It is rare to see a Springfield College football game in which the Pride go under 25 points, but that is exactly what happened last weekend when they travelled to Union for a Liberty League tilt. One could say the Pride had a bit of a sophomore slump in their second game in the new league, falling to the Dutchmen 49-21.
“This might seem like an obvious statement, but our execution just wasn’t as good as it needed to be,” said coach Mike DeLong.
Never one to make excuses, DeLong recognized that it was errors on his team’s behalf – such as allowing Union to take over on the SC one-yard line after a blocked punt – that cost the Pride the game.
“The team played hard, but we gave them short fields too many times,” said DeLong. “They competed every time out there, but the execution just fell short.”
Saturday also marked the first start of freshman Jonathan Marerro’s young career. After an effective second half against Rochester the previous week, Marerro had some growing pains against Union.
Statistically, Marerro had a solid game, however, analyzing his performance a little deeper, the freshman fumbled twice and threw an interception, showing that there is still some room to grow.
“On the interception he was trying to make a play, and he has shown his ability to both run and throw the football,” said DeLong. “It’s hard to fault a kid for a turnover when he’s just trying to make a play.”
Union, much like Springfield’s other four opponents, featured a shotgun-spread offense that relies on a healthy mix of run and pass. The Dutchmen were flawless in their execution, particularly running the football.
Against Springfield’s oft-touted defense, Union was able to rack up a whopping 353 rushing yards. In contrast, Springfield’s running game looked pedestrian with just 106 yards from scrimmage.
Looking to Hobart
With two games now under Springfield’s belt in the Liberty League, they head for their biggest test on Saturday when they travel to Hobart to face the undefeated Statesmen. In case you were wondering how good Hobart is, they are coming off a 61-8 drubbing of WPI on the weekend.
“They are undefeated for a reason,” said DeLong. “Their quarterback is a strong athletic kid who can throw the ball, and they can run the power out of the spread just like Union.”
The Statesmen were recently ranked No. 12 in the D3football.com Top 25 behind a talented corps of skill position players. Quarterback Nick Strang and tailback Bobby Dougherty have gotten off to flying starts and have accounted for 15 touchdowns between them.
Strang is nearing the 1,000-yard mark already with 951 passing yards through four games. His seven touchdowns have helped take attention off of Dougherty and the running game as teams need to respect both in the red zone.
Dougherty’s 421 yards and eight touchdowns lead the team, but Steven Webb (362 yards, five touchdowns) is right behind. Hobart has five players – including Strang – who have run for at least two touchdowns in 2012.
“They won the league last year, and they are a team that we definitely want to be able to come in and compete with,” said DeLong.
The Pride will have an opportunity to compete this weekend when they take the field in Geneva, N.Y. on Saturday at 12 p.m. There will be a live video stream of the game available on Hobart’s athletic site.