Southern Connecticut State Plows Past Stonehill, 16-6

Junior receiver John Gomes finished with 115 all-purpose yards today, catching three passes for 85 yards and adding a 30 yard kickoff return. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Slowley steers Owls to snowy NE-10 win with 168 yards and touchdown

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (October 29, 2011) – Southern Connecticut State University held a slight edge in total offense, got a key punt return for a touchdown and forced three turnovers to claim a 16-6 victory over Stonehill College in near whiteout conditions at snowy Jess Dow Field this afternoon.

Senior tailback Rashaad Slowley (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) led the way for Southern Connecticut with 168 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown. He accounted for nearly three quarters of Southern's 232 yards of total offense on the afternoon as the Owls plowed their way to 205 yards rushing and just 32 passing in the wintery conditions. Stonehill nearly matched SCSU by posting 228 yards of total offense, with 132 coming through the air and 96 on the ground. Southern forced three turnovers, while committing two themselves.

Sophomore Vaughn Magee (Mastic Beach, N.Y./William Floyd) added 48 yards on ten carries for Southern, while senior Andre Privott (Middletown, Conn./Middletown) returned three punts for 49 yards, including a 35 yard touchdown return to open the scoring.

Grad student Chevar Rankins (Middletown, Conn./Xavier) led the Southern defensive effort with ten tackles (five solo), while senior Gavin Nelson (Cambridge, Mass./Somerville) added seven stops (six solo), including 1.0 sacks for a loss of six yards, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and blocked kick. Senior Sam-uel Johnson (Newark, N.J./Westminster School) contributed six tackles (one solo), 1.0 for a loss of a yard, a pass breakup and returned a blocked extra point for a two point defensive conversion.

Junior wide receiver John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) led Stonehill with 115 all-purpose yards as he caught three passes for 85 yards to go with a kickoff return for 30 yards. Sophomore quarterback Jesse Hunt (Winchendon, Mass./Oakmont Regional) completed 10-of-25 passes for 132 yards with an interception. The first quarter pickoff snapped a streak of 89 pass attempts to start his collegiate career without an interception. Junior Jermetrius Troy (Mattapan, Mass./Tilton School) added 27 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown and also caught two passes for five yards.

Junior Jareed Gaines finished with a game-high 11 tackles and a forced fumble. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Junior Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) led the Stonehill defensive effort with a game-high 11 tackles (six solo), including 1.0 for a loss of five yards and a forced fumble. Classmate Kevin Anderson (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet) added eight stops (three solo), while classmate Raymond Bass (Canton, Mass./Canton) posted six tackles (four solo) and a pass breakup. Senior All-American Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass./Foxborough) recovered two fumbles for 63 yards to go with three solo stops and a pass breakup, while also collecting 23 yards on one kickoff return.

Both teams struggled to score in the snowy conditions and Southern created the first break in the action as Privott returned a punt by Stonehill senior Chris Rooney (Quincy, Mass./Catholic Memorial) from his own end zone 35 yards for a touchdown with 6:07 remaining in the first quarter to open the scoring.

Stonehill answered by piecing together a 12 play, 64-yard drive that started with 1:45 left in the opening quarter and was capped by a two-yard touchdown by Troy 4:55 into the second. Troy compiled 24 of his 63 rushing yards on ten carries on that drive alone, while Hunt had key completions to junior tight end Daniel Oakes (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) for 17 yards on third and six and freshman Zaire Reiph (Norwalk, Conn./Saint Luke's School) for eight yards on fourth and five from the Southern 15 on the drive. However, Stonehill's extra point to tie the game was blocked by Nelson and returned 98 yards for a two point conversion the other way by Johnson.

Southern enjoyed the better of the starting field position in the opening half and it proved the difference in the end as the Owls extended their lead to 16-6 with a 20 yard touchdown scamper by Slowley, marking his 25th rushing touchdown of the year, to cap a six play, 40 yard drive, with 4:57 to play in the half.

Stonehill had some chances in the second half with four drives stalling well inside Southern Connecticut territory. The Skyhawks turned the ball over on downs on fourth and eight at the Owls 20 on its first possession of the second half after senior Matt Iannucci (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) forced a Slowley fumble at the Stonehill 15 that was returned 63 yards to the Southern 22 by Neville before he was caught by SCSU senior quarterback Kevin Lynch (Medfield, Mass./Medfield).

Stonehill had fourth quarter drives stall out on fourth downs at the Southern 19 and 30 yard lines, both fourth down plays were incomplete passes. The Skyhawks got a second Slowley fumble on the Owls 30, only to turn the ball over themselves when Hunt lost the ball as he was sacked by Nelson at the Southern ten and it was scooped up by senior Dan Lamberton (Guilford, Conn./Guilford) with 4:01 remaining to seal the win.

Stonehill (2-7, 1-5 NE-10) returns to action next Saturday to host Saint Anselm College for the "Battle for the Ol' Bronze Hawk" on Easton and Military Appreciation Day at W.B. Mason Stadium at noon. Southern Connecticut State (7-2, 6-1 NE-10) has a bye next week before closing out the regular season here at Jess Dow Field against Merrimack College at 1 p.m.