MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Morrisville State football opened the 2018 season Saturday afternoon with a convincing 34-13 win over host Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont; dominating the Cadets from the opening whistle.
This is the second straight season the Mustangs have opened with a victory over the Cadets.
Morrisville State more than doubled the hosts in total offense on the day, outgaining Norwich a total 459 yards offense, while defensively limiting them to 215.
A majority of the Mustangs offensive game came through the air as senior Brandon Gwinner (Schnectady, N.Y.) connected on 22-of-31 passes for a 311-yard gain, throwing four touchdown scores.
Senior tight end Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) led the receiving corp with four catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Toure Hall (Stratford, Conn.) pulled in four for 65-yards and a score in his collegiate debut, while teammates Jermaine Cooper (New York, N.Y.) and Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) added another 120 yards on a combined nine receptions, each reining one in to add to the scoreboard.
Morrisville State posted an additional 148 on the ground, pounding the ball forward with a 100-yard game from senior running back Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) on 21 carries.
Taylor Avanzato (Peru, N.Y.) led the Mustangs defensively with his seven tackle outing, posting five solo, while safety Mike Bodnar (Miller Place, N.Y.) collected six stops in the secondary. Deondrade Wells (Goshen, N.Y.) registered four solo tackles, knocking down three passes.
After exchanging possessions in the opening quarter, Morrisville State's defense forced a three and out on the following Norwich possession, setting the offensive unit up at their own 47-yard drive midway through the first.
A holding penalty backed the Mustangs up to their own 44-yard line but on the ensuing play, Gwinner connected with Cooper for a 32-yard gain down to the Norwich 24, setting up a 7-yard scoring pass play to Bradshaw four plays later, and a 7-0 visitor lead after the PAT completion by Alexander Stewart (Norwich, N.Y.).
Stewart added to the Mustang lead on their next possession, completing the 31-yard field goal attempt with 2:27 to go in the first.
Special teams forced negative yardage on the kick-off return attempt, forcing the Cadets to start from their own eight yard line, before the defense once again limited the hosts to just three plays on the field in their drive attempt.
Norwich downed the punt at midfield where the Mustangs took over to end the quarter.
Within five plays, Morrisville State struck again, taking the 17-0 lead, as Gwinner completed a 33-yard pass to Hall for his first collegiate touchdown at the 12:59 mark of the second quarter.
Norwich was able to get on the board midway through with a three-yard scoring run from Aaron Carter to cut the deficit to one possession, but the Mustangs pulled away with a minute remaining before the half with their third touchdown of the game, this time a seven-yard strike to Cooper to complete a 90-yard, 14 play drive, their longest of the game.
A scoreless third frame sent the game into the final quarter with a 24-7 Mustang advantage, before Stewart added to the difference with his second field goal of the day, a kick from 36-yards out a mere three seconds in.
Norwich was able to respond with their second and final score of the afternoon on their ensuing possession, a 19-yard pass from Matthew Chaffee to Connor Bourque at 13:03.
Morrisville State, though, pushed on, adding a 58-yard throwing score from Gwinner to Boga with 2:37 remaining in the contest.
The Mustangs return to the field Saturday, traveling to Hobart College for a non-conference and first meeting between the two programs. Kick off is scheduled for noon on the 8th in Geneva.
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.