Hobart College advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs with a 35-16 victory over Curry College this afternoon at Boswell Field. Senior running back Jack Holleran (Rosemary Choate Hall/Sharon, Mass.) rushed for 151 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown to lead the Statesmen.
Hobart (9-1) caught a break on its first possession of the contest. On third and goal from the one, senior running back Ty Godinho (Lancaster/Lancaster, N.Y.) lost the ball before reaching the goal line, but sophomore tackle Mike DePersis (Johnson City/Johnson City, N.Y.) fell on the loose ball in the end zone to give the Statesmen a 7-0 lead.
Showers bogged down both offenses for the remainder of the opening quarter. The Statesmen returned to pay dirt with 10:18 remaining in the first half on Holleran’s 76-yard gallop. The play is the longest in Hobart postseason history.
On their ensuing possession, the Colonels (9-2) took advantage of a short field and moved 45 yards in six plays, capped by a 31-yard sophomore quarterback Denis Hill (Silver Lake/Pembroke, Mass.) screen pass to junior running back Brandon Benoit (St. Luke’s/Stamford, Conn.). The two-point conversion failed.
Hill finished the day 13-of-33 for 174 yards and two touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice. Benoit ended the day with 72 yards rushing.
Inside the final minute of the half, senior wide receiver Dan Suozzi (New Hampton/New Canaan, Conn.) returned a Colonel punt 37 yards to the Curry 40. Three plays later, senior wide receiver Rick Piñero (Smithtown/Hauppauge, N.Y.) pulled in a 23-yard strike from sophomore quarterback Shawn Mizro (Newark/Newark, N.Y.) to give Hobart a 21-6 lead at halftime.
Mizro completed 11-of-24 for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Suozzi finished with six catches for a game-high 101 yards and a TD.
The Statesmen defense was outstanding, particularly in the first half. Hobart limited the Curry offense to just 65 yards in the first half, including minus 3 yards on the ground. The Colonels, who came into the game ranked 23rd in the nation in rushing offense (244.2 yds/g), managed just 44 yards rushing on the day.
Junior cornerback Jamie Anderson (Canandaigua/Canandaigua, N.Y.) led the Statesmen with nine tackles and an interception. Senior tackle Walt Bennett (Waterloo/Waterloo, N.Y.), junior linebacker Jimmy Gradis (Elwood John Glenn/Greenlawn, N.Y.), and first-year linebacker Jeff Sanders (Camden/Camden, N.Y.) added six tackles each.
Sophomore linebacker Sean Crowley (Stoughton/Canton, Mass.) paced the Colonel defense with a game-high 11 stops.
Curry scored the only points of the third quarter on a 26-yard field goal by first-year David Vincent (Grafton/Grafton, Mass.).
Early in the fourth quarter, Godinho reached the end zone on a two-yard plunge, boosting Hobart’s advantage to 28-9.
Curry tried to climb back into the contest when sophomore running back Jarrad Jordan (Framingham/Framingham, Mass.) scored from 2 yards out at the 10:27 mark, but the Statesmen responded with an 8-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard Mizro to Suozzi pass for the final touchdown of the day.
Hobart benefited from excellent field position all afternoon. The Statesmen’s average starting field position was their own 46.
Hobart advances to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs for the second time since 2000. The Statesmen will travel to Rowan University on Nov. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.