MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Senior wide receiver Joe Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) caught a career best 15 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown Saturday, but the host Morrisville State College Mustangs dropped a heartbreaking 28-27 decision to visiting Union College on Drake Field in Morrisville.
The Mustangs fall to 2-2 overall, and will resume Empire 8 play next Saturday as they hit the road at Hartwick College.
Faniel was the favored target for junior quarterback Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.) who completed a collegiate high 30 passes in 53 attempts, throwing for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Senior tight end Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) who added 68 yards on six receptions, as the hosts doubled up the Dutchmen in total offense, 211 to 427 yards on the day.
Senior running back Gram Nelson (Bemus Point, N.Y.) led the Morrisville State running game, collecting 70 yards on nine carries, with Gwinner adding another 42 in 14 attempts.
Junior defensive lineman Scott Irons, Jr. (Syracuse, N.Y.) collected six total tackles, two of which were sacks for a loss of four total yards.
Union took a 14-0 lead over the hosts after the opening quarter, as Derek Khnaizir posted a five-yard scoring run with 6:54 remaining, before adding to their total with 47 seconds to go as Nick Cascione hit Griffen Beal on the slant, who walked into the end zone after missing two tackles.
Morrisville State battled back though, in the second quarter, putting their first score of the afternoon on the board with 8:44 remaining in the frame as Gwinner found Faniel for the three-yard slant scoring play, completing the 83-yard, 17-play drive. Within that drive itself, the Mustangs had two huge fourth down conversions, including a 12-yard pass play to Faniel to keep the drive alive, before Gwinner again connected with Faniel over center for the first down after facing a fourth and four situation.
On the ensuing Dutchmen drive, Morrisville State freshman corner Deondrade Wells (Goshen, N.Y.) recorded a second interception in as many games, as Cascione went deep but was picked off by Wells who stepped in front of the pass to regain possession for the Mustangs.
Morrisville State took advantage of the turnover and with five seconds to go, evened the contest at 14 as Gwinner maintained patience in the backfield, eventually finding Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) who went up over double coverage in the end zone to pull the ball in for the tying score.
Union posted the lone touchdown of the third quarter, as Cascione hit Travis Demby just inside the far side pylon for the 21-14 lead.
Morrisville State carried momentum into the fourth quarter, and again evened the score at 21 early in the fourth, as Gilbert capped off a 65-yard drive with a seven yard scoring run at the 11:43 mark, but seconds later, Union went back in front, as Beal returned the kick-off 95 yards down the far sideline for the 28-21 visitor lead.
Not going away easily, Morrisville State marched downfield with minutes remaining on the clock. Gwinner kept the drive alive with a 28-yard scramble before hitting a wide open Boga in the back of the end zone for a second time to bring the Mustangs within one. The PAT attempt, though, sailed wide right of the goalpost as Union held on for the 28-27 advantage.
Cascione finished 13-for-20 in passing, collecting 134 yards and two touchdown scores, while Khnaizir added 50 net yards in the running game.
Beal led the Dutchmen in receiving, pulling in four for 66 yards and a score.
Kick-off in Hartwick is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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 & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.