Courtesy of Utica College – Sports Information Dept.
Dallas, PA – The Utica College football team jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back as the Pioneers topped host Misericordia University 40-6 in the season opener for both squads on Saturday. Utica senior Jerred Beniquez (Port Ewen, NY/Kingston) posted 260 all-purpose yards and one touchdown, while the Pioneer defense held the Cougars to -8 yards rushing on 18 carries on the afternoon.
Utica improved to 1-0 for the 12th time in the 16 year history of the program, while Misericordia dropped to 0-1 on the year. Utica will stay home next Saturday and host nationally-ranked No. 22 Ohio Northern University at the Indium Home Opener at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. The contest is scheduled to kick off at 12 p.m.
Utica is now 3-0 against Misericordia in the last three seasons and has outscored the Cougars 137-34 in that stretch.
Beniquez, who posted 115 punt return yards, 86 receiving yards and 60 rushing yards, now needs 164 all-purpose yards to surpass Cody Elliot ’09 for second on the College’s career all-purpose yards list. Beniquez’s 86 yards receiving moved him into seventh on the College’s all-time receiving yards list. His nine catches also moved him into fifth on the College’s all-time list for passes caught.
Everything seemed to go the Pioneers way all afternoon and on the first play from scrimmage Utica’s Nick Johnson (Brooklyn, NY/Fort Hamilton) forced a safety to give the visitor’s a 2-0 lead and the ball just 12 seconds into the contest.
Senior quarterback Teddy VanGalen (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) then engineered a 13-play 68 yard scoring drive on the Pioneers first possession to earn a 9-0 lead. Freshman bruiser Lindell Reed (Rome, NY/Rome Free Academy) punched in the opening touchdown of the game, the first of his career, to cap the scoring drive for Utica. Reed finished the afternoon with 49 yards rushing on seven carries to along with two touchdowns. VanGalen had a solid outing as he completed 22-of-32 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown. VanGalen now needs 23 yards passing to become just the third quarterback in program-history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a career.
UC forced a three and out on defense and did not waste any time getting back into the end zone as Beniquez took a 60 yard reverse to the house on the first play of the drive to give Utica a 16-0 lead with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
Before the end of the quarter the Pioneers went on to score a defensive touchdown to take a 23-0 lead. Junior Chancellor Harris (West Henrietta, NY/Rush Henrietta) forced a fumble inside the Misericordia five yard line and senior captain Frank DeNome (New Windsor, NY/Cornwall) jumped on the ball in the end zone to give Utica the convincing first quarter advantage.
Utica’s defense was dominant once again in the second quarter and freshman kicker Desmond Akpanoko(Roosevelt, NY/Roosevelt) drilled his first collegiate field goal as time expired in the first half, from 33 yards out, to give the Pioneers a 26-0 lead at the intermission. Akpanoko finished his first career game with eight points on one field goal and five extra points.
UC did not slow down to start the second half as VanGalen engineered an 11-play 75 yard scoring drive capped by a 19 yard touchdown pass to Shawn Marchant (Kingston, NY/Kingston) to give the Pioneers a 33-0 lead. Marchant finished the day with four catches for 61 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown.
Utica capped its scoring on the day when Lindell Reed (Rome, NY/Rome Free Academy) scampered for a 25 yard score to give Utica a 40-0 lead with 2:21 to go in the third quarter.
The UC defense was dominant all afternoon as it minimized Misericordia’s time of possession by forcing the Cougar offense to turn the ball over, or punt, in less than four downs on eight occasions. UC held the Cougars to just eight first downs, including just two in the first three quarters. Misericordia was only able to manage 131 yards of total offense compared to Utica’s 482.
Junior linebacker Derrick Sekuterski (Depew, NY/Depew) led the Pioneers with seven tackles, two pass breakups and a half sack. Anthony Beaubrun (West Hempstead, NY/West Hempstead), Matthew McCoy(Sherrill, NY/Vernon Verona Sherrill), Anthony Bierria-Anderson (Freeport, NY/Freeport), Matt Stone(Rochester, NY/Brighton), Dehstin Smart (Paterson, NJ/Hackensack), Antonio Scala (Coram, NY/Longwood) and Xyier Woodard (Albany, NY/LaSalle) each posted four tackles on the afternoon. Woodard, a sophomore, also registered his first collegiate sack. Frank DeNome (New Windsor, NY/Cornwall) posted his first sack of the season and Nick Yelich (Lancaster, NY/Depew) also chipped in with a half sack.
Junior backup quarterback Chris Van Houten (Blauvelt, NY/Pearl River) saw his first career varsity action in the fourth quarter and completed 2-of-3 passes for 19 yards. Freshman tight end Alex Damiani(Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) caught three balls for 46 yards in his collegiate debut. Sophomore Malcolm Stowe (Coram, NY/Longwood) added seven carries for 48 yards for the Pioneers, while Imani Vincent(Brooklyn, NY/Sheepshead Bay) caught two balls for 37 yards.
Freshman Nick Pizzarelli (Rockville Centre, NY/Oceanside) and Jack Derby (Fonda, NY/Fultonville Fonda)also got in on the action with three tackles each in their first collegiate game.