Northfield, Vt. - September 29, 2018 - The Springfield College football team grinded out a 33-16 victory against Norwich in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game on Sabine Field on Saturday.
Traveling to Norwich for the first time since 2008, Springfield improved to 4-1, 2-0 in conference play, while the loss drops the Cadets down to 1-4 overall on the year and 0-2 in the NEWMAC.
Norwich got on the board first, as they drove 74 yards in 10 plays to set up a 23-yard field goal from Clyde Tamburro (Elizabethtown, Pa.) to take an early 3-0 lead at the 2:24 mark of the first quarter.
Springfield's defense got to Norwich quarterback Matt Dunn (Rockland, Mass.) late in the first quarter, as David McMullen (Warwick, R.I.) elevated to pull down an interception to set up Springfield in Norwich territory. The ensuing drive went three and out, but the Norwich punt return unit fumbled the kick following a huge hit Jaydell Torres (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and set Springfield up on the Norwich five-yard line. On their second play from scrimmage, Hunter Belzo (Middletown, Conn.) found the endzone to make it 7-3 Pride with 13:08 left in the half.
After trading punts, Springfield pulled down another interception, this time from Ryan McCarthy (Palmer, Mass.), and set up their offensive unit on the Norwich 36-yard line. Six plays and less than two minutes later, Belzo found the endzone again to extend the Springfield lead to 14-3 with 2:08 remaining.
After taking a 14-3 advantage into the half, Springfield found the endzone midway through the third quarter, this time on a one-yard plunge by Tim Callahan (Enfield, Conn.), to make it 21-3. The score came at the 8:53 mark and capped off a nine-play, 57-yard drive that lasted just 3:42.
Connor Bourque (Goffstown, N.H.) took the next Springfield kickoff back 30-yards to set up the offensive unit on the 38-yard line. Norwich pieced together a seven play, 63-yard drive that ended when Manni Romero (Phillipsburg, N.J.) hauled in a five-yard score to cut the lead to 21-9. The Cadets extra-point attempt, however, was blocked and returned the length of the field to by Jack Pavelchak (Patchogue, N.Y.) give Springfield two additional points and make it 23-9.
On the ensuing Springfield drive, Kevin Svarczopf (Essex Junction, Vt.) forced a fumble that Martin Bailey (Bedford Corners, N.Y.) scooped up and ran 15-yards back for a Norwich touchdown. After the extra-point, Norwich found themselves trailing by just seven points.
On the next Springfield drive, Norwich came up with another important play on defense when Michael Corinna (Milford, Mass.) picked off Belzo with under 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Cadets took a shot deep on the fourth play of their following drive, but McCarthy found his way to the ball again for the Pride and pulled down the visitors third interception of the day. Springfield took their next possession 48-yards in seven plays to make it 30-16, with Belzo scampering in from nine yards out with 10:48 left. Springfield sealed the game after shutting down the Cadets on the next drive and marking 43 yards in six plays before Christian Humulock (Narragansett, R.I.) converted a 25-yard field goal attempt with 5:49 left in regulation.
Norwich's offense struggled all day to find their offensive rhythm, totaling just 199 yards on the day and going 0 for 10 on third down. Aaron Conner (Daytona Beach, Fla.) had the majority of the offense with 110 yards and 22 attempts, while Matt Dunn went 12-25 for 129 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions.
The Pride ended up with three rushers eclipsing the 100-yard mark, as Belzo, Callahan, and Jared Baron (New Rochelle, N.Y.) all got into triple digits. Baron rushed for a game-high 121 yards, with Callahan close behind with 111 yards and a touchdown, while Belzo rushed for an even 100 yards and found the endzone three times.
Defensively, Ferron Green (Suitland, Md.) led Norwich with 13 tackles on the day and Kevin Svarczopf put up 12 tackles and a forced fumble. Michael Corinna pulled down an interception, while Tavares Ward (Sunrise, Fla.) forced a fumble and made several key tackles.
For Springfield, reigning NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week AJ Smith (Rahway, N.J.) led the defense with eight tackles, including two sacks. Marlowe Scott (Dorchester, Mass.) added seven stops and Nick Giorgio (Cumberland, R.I.) had four tackles, two sacks, and a blocked kick. As a team, Springfield put up five sacks and three interceptions while holding Norwich to under 200 yards of total offense.
The Pride will return home to Stagg Field next Saturday when it hosts Coast Guard at 12 pm.
Photo by Fred Goode