The Hobart College football team scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions en route to a 34-14 victory at St. Lawrence to clinch at least a share of the Liberty League Championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday, Nov 3. The Statesmen improved to 9-0 for the first time in program history.
Hobart, ranked No. 7 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 9 in the D3football.com Top 25, was led by quarterback Nick Strang, who was 15-of-18 passing for 233 yards and three touchdowns. The Statesmen defense sacked quarterback Danny Metzgar five times. Defensive end Tyre Coleman had three tackles for a loss, including a pair of sacks, to increase his team leading totals to 22 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks. He tied Dave Russell’s season record for TFL set in 1997.
Hobart finished with the edge in total offense (370-249), as eight receivers caught passes from Strang led by Junior Woodard’s six receptions for 83 yards and a TD.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Saints (0-9, 0-6) opened the scoring with a bit of trickery. St. Lawrence lined up to attempt a 30-yard field goal, but holder Zach Migliore stood and fired a pass to Evan Shifley for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead with 7:48 to play in the first half. Senior Chris Dris added the extra point.
Hobart, which looked flat early, responded with a touchdown drive of its own to tie the score at 7-7. The visitors went 67 yards in nine plays with the key play coming on third and 8 when Strang found Troy Robinson for 23 yards. Strang ran in from 5 yards out for the tying touchdown. James Hull added the extra point to cap the first half scoring.
The third quarter belonged to the Statesmen, as they came out clicking on both sides of the ball to blow the game open.
After taking the opening drive of the second half in for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead on a 4-yard completion to Yosh Karbowniczak, the defense forced a three-and-out. Hobart then needed only six plays to go 72 yards, with Woodard catching a Strang pass from 21 yards out, pushing the lead to 21-7 to cap the third quarter scoring.
Hobart scored on its next two drives as well, as Dominique Ellis crossed the goal line on a 4-yard rush and Mike Berkowitz caught a 6-yard touchdown pass. Hull added one extra point but had the other blocked, giving Hobart a 34-7 lead with 5:18 to play in regulation.
St. Lawrence converted a 4th-and-15 on a deep pass from Danny Metzgar to Colby Johnson for 50 yards to keep its ensuing drive alive. Metzgar would then find Mike Tateosian on third and goal with 3:21 to go for a Saint touchdown to close out the scoring. The Saints got the ball inside the Hobart 2 in the final minute, but could not punch it into the end zone, turning the ball over on downs.
Metzgar was 9-for-25 passing for 152 yards and a touchdown. Johnson finished as the game’s leading receiver with 113 yards on three catches.
Linebacker Andrew Klindera had 10 tackles to lead the Statesmen. Linebacker Devin Worthington added eight tackles, including three tackles for a loss and two sacks. Defensive end Mark Guarino-Hyde chipped in five stops with a sack. Free safety Jolyon Davis made his first interception of the season to go with four solo tackles.
Joe Napolitano paced St. Lawrence with 10 tackles. Leondre Simmon added an interception.
Hobart will close out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 10 when the Statesmen battle Rochester for the Centennial Cup. Kickoff at Boswell Field is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.