the third quarter for the Bison. GU held the Pioneers to 79 yards rushing and 240 yards of total offense.
Alfred State's defense was led by defensive back Mike Zimmerman (14 tackles), who was all over the place, came through with key tackles for the Pioneers. Linebacker Adam Bellaus had a strong game with nine tackles and three sacks for a loss of 23 yards, with one of those sacks forcing a fumble that Alfred State recovered.
Each team missed a field goal to start the first quarter before Pioneer kicker Ryan Shipherd redeemed himself with a 30-yard field goal to begin the second quarter as the visitors led 3-0. Shipherd's first field goal attempt was blocked by freshman Eric Gregory (Metairie, La.).
Gallaudet's first points came after an eight-yard punt by Zimmerman went out-of-bounds at the Pioneer 42. Randle and company went to work as the sophomore back ran six times with the last carry leading him into the end zone from two yards out. GU's first touchdown drive covered 42 yards on nine plays in just under four minutes. Junior kicker Jacob Guertler (Staunton, Va.) had his extra-point attempt blocked as the Bison led 6-3 with 3:15 left before halftime.
Alfred State scored, right before halftime, when Harman hit Darrius Nichols for a seven-yard strike with 38 seconds left. Shipherd missed the extra-point, wide right, as the Pioneers led 9-6 at the half.
Gallaudet platooned its freshmen quarterbacks as Lance Wood (Fishers, Ind.) completed 3 of 5 passes for 57 yards and Logan Taylor (South Prince George, Va.) completed 3 of 4 passes for 34 yards. Randle led the rushing attack with 123 yards on 26 carries. Bray finished with 52 yards, while freshman Cassmeir Hutchinson (Chesapeake, Va.) rolled up 41 yards on six carries. The Bison gained 211 yards on the ground and had 302 yards of total offense.
- The Bison are now 5-4 in Homecoming Games during Goldstein's tenure
- GU went 2-1 during the month of October
- Gallaudet is undefeated at home this season
- The Bison are 2-0 all-time against Alfred State
Gallaudet will take its last road trip, albeit longest road trip, of the year next Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Bison go to Bangor, Maine, to take on Husson University. The Eagles (6-2, 5-0 ECFC) are the two-time defending ECFC champions and currently in first place in the conference.