MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Junior Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) carried the ball for 140 yards and three touchdown scores Saturday in his 2017 season debut, as host Morrisville State College football powered past visiting Norwich University 34-20 on Drake Field in Morrisville.
Morrisville State outgained the Cadets offensively, 394 yards to 291, with a majority of their gain in the running game as they collected 270 net yards on 50 total attempts. The Mustangs added an additional 124 yards in the passing game, as quarterback Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.) completed 8-of-14 passes including a touchdown.
Linebackers Kendall Clarke (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Jarrod Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) each posted eight total tackles to lead the defensive unit, with Faniel gathering an interception to go along with his tallies on the afternoon.
Norwich was able to gain ground in the running game, accumulating 248 for the day on 47 attempts, 124 that came from quarterback Philippe Bazinet. Aaron Conner added another 97 on 24 attempts for a score.
Bazinet went 5-for-19 for 43 yards in the passing game, completing a touchdown throw to Conner.
Jonathan Moltimer led the defensive unit with 14 total tackles, six solo stops, while recording a caused fumble and fumble recovered. Bo Phillips added eight in the defensive efforts, six tackles that were solo stops.
After trading possessions early on in the first quarter, Morrisville State's Gwinner hit Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) for a 20 yard gain, and then utilized four straight carries by senior back Darrel West (Syracuse, N.Y.) that covered 28 total yards to bring the Mustangs inside the Norwich 10 yard line. Gwinner found a hole up center on the quarterback keeper, for the eight-yard score midway through the opening frame for the early 6-0 host lead.
A 34-yard kick-off return by Norwich's Tristan Weathers set up the visitors at midfield on the ensuing possession, but the Morrisville State defense withstood the fight only and forced the Cadets to settle for a 24-yard field goal in the 12-play, nearly five-minute drive.
Morrisville State regained possession with just under three minutes to go in the quarter, and marched downfield to start the second quarter on the Cadet 19-yard line.
Early in the second, Edmond escaped around the outside on the left for a 12-yard gain, before powering up the center for the score three plays later for a 13-3 host lead.
Norwich was able to respond on the following drive, taking advantage of the running game on two large gains, before Bourque bounced off the line into the right hand side of the end zone to cut the lead to 13-10.
That was short lived however, as Morrisville State added 14 to the scoreboard before the halftime period on consecutive scoring drives, the first a 15-yard scramble up center by Edmond after the block by Mitch Werenczak (Mohawk, N.Y.) at 5:17.
Gwinner hit Faniel with the long ball on a 46-yard pass play, before Edmond capped off the six play drive with a one-yard up and over dive into the end zone for the 27-10 host lead with 1:08 to go at the half.
Norwich took advantage of a Mustang fumble at the start of the third quarter on the kick-off, but were turned away as the Morrisville State defense again made four straight stops inside the six-yard line to prevent the score. Facing a fourth down situation, Bazinet attempted to move the ball forward for the score, but Michael Bodnar (Miller Place, N.Y.) wrapped him up and brought him down short of the end zone, turning the ball over on downs inside the one.
Utilizing the strength of Edmond, Morrisville State gained some room behind two straight carries by the junior, before Gwinner hit Jackson-Conner for the 19-yard gain out to the Mustangs 39.
Edmond moved the ball for the Mustangs down to the seven, before Norwich was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on third down, giving Morrisville State a fresh set of downs.
Two plays later, Gwinner connected with Makenzie Zemak (Greer, S.C.) for the score, a two-yard pass play over center, for the 34-13 lead. Gwinner's connection to Zemak capped off the 17-play, 99.5 yard drive that consumed over nine minutes of the clock in the third.
The Mustangs, who held Norwich scoreless since late in the second quarter, kept up their defensive momentum in the final frame, and as the Cadets made an attempt to score, Faniel extended his hand to intercept the shovel forward.
Norwich was able to break through the defensive unit late in the quarter, completing their longest drive of the afternoon on a three-yard pass from Bazinet to Conner, making it a 34-20 ball game.
Morrisville State returns to the field Saturday, September 16, hosting Buffalo State College in the Empire 8 opener. Game time is scheduled for noon on Drake Field in Morrisville.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2016 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2016 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.