MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Host Morrisville State College collected nearly 200 more total offensive yards than visiting conference foe St. John Fisher College Saturday, closing out the 2017 home slate with a stunning 35-28 Empire 8 victory on Drake Field in Morrisville.
The win is the first for the Mustangs in the conference under direction of head coach Curt Fitzpatrick, as they improve to 3-6 overall, 1-5 in Empire 8 play with one final outing remaining on the schedule for the 2017 campaign.
Morrisville State nearly doubled its opponent in the running game, outgaining the Cardinals 219 to 121 in net yards rushing, 184 behind the power of junior running back Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) on 36 carries. Edmond rushed for a collegiate best on the day, averaging 5.1 per carry for the Mustangs backfield unit.
Sophomore quarterback Bill Flatow (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) in just his second start under center, competed 19-of-27 passes for 276 yards and five touchdown passes, including one to junior receiver Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) for the lead with just over one minute remaining in the contest.
Bradshaw pulled in four for 35 yards, but it was sophomore Ryan Zophy (Canastota, N.Y.) who had notched a collegiate best outing, snagging eight for a total 122 yards and two touchdown scores. Jermaine Cooper (New York, N.Y.) added four to the Mustangs total, registering 56 yards and a touchdown.
Flatow also added 28 net yards to his totals on the ground, while punting away three for a punt average of 38.7 yards per kick on the day.
After a two-yard run by James Chambers midway through the first quarter to give St. John Fisher the 7-0 lead, Morrisville State responded on the ensuing possession as Flatow hit Cooper on the 25-yard scoring slant play to cap off an 11-play, 75 yard drive. Kinsey Williams (Holland Patent, N.Y.) added the extra point, tying the contest at seven with 2:45 to go in the first quarter.
Playing to the back-and-forth theme, Fisher found a hole down and returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards before being knocked out by senior Martell Robinson (Rochester, N.Y.) at the Mustangs 20, who saved the touchdown score. But a mere four plays later, Fisher regained the lead with a five yard passing strike from Joshua Michels to Mike Collichio with 34 ticks to go in the opening frame.
Early in the second, Flatow gathered the high snap and after getting pressure from the Fisher line, found Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) over center who walked into the end zone for the 34 yard scoring pass play. Flatow's strike completed the 11 play, 87 yard drive that ate up over five minutes of the clock.
On the kickoff, Shawn Pierson (Newport, N.Y.) knocked the ball free from the arms of Fisher's kick return specialist, and in the direction of Jace Eastman (Mexico, N.Y.) who fell on the ball to regain possession for the Mustangs. However, Fisher would get the ball back three plays later as Brennan Thompson stepped in front of the Mustangs wide receiver and picked off Flatow for an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown, and 21-14 visitor lead.
After forcing the Cardinals to a three-and-out on their next possession, Morrisville State would send the game into the half knotted at 21, as a 22-yard rushing gain by Edmond set up an eight-yard scoring strike from Flatow to Zophy in the back corner of the end zone with 19 seconds showing on the clock in the half.
Morrisville State posted their first lead of the game midway through the third for the contests lone score in the quarter, completing the 67-yard drive in just two plays, both to Zophy. Flatow hit the sophomore for a 35-yard gain down to the Fisher 32, before finding him yet again as the ball sailed just over the head of the Cardinal defense and into the hands of Zophy for the 32-yard scoring play, and 28-21 host lead.
Fisher evened the contest with 9:43 to go in the final quarter, as Chambers scampered three-yards into the end zone for the score.
After exchanging possessions, Morrisville State regained control of the ball with just under six minutes to go at midfield. Flatow hit Zophy on the swing option for a 23 yard gain along the far sideline to bring the ball down to the Fisher 17.
With time winding down, Flatow, on second and goal, connected with Bradshaw who went up and over two defenders to rein the ball in in the back left corner for the go ahead score with 1:16 to go. Williams converted his fifth extra point of the afternoon, giving the Mustangs the one possession cushion.
Fisher put together one last effort off the arm of Alejandro Utset in the closing minute, but a huge hit resulted in a sack for senior Kendall Clarke (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and forced the ball loose and into the arms of Scott Irons (Syracuse, N.Y.) to fell on the ball to secure the win for the Mustangs.
Clarke finished with a team high 12 tackles on the day, six solo stops, while recording a sack and two tackles for a loss of seven yards. He also recorded a quarterback hurry on the day. Fellow senior Greg Elliott (Hubbardsville, N.Y.) registered eight, including a sack, on senior day.
Morrisville State outgained Fisher 495 to 301 yards total offense, with a majority of the visitors gain coming through the air. Michels finished 8-for-22 with two interceptions and 154 yards, while Utset added a 3-for-5 performance for 26 yards. Chambers finished with 74 yards in the running game for the Cardinals.
Collichio pulled in a team high three for 62 yards among the Cardinal wide receiving unit.
Cameron Bellino led the defensive efforts with 14 total stops, while teammates David Carroll and Evan Majewski added 13 and 11, respectively.
Morrisville State returns to the field next Saturday at nearby rival Utica College, wrapping up the season with a 1 p.m. kickoff in Utica.
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.