By Matthew Shaffer
The College’s football team fell to Christopher Newport University 17-6 on Saturday, Oct. 26. It was a hard-fought battle on both ends, but the efficiency of the opposing team was too much to handle for the Lions’ defense. On the first play of the game, senior defensive back Xavier Santos forced a fumble shortly after the reception, but was unable to recover it. A sack on third down forced Christopher Newport to punt deep into the Lions’ territory.
The offense had trouble mustering enough yards for a first down, and promptly punted the ball right back. With roughly three minutes left in the first quarter, Christopher Newport put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 13-yard touchdown pass to put itself up 7-0 over the Lions. Without skipping a beat, junior quarterback Andrew Donoghue connected with freshman wideout Ryan McDermott for a 40-yard pass and then with senior receiver Vinny Guckin, who found the end zone on a 35-yard completion. However, a missed extra point would keep the Lions in a deficit by a score of 7-6.
On the ensuing possession early in the second quarter, Christopher Newport drained the clock on a lengthy seven-minute drive. On third down just outside the red zone, senior defensive linemen Erik Graham and Anthony Cortazzo recorded a timely sack. The strong defensive play pushed the offense back to the 27-yard line, forcing a field goal to make the score 10-6 before halftime. The College had a chance at a field goal, courtesy of sophomore defensive back Michael Siwak’s fumble recovery, but Christopher Newport blocked it just before the half.
Despite being unable to force many incompletions, the defense recorded six sacks on the day. Christopher Newport’s quarterback completed 20 out of 21 passes for a total of 186 yards and a touchdown, while Donoghue put up 180 yards, a score and no turnovers. The running game was quiet for the Lions, who accumulated just 15 yards on the ground. Christopher Newport had nearly 100 yards rushing, and eventually punched in the game-sealing touchdown with less than two minutes in the fourth.
Offensively, the Lions have failed to reach 20 points in six of their seven matchups, making it tough on the defense to keep in the game. Despite the loss, the Lions’ top performers were Guckin with seven receptions, 84 yards and a touchdown, as well as sophomore defensive lineman Nick Celli, who recorded two sacks, forced a fumble and blocked a field goal.
With the loss, the Lions drop to 2-5 on the season. Their next game will be at home against Wesley College on Saturday, Nov. 2, where they will look to obtain their third conference win this season.