In another offensive explosion, the College came out firing from their bye week with a 55-27 win over Western Connecticut State University. The win brings their record back to .500 at 2-2.
The Lions totaled 576 yards of offense on the day with senior running back Justin Doniloski posting a gaudy line of 170 total yards and three touchdowns.
“Having Justin healthy gives us a real threat every time he touches the ball,” senior wide receiver Glenn Grainger said. “With an effective run game, it opens our passing attack up, which we will need as we begin to face the top teams in the upcoming weeks.”
The scoring frenzy began at the very beginning of the game with the College taking the opening drive to the house on a 10-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Dan Dugan. While Western Connecticut responded with a touchdown of their own, Dugan led another long drive that culminated with an 8-yard pass to Doniloski for his first score.
Over the bye week, head coach Eric Hamilton decided to get creative. In the second quarter, the Lions ran a wildcat play that saw a 39-yard heave from senior running back Nick Tyson fell into the waiting arms of junior wide receiver Fred Sprengel for six to make the score 21-7. Maybe Rex Ryan should take a page out of the College’s playbook, as Tyson has played some quarterback before.
“The way the game goes, every single snap of the ball during the 60 minutes counts,” junior linebacker Sean Clark said. “From start to finish, you cannot take a play off in the game of football.”
Two more touchdown runs from Doniloski from five and two yards out respectively put the Lions at a huge advantage. While the defense surrendered a touchdown pass late in the first half, a 35-14 lead into the intermission was something to be happy about.
Three more touchdowns were scored in the second half in a variety of ways. Dugan had a 4-yard run, freshman running back Victor Scalici had a 12-yard rushing score, and (a fumble recovery) senior defensive back James Siracusa took 34 yards down field to the end zone.
Aside from the fumble recovery, the defense had an all-around good day with multiple athletes making plays. Most notably senior Greg Burns made seven tackles, giving him 285 for his career and the College’s all-time record for tackles that was held by Carl Jones for over 26 years.
In addition to Burns’ monumental game, junior linebacker Nick Bricker led the team with nine tackles and senior defensive backs Zach Friedrich and James LaFerlita each had an interception. It was a breath of fresh air for a defense that had been struggling as of late.
“Our team lives off of turnovers, momentum changing plays, and playing fast,” Clark said. “We are a very aggressive defense that isn’t afraid to bring pressure. Emphasizing intensity and having 11 defenders to the ball every play would produce more turnovers.”
The win was just what the Lions needed, but they know that the biggest thing is to make sure they can play at this high of a level consistently.
“We have a lot of seniors and fifth year guys on the team so we know what it is going to take to win,” said Grainger. “As long as we take care of the little things everything else will fall into place.”
The College returns home this weekend for their first game in over a month on Saturday Oct. 6 against SUNY Cortland. The Lions look to hand the Red Dragons their first NJAC loss.