MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State football team opened the 2018 home slate with a 34-26 non-league victory over visiting St. Lawrence University Friday night, withstanding an hour and 13 minute delay due to thunderstorms in the area to capture the win.
Morrisville State set the tone early on in the first quarter as the Saints attempted to strike in the Mustangs territory but were denied when safety Deondrade Wells (Goshen, N.Y.) intercepted the ball at the 47-yard line, returning it into St. Lawrence territory to start the host's first drive of the night. Within minutes, Morrisville State senior quarterback Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.) scrambled across the goal like to give the Mustangs the early lead, capped off by a Alexander Stewart (Norwich, N.Y.) extra point for the 7-0 advantage.
After exchanging possessions, Morrisville State backed the Saints up to their own 23 yard line and forced the punt, and unfortunately for the visitors, it hit off the back of one of their own and into the hands of sophomore linebacker Marc Eberley (Whitesboro, N.Y.) who downed the ball for the Mustangs at the 25 yard line.
Morrisville State capitalized on their field position and Gwinner found Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) over center for the 12-yard scoring pass play and 14-0 lead after Stewart completed the PAT.
St. Lawrence responded in the second quarter with a 12-play drive that marched 80-yards that was capped off by a five-yard pass completion from Tyler Grochot to Travis Marnell in the left corner of the end zone, cutting the host lead to one possession.
That was short-lived though, as Morrisville State turned a 61-yard kick-off return by Kinsey Williams (Holland Patent, N.Y.) into another short scoring drive, as Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) posted back to back carries, including an 11-yard touchdown run up the center for a 21-7 Morrisville State lead.
Morrisville State added to their lead with just over two minutes to go in the half, as Boga recovered a fumble in the end zone for a fourth Mustang touchdown of the half.
St. Lawrence added one final touchdown before the half, a quarterback keeper under center by Grochot with 34 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Mustangs, who elected to receive in the second half, opened the third quarter with a six minute drive, but came up empty as Stewart's field goal into the 21+ MPH winds missed just wide of the left upright, turning possession over to the Saints.
Within two plays, Grochet pulled the Saints within a touchdown, hitting Andrew Murphy on a 74 yard strike over the head of the Mustang secondary, before safety Jose Garcia (New York, N.Y.) chased Murphy down at the Morrisville six yard line. On the ensuing play, Grochet connected with Marnell for his second tally of the day, making it a 27-19 ball game.
Morrisville State responded on the ensuing possession with their longest drive of the night, utilizing the running game after Gwinner connected with Bradshaw for a 19-yard gain. Gwinner posted an 11-yard scramble down to the Saints 14-yard line, before back-to-back carries by Kraig Gilbert (Silver Creek, N.Y.) and Edmond, regaining the 15 point lead for the hosts. The Mustangs completed the 75-yard drive in 12 plays, consuming nearly seven minutes of the clock.
Alone in the third quarter, the Mustangs held possession of the ball for nearly 13 minutes outgaining the Saints 81- to 14-yards in the running game.
Grochet hit Marnell early in the fourth quarter to bring the Saints within eight, before both teams battled time against the impeding storm that eventually rolled into the Mustang Valley with just 4:40 remaining in the contest, forcing the over an hour weather delay.
After play resumed, St. Lawrence threated to even the contest, but the Mustang defense came up huge on two plays; most notably a sack by John Shirley (Sandy Creek, N.Y.) that dropped replacement quarterback Aaron Ruthman eight yards, before Wells knocked the ball down on a fourth down opportunity for the Saints, turning the ball over on downs to Morrisville State.
- Final Score: Morrisville State 34, St. Lawrence University 26 (halftime: Morrisville 27-13)
- Location: Morrisville, N.Y.
- Records: Morrisville State 2-1, St. Lawrence 1-3
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The hosts posted a 14-0 early first quarter lead, and extended that to a 27-13 advantage at the half.
- Severe thunderstorms halted the contest for over an hour late in the fourth quarter, with play resuming after 1:14 minutes.
- Morrisville State raced out to 221 yards net rushing, while holding the Saints to just 41.
- Senior Nick Edmond led all ball carriers with 137 net yards and two touchdown scores on 26 carries.
- St. Lawrence maintained their attack offensively through the air, out gunning the Mustangs 391 to 136 yards passing, as Tyler Grochet led the way with 299 yards and three touchdown strikes, completing 22-of-43 passes. Travis Marnell led the receiving unit with 10 catches for 114-yards and three scores.
- Morrisville State senior quarterback Brandon Gwinner was 15-for-24 for 136 yards and a touchdown, adding 50 net yards on seven carries in the running game for a score.
- Raffaele Bradshaw and Jermaine Cooper were the main targets for Gwinner; Bradshaw reigning in six for 49 yards and Cooper five for 53-yards.
- Alexander Stewart averaged 40.0 yards per punt for the hosts, placing two inside the 20.
- Safety Jose Garcia recorded a single game high 13 total tackles, six solo stops, while registering four pass break ups.
- Michael Bodnar added eight stops, two for a loss of five yards, as Morrisville State collected a game total 11 tackles for a loss of 38 yards.
- John Shirley, Ernesto Mitchell and Jermaine Rankine each recorded sacks.
- Morrisville State will return to Drake Field next Saturday, hosting Alfred University at 12 p.m. in the Mustangs homecoming contest, while opening Empire 8 action.
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.