By Darin MacEacheron
Entering Saturday’s matchup against the Union Dutchmen, the Springfield College football team held a record of 2-0 and had not lost in the regular season since 2016. They had been dominating teams with their rushing attack coming into the game averaging 431.5 rushing yards per game but that quickly changed Saturday when Union upended the Pride by a score of 45-10 at Stagg Field.
Although the score does not indicate it, the Pride were the team who started off strong. They held Union to three-and-outs on their first two possessions of the game and after a Christian Humulock field goal followed up by a Hunter Belzo touchdown, the Pride ended the first quarter on top 10-0.
On their first possession of the second quarter, Springfield opted out of a 46 yard field goal and went for it on fourth down but were unsuccessful. From there, Union completely took over.
On the the first play of their next drive, Union took a deep shot downfield and wide receiver Andre Ross Jr. hauled in the 58 yard reception. On the next play, Union cashed in on a touchdown pass to Griffin Beal.
Union’s pass attack took advantage of the Pride all day and Ross Jr. was the beneficiary. Springfield kept sending out man coverage with no safety help and Ross Jr. took advantage of that all day burning the secondary on multiple occasions. He totaled 6 catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
“He is a really good receiver with really good speed and really good hands,” noted Springfield Head Coach Mike Cerasuolo about Ross Jr. “They had a really good offensive attack and unfortunately we couldn’t do anything about it.”
The Pride’s offense stumbled all afternoon as they only managed 126 yards of offense and put the ball on the ground a lot fumbling four times and giving one of those up. In the second quarter, quarterback Chad Shade, who had been a key player for the offense in the first two games, suffered an injury after a big hit in the open field. Just two drives later, backup quarterback David Wells gingerly walked off the field. Both players would not return to the game leaving running back Hunter Belzo taking the majority of the snaps the rest of the way.
The offense mightily struggled with the lack of a real quarterback under center causing the defense to be on the field the majority of the second half.
“Our defense was out there way too much and we didn’t do enough offensively to help our guys out so obviously they started to get a little tired,” said Cerasuolo.
With the game out of hand, the Pride put in freshman quarterback Mason Dumas to give Belzo some rest.
“(Shade and Wells) are two young, tough guys but we won’t know their availability until we evaluate them later this week but they will do whatever it takes to get back out here as soon as possible,” said Cerasuolo.
If Shade and Wells can’t give it a go on Saturday, Dumas might have to step in to avoid Belzo from taking all the snaps.
Overall, it was a very disappointing game from the Pride and they have a lot of questions that need to be answered. They will start NEWMAC play on Saturday at WPI at noon and until then, the quarterback situation will be a mystery.
Featured photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal