Hawks Drop Contest to NEC Rival St. Francis, 28-10

The Hawks football team dropped their contest to the Red Flash of St. Francis after having a hard time capitalizing on their two first half turnovers. With a final score of 28-10, MU falls to 3-4 while their former Northeast Conference foe improves to 2-4 for the season.

The Red Flash took a quick handle on the game as they scored on the opening kickoff after returning a blue and white fumble. St. Francis then followed the play with a pick six that pushed the lead to three scores all in the first quarter. The Hawks never had a chance to get the running game going against a suffocating St. Francis defense that had six sacks and two interceptions.

St. Francis managed to outgain the Hawks, 234 yards to 191 yards, as Hawk quarterbacks junior Brandon Hill and senior Greg DePugh combined for just 10-of-28 passing for 81-yards. Hill completed 44 of those yards while DePugh accounted for 37 yards.

MU’s defense held the Red Flash’s running back, Kyle Harbridge, to under 100-yards for the first time all season, as he finished with 94-yards on 26-carries with a lone touchdown.

“St. Francis is a well-coached, physical football team,” said head coach Kevin Callahan. “When you get behind early, like we did today, it becomes very difficult to win. St. Francis was able to control the line of scrimmage against our offense and they challenged every throw. Defensively, I thought we did a pretty nice job. We limited [Kyle] Harbridge to under 100-yards for the first time all season and only allowed one play over 20 yards all afternoon.”

The Red Flash jumped out of the gate when Hawks’ return man, senior Tevrin Brandon, was hit and lost control of the football which led to St Francis’s Bishop Neal scooping up the loose ball and returning it 8-yards.

Following a three-and-out on the Hawks ensuing possession, the Red Flash drove 49-yards en route to an 18-yard touchdown from Red Flash’s Max Ward to Terrell Smith.

On the Hawks next possession, Hill was picked off by St Francis’s DaQuan Minter and the interception was returned 44-yards to put the Hawks down three scores with 5:18 left in the first quarter. The play also marked the second interception for the Hawks in the first quarter.

MU managed to get on the board with 4:32 left in the second quarter as the Hawks drove 60-yards on 11-plays, finishing with a 46-yard field goal by senior Eric Spillane. The Hawks got some momentum after a 42-yard field goal attempt by St. Francis was blocked by sophomore Darnell Leslie, placing MU almost at midfield with time dwindling in the third quarter.

The Hawks broke the goal line on the first play of the fourth quarter with an eight yard reverse to senior Thaddeus Richards. The 10-play, 54-yard drive cut the lead to 21-10 with 14:53 to play in the game. The Hawks could not capitalize on their fourth quarter opportunities and the score was finalized, 28-10.

Senior Neal Sterling led all MU receivers with four receptions for 40-yards while the running back tandem of senior K.B. Asante (56-yards on 12-carries) and junior Julian Hayes (46-yards on 15-carries) were both unable to surpass the 100-yard mark for the first time in five games.

MU was 3-for-16 on third down while St. Francis was 7-for-16. A pair of Hawks had career highs on the defensive side, with junior Ify Asoluka recording eight tackles and junior Andrew Jurczynski also adding eight. Senior Pat O’Hara finished with seven tackles on the day.

The Hawks will return home Saturday, Oct. 19 to take on the Ivy League’s Cornell University Big Red for their Homecoming Game. Cornell is 1-3 overall and 0-1 on the road while MU is 1-1 at home. Kickoff is set for 1 pm at Kessler Field.