The football team lost to Saint Francis (PA) on Senior Day 45-31. The Red Flash (4-6, 3-4) racked up 482 total yards on offense, including 119 on the ground from running back Anthony Abeid.
The Hawks (4-5, 3-3) struggled on defense throughout the game, forcing Saint Francis to punt only one time. MU couldn’t stop the Red Flash in the first half, allowing 38 points before heading into the locker room.
The Blue and White’s slow start got them into a 31-7 hole halfway through the second quarter, a deficit that they could never rebound from.
“We came out and we didn’t get things going right away,” head coach Kevin Callahan said. “We didn’t have the energy that you need to have to start a football game.”
“We didn’t start fast on either side of the ball which doesn’t help us out at all,” fifth-year senior quarterback Kyle Frazier said. “It’s something that we preach, that we have to start out fast, and we make sure that we go ahead and put points on the board fast and stop them on defense.”
K.B. Asante tied the game at seven for the Hawks with a 37-yard touchdown run with 7:54 left in the first quarter. The MU celebration, however, would be short lived.
Dane Domonkos returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and gave the Red Flash a lead that they would never lose.
Special teams hurt the Hawks immediately after the kickoff return. Saint Francis rolled the dice with a surprise onsides kick and easily recovered on the following kickoff. They turned the promising field position into three points and took a 17-7 lead.
Tempers were flaring on the field in the second quarter. With nine-and-a-half minutes left before halftime, the teams exchanged shoves after the whistle. The intensity escalated quickly and flags were all over the field. The Hawks’ Jeremy Rodriguez and Saint Francis’ Keion Wade were both ejected for throwing punches.
“There was a lot of emotion out there on the field today for both teams,” Callahan said. “In the heat of the competition and the heat of the game some players kind of let that spiral out of control a little bit.”
MU didn’t score again until there were only two-and-a-half minutes left in the first half. Julian Hayes scored from two yards out to make it a 31-14 game.
This gave the Hawks hope, as they were to receive the kickoff to open the second half and would have the opportunity to cut the lead to 10 with a touchdown.
The Red Flash proved that the Blue and White had left too much time on the clock before halftime. It took them only 1:08 to drive down the field and score a touchdown to distance themselves even further from MU, 38-14.
MU added a field goal and went into the break trailing by three touchdowns.
The Hawks drove straight down the field and cut the lead to 14 to open the second half. Frazier connected with Neal Sterling on a five-yard fade pass in the corner of the endzone to make it a 38-24 game.
No more scoring took place until the first play of the fourth quarter. John Kelly, the Saint Francis quarterback, ran for 11 yards to finish off a nine-play 56-yard drive with seven points.
Eight minutes later, Mike Upham blocked Saint Francis’ first and only punt of the game. Andrew Sutton grabbed the loose ball and raced 27 yards for a touchdown.
“We had a scheme that we thought would work,” Upham said. “We didn’t get too many opportunities with them punting it today, unfortunately. I just figured that I might as well go all out and try to block the kick and change the momentum of the game.”
“I was just kind of in the right spot at the right time,” Sutton said. “There was really nobody in front of me and it was an easy run back.”
With 6:44 remaining in the game, the Hawks trailed by 14 and needed to recover an onsides kick. The ball bounced around and MU recovered.
“We just knew we had to go out and score,” Frazier said. “We went out with the mindset that we had to score.”
Five plays later, Frazier threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted Bishop Neal inside the Saint Francis 15-yard line. The turnover ended any chance at an MU comeback.
Saturday, the Hawks travel to Robert Morris for a Northeast Conference matchup.
This was scheduled to be the last game of the season for the Blue and White, but they are still deciding whether or not they should reschedule the game against Central Connecticut that was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
“I think everyone on the team would love another opportunity to play football,” Upham said.
PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography