The Hobart football team won its home opener 24-16 over visiting Carnegie Mellon this afternoon. It’s the eighth consecutive season the Statesmen have won their Boswell Field debut.
Hobart (1-1) produced 321 yards of offense, including 216 passing from Doug Vella. Vella was 16-of-26 for 216 yards and two touchdowns, completing seven passes for 81 yards to sophomore wideout Garth Muratori.
The Tartans (2-1) picked up 295 yards, led by quarterback Phil Pantalone’s career-high 166 yards through the air. Wideout Brendan Howe was his top target, making six catches for a game-high 108 yards.
Hobart Ryan Robinson and CMU senior linebacker Devin Murray shared game-high honors with nine tackles apiece.
The Statesmen opened the day’s scoring on their second possession on a 51-yard flea flicker. Vella hit Tyler Vincent, who got behind the secondary, in stride near the CMU 10. The extra point gave Hobart a 7-0 edge.
Carnegie Mellon countered with a 13-play, 63-yard drive that junior fullback Justin Pratt capped with a 1-yard plunge. The Tartans tied the game on the point after try.
However, the lead was short-lived as Andrew Marlier ran back the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. It’s the first kickoff return by a Statesman since Sept. 30, 2000, when Dyshaun Washington ’04 ran back the opening kickoff against St. Lawrence a school record 97 yards.
CMU again answered with a scoring drive. After a 38-yard kick return by first-year Jake Nardone put the Tartans near midfield, the visitors moved to the Hobart 11 before settling for a 28-yard field by junior Elli Carnevale.
The Statesmen seemed poised to score again on their next drive, but CMU forced a fumble at their own 10 and recovered to quell the threat. Hobart took a 14-10 lead into halftime.
With the opening drive of the second half, the Statesmen added to their lead thanks to Conor Callahan 24-yard field goal. The three-pointer proved to be the only points of the third quarter.
Vella’s first interception of the season, collected by senior safety Joshua Kresge, proved costly. Three plays later, Pratt rumbled in from 3 yards out to cut Hobart’s lead to 17-16. Carnevale’s extra point attempt sailed wide right, leaving the Statesmen with a one point edge.
Hobart responded with a 7-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard pass from Vella to Paul Overdorf. Callahan’s extra point gave the Statesmen a 24-16 lead with 7:36 remaining.
On its next drive, CMU covered 30 yards before Pantalone threw a pass to Howe. The receiver was hit by Chris Szymanski (7 tkls) as his hands made contact with the ball. Kyle O’Laughlin (7 tkls) completed the tip drill at the Hobart 35 for the team’s first interception of the season.
Hobart ran 3:42 off the clock before punting the ball back to Carnegie Mellon. The Tartans had just 11.9 seconds to produce a touchdown and two-point conversion from 78 yards away. On first down, Howe made a catch for 14 yards and threw a lateral in the direction of a teammate. The pitch came up short and the Statesmen recovered the loose ball with 1.2 seconds left to secure the win.
Hobart opens Liberty League play on Sept. 26, when the Statesmen visit Susquehanna. Kickoff in Selinsgrove, Pa., is scheduled for 2 p.m.