The Hobart College football team improved to 8-0 for the first time since 1954 with a 42-34 Liberty League victory over Union College on Boswell Field on Saturday, Oct. 27. The Statesmen, ranked sixth in the AFCA coaches poll and 10th in the D3football.com poll, ran for a season-high 355 yards, including a career-high 199 yards and two touchdowns for junior tailback Steven Webb.
Hobart amassed 537 yards of total offense. For the second straight game and the fifth time this season, the Statesmen offensive line did not allow a sack.
Webb, who averaged 9.5 yards per carry, gave the Statesmen the lead with a 7-0 lead with a 59-yard run late in the first quarter. The Statesmen defense stopped the Dutchmen on fourth and 1 from the Hobart 38 to give the ball back to the offense with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Hobart (8-0, 5-0) carried a 14-0 advantage into the second frame after senior quarterback Nick Strang connected with senior wide receiver Junior Woodard on a fly route up the left sideline for a one-play, 62-yard scoring drive.
Strang finished 9-of-15 for 182 yards and three touchdowns. Woodard caught three passes for 75 yards, extending his games-with-a-reception streak to 28, tying current Assistant Coach Scott Yoder ’01 for the second longest streak in school history.
Hobart made it 21 unanswered points when sophomore tight end Mike Berkowitz pulled in an 8-yard toss from Strang to cap a seven-play, 49-yard drive early in the second quarter.
Union (4-4, 4-1) answered with an eight-play, 75-yard march that sophomore quarterback Connor Eck finished off with a 31-yard scoring pass to sophomore wideout Kyle Reynolds. Eck was 18-of-31 for 245 yards with two touchdowns. He was intercepted once by junior cornerback Connor Garrett. Reynolds caught a game-high five passes for 85 yards and two TDs.
A 32-yard kick return by senior Bobby Dougherty boosted by a 5-yard off-sides penalty, put the Statesmen near midfield to start the next drive. Five plays and 51 yards later, Webb plowed into the end zone from 2-yards out for a 28-7 lead that stood up through halftime.
Union took the opening possession of the second quarter 59 yards in eight plays. Sophomore tailback Darnel Thomas finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD run. Senior linebacker Connor Beerworth intercepted Strang at the Union 11 to halt a promising Hobart drive. The Dutchmen cashed in on the opportunity six plays later when Eck scored on a 4-yard scramble. The big play of the drive was a 62-yard run by Thomas down to the Hobart 8. The extra point was no good, leaving Hobart a 28-20 lead. Thomas finished the game with 141 yards rushing and two scores.
The Statesmen restored their two-score lead with a methodical march that used 11 plays to go 57 yards and burn 4:38 off the clock. Dougherty’s 2-yard TD run gave Hobart a 35-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Thomas scored on a 9-yard run to make it a 35-27 game, but the Statesmen countered with a 10-yard TD toss from Strang to Berkowitz to make it 42-27. Berkowitz made the key play in the drive, outwrestling three Union defenders for a catch and run that covered 43 yards. He caught four passes for a game- and career-high 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Union scored the final TD of the game, a 29-yard completion from Eck to Reynolds, to make it 42-35 with 4:37 remaining, but the Dutchmen did not attempt an on-sides kick and Hobart was able to run out the clock.
Defensively, Statesmen sophomore defensive end Tyre Coleman recorded a team-high eight tackles, including a single game record five for a loss and three sacks. First-year defensive end Mark Guarino-Hyde added six solo tackles.
Union got a game-high 14 tackles from senior linebacker Noah Joseph. Senior cornerback Kevin Calello added nine stops and Beerworth recorded seven tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
Hobart will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Statesmen head north for a showdown at conference rival St. Lawrence (0-8, 0-5). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Union, which saw its four-game win streak end, will try to get back in the win column next Saturday as well, hosting Merchant Marine at noon.