After two weeks of falling just short at the end of games, the College finally got to celebrate as the Lions watched junior kicker Tyler Olsson’s kick do everything but fall short as the team got their first win of the season over The College at Brockport.
Things change from week to week in football and Olsson – who saw an extra-point sail wide in last week’s 24-23 overtime loss to FDU-Florham – can attest to that.
“The most important thing to have as a kicker is a short memory,” Olsson said. “I think (a short memory) is the most important quality to have as a kicker because you can never really get too high or too low. Whether you missed your last kick that you should have made or made your last kick that you should have missed there’s always another kick afterwards that is not related to any of the other kicks.”
Olsson’s field goal capped off a six play, 49-yard drive that gave the Lions the advantage in a 24-21 victory over the Golden Eagles.
“When (coach) called me out to kick the 45-yarder I felt confident,” Olsson said. “I had a good week of practice and that was it.”
“I’m so happy for him,” senior safety and team captain Matt Kreider said. “The kid works hard all week and he’s always out there doing his thing and it was a shame that he had to miss the last one, but he really redeemed himself. That was a hell of a kick.”
Another player who bounced back from last week’s loss to make an impact against the Golden Eagles was junior quarterback Jay Donoghue.
Donoghue – who didn’t record any statistics in last week’s game – led the Lions’ drive that set-up the game-winning field goal.
After the Lions stopped the Golden Eagles on a crucial 4th-and-10, Donoghue and the Lions offense went to work from their own 24-yard line with 1:03 left in the game.
Junior running back Erik Smithman started the drive with an 18-yard run, but it was Donoghue who was the backbone of the offense on the last drive as he hit wide receiver Chris Meliado on two passes for 16 yards and also ran twice himself for 14 yards to put the Lions in field-goal range.
The comeback win spoiled what was looking like a dominate performance on Homecoming Day for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles put up 478 yards of total offense on the Lions defense – 265 rushing yards and 213 passing yards – but the Lions defense would not break and came up with a few timely turnovers.
“We’re not the biggest defense,” Kreider said. “So it’s not like we’re gonna go out there and pummel offenses and dominate. What we do is fly around and use our quickness to our advantage and you might get some yards on us, but eventually we’re gonna try and pop that ball out.”
The Lions did exactly that with the Golden Eagles driving into Lions territory early in the second quarter. The defense was able to strip junior running back Andrew McCormick and recover the ball at the 32-yard line to keep the Golden Eagles from breaking the scoreless tie.
The Lions defense then took it to the Golden Eagles again after falling behind 21-7 by holding their opponents to eight first downs on five possessions and picking off a pass with 14:07 left in the game.
“Turnovers are always huge and they’ve been a key for us all year,” Kreider said. “Before the game our coaches always come in and give us four things that we really need to do in order to win and the turnover battle is always a crucial one.”
Junior defensive back Scott Mathurin’s interception put a halt to a promising Golden Eagle drive early in the fourth quarter and gave the Lions the ball as well as the momentum.
Four plays later, Donoghue connected with sophomore wide receiver Will Friedrich for a 51-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 21.
The Lions now improve to 1-2 on the season and will look ahead to their Oct. 2 contest with SUNY Cortland on Homecoming Day at Lions Stadium.