First-year defensive back Gabriel Smith matched the Hobart College game record for blocked kicks on Saturday in a 41-20 win at Union College and today was named the Liberty League Special Teams Performer of the Week by the conference office. Senior running back Steven Webb earned a spot on the conference’s weekly honor roll.
Hobart improved to 7-0 for the second straight season and just the seventh time in program history. The Statesmen lead the Liberty League with a 5-0 record. Hobart held steady in both nation polls, staying at No. 6 in the American Football Coaches Association top 25 for the third consecutive week and No. 7 in the D3football.com ranking for the second week in a row.
Smith blocked a punt in the first quarter to set up the Statesmen’s first scoring drive, a 5-play, 40-yard march midway through the first quarter. Smith got his second blocked punt in the second quarter, this time he scooped up the loose ball and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown and a 28-6 lead. He’s the first Statesman to return a blocked punt for a TD since Sept. 1, 2012. Smith was also credited with three tackles in the game.
Smith has appeared in all seven games this season, recording 12 tackles (seven solo), an interception, a pass break up, and three blocked kicks. The Hobart season record for blocked kicks is four set by Tom Schmidt ’88 in 1986.
Webb rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns against the Dutchmen. Union came into the game allowing opponents to gain a league-low 106.1 rushing yards per game, but Webb surpassed that average, rushing for the most yards allowed by the Union defense this season. In the process, he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season and tied the Hobart records for career touchdowns (51) and career rushing touchdowns (47), both established by Rich Kowalski ’76.
Through seven games, Webb has gained 1,023 rushing yards, scoring 14 touchdowns. He leads the league in rushing yards, rushing yards per game (146.14), yards per carry (7.8), and scoring. Webb is 12th in the nation in rushing touchdowns, rushing yards per game, and scoring. He’s also 19th in total rushing yards and 20th in all purpose yards per game (168.0).
Over the past four seasons, Webb has accumulated 3,556 rushing yards, 34 receptions for 459 yards and three touchdowns, and averages 22.4 yards per kick return.
Hobart will play its final regular season home game on Saturday, Nov. 9, when St. Lawrence University visits Boswell Field. The Saints (6-2, 4-1) are one game behind the Statesmen in the league standings. Prior to the noon kickoff, Hobart will honor its 17 seniors. Over the past four seasons, they have led the Statesmen to a 31-7 (.816) record, back-to-back Liberty League Championships, and two NCAA Playoff appearances, including last season’s historic run to the quarterfinals.
WEOS-FM (89.5/90.3 in Geneva) will broadcast the game live. Fans unable to make it to the game can also follow along online with All-Access Video and Live Stats.