MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Host Morrisville State football forced two turnovers and accumulated more than 400 yards total offense as they handed visiting Utica College a 41-24 Empire 8 loss Saturday afternoon on their home turf in Morrisville.
The Mustangs set the tone early on, collecting their first of six touchdowns of the day, less than four minutes in as Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.) hit Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) on the 53-yard pass play to claim the 7-0 lead.
Just three plays later, Morrisville State's defensive unit forced the first Utica touchdown as Jose Garcia (New York, N.Y.) dove for the ball that tipped off the Pioneers hands, collecting the interception and returning the ball to the Mustangs offensive unit.
Garcia's interception set up a 12 play, 38-yard offensive drive for the Mustangs that was capped off by a one-yard pound up the center by Ky'ere Tillery (Albany, N.Y.), his first collegiate touchdown, and 14-0 host lead.
Morrisville State's defensive unit limited the Pioneers to just 15 yards total offense in the opening quarter, seven of which came off their passing game as quarterback Logan Wilcox connected on 2-of-6 passing opportunities, a 3:41 time of possession and no first down's.
Maki Medici hit a 31-yard field goal at the 11:06 mark of the second quarter to put the visitors on the board, but Morrisville State quickly responded as Gwinner threaded two Pioneer defensive backs and hit Jermaine Cooper (New York, N.Y.) who split the defense and walked into the endzone to extend the Mustangs lead to 21-3. Gwinner's connection with Cooper was a 50-yard scoring play, capping off the 64-yard drive in just four plays.
Wilcox led the Pioneers 78 yards on the ensuing possession for the visitors, connecting with lead receiver Nate Palmer for the first Utica touchdown of the afternoon, a four yard strike over center with just over four minutes to go in the half, cutting the Mustangs lead to 11.
Morrisville State had a final chance to extend their lead to a two possession game as time expired, but the 42-yard field goal attempt into the wind went just wide of the left upright and the Mustangs carried the 21-10 lead into the break.
Utica began the third with possession after winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, and what looked like momentum was going their way behind the captaining of Wilcox, quickly turned sour as Sadeeq Nathanel (Bronx, N.Y.) stepped in front of Wilcox's pass and returned the interception 28 yards into Pioneer territory for the Mustangs.
Morrisville State capitalized on the Pioneer turnover for a second time of the afternoon, this time as senior running back Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) hit Toure Hall, Jr. (Stratford, Conn.) in the halfback option for a 40-yard touchdown pass over the heads of the Utica secondary for the 28-10 home team lead.
Utica was quick to respond, though, marching 78 yards on their next possession behind the passing of Wilcox to his receiving unit, a drive capped off by a 17-yard screen to Imani Vincent along the far sideline, but the Pat hit off the right upright, maintaining a two possession lead for the Mustangs.
Edmond used his size to pound the ball forward and on second down and three yards to go, found a hole in the line, broke a tackle and scampered 29-yards into the end zone to extend the Mustangs lead to 35-16.
Utica caught a break on their ensuing possession as Morrisville State had a defensive touchdown called back after the Garcia fumble recovery was ruled an incomplete pass, but once again the Mustangs defensive unit came up big as Patrick Barber (Lake George, N.Y.) brought down Wilcox for the sack on third down to force the punt.
Both teams played back and forth in the fourth quarter, in part due to the rainy weather that resulted in dropped passes, and five drives consisted of three-and-out plays, but Wilcox led Utica 47-yards with just over three minutes to go for their third touchdown of the day, cutting the Mustang lead to 11.
The Pioneers quickly regained possession as the onside kick attempt was recovered by the visitors, but again the Mustang's defense held strong as they forced Utica to turn the ball over on downs after a bomb pass from Wilcox was knocked down by Sadeeq Nathanel (Bronx, N.Y.) on fourth down.
Morrisville State ate up the final 1:47 of the game, and as time expired Gwinner connected with Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) for a 37-yard touchdown score, giving the senior wide receiver his 1000th career receiving yard and 41-24 Mustang Empire 8 win.
Morrisville State returns to the field next Saturday, traveling to St. John Fisher College, a homecoming for head coach Curt Fitzpatrick.
- Final score: Morrisville 41, Utica 24 (Morrisville leads series 3-2)
- Location: Drake Field, Morrisville, N.Y.
- Records: Morrisville 3-3 (1-2 E8), Utica 3-3 (1-2 E8)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Morrisville State held the Pioneers to just 7 yards total offense in the opening quarter.
- The Mustangs outgained Utica 445 yards total offense to 392 yards, gaining a total 195 yards on the ground in the running game.
- Senior Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) led all ball carriers with 153 net yards on 32 carries for one touchdown, an average of 4.8 yards per touch; adding 40 yards in the passing game as he completed 1-of-2 passes.
- Morrisville State quarterback Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.) completed 11-of-16 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns, also adding another 22 yards on seven carries.
- Gwinner hit six throughout the game, with four serving as main targets including Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) who pulled in three for 73 yards and a score, Toure Hall (Stratford, Conn.) collected 67 yards on four receptions for a score, Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) two for 56 yards and a score, and Jermaine Cooper (New York, N.Y.) one for 50 yards and a score.
- Morrisville State limited Utica to 77 yards rushing, with Pioneer Lamont McGriff leading the way with 38 yards on eight carries.
- Logan Wilcox completed 30-of-54 pass attempts under center for 315 yards and three scores, also throwing two interceptions.
- Peyton Miller and Imani Vincent were main targets for Wilcox, Miller pulling in a game high 11 for 127 yards, and Vincent nine for 97 yards and two scores.
- Defensively two were in double digits for the Mustangs, led by Jose Garcia (New York, N.Y.) who posted a team high 15 tackles, 10 solo, while causing an interception and pass break up. Rob Heitzmann (Oriskany, N.Y.) collected a collegiate high 12 total tackles, including one for a loss of two yards.
- Kwasi Addo led the Utica defensive efforts with 20 total stops, two tackles for a loss of two yards, while teammates Antonio Scala and Keanu Heedram added 12 and 10, respectively.
- Morrisville State will return to the field next Saturday, traveling to St. John Fisher College for a 2 p.m. kick-off. Utica will host Alfred University.
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.