Stonehill Clinches Championship Berth with Senior Day Win Over Pace, 42-14

Sophomore Colin Markus rushed for three touchdowns and went over 100 yards for the third straight week today. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Skyhawks victory and American International win at New Haven seals matchup in two weeks in Springfield

EASTON, Mass. (November 2, 2013) – Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, ranked seventh in the first NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings and fifth in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lambert Meadowlands poll, clinched a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship for the first time in program history with a 42-14 triumph over Pace University in NE-10 football action on Senior Day at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Stonehill (7-2, 7-1 NE-10) clinched the Championship Game berth with its win, coupled with American International College's (7-2, 7-1 NE-10) 43-34 comeback win at the University of New Haven (6-3, 6-2 NE-10) this afternoon. The Skyhawks can capture at least a share of their first NE-10 regular season championship with a win in their regular season finale at Merrimack College (6-3, 6-2 NE-10) next Saturday at 1p.m., and could host the November 16 title game against AIC with a win and loss by the Yellow Jackets at home to Southern Connecticut State University next weekend. Pace (0-9, 0-8 NE-10) closes out its regular season next Saturday by hosting Saint Anselm College at noon.

Junior Nate Robitaille became the program's first 1,000 yard receiver in program history with his 116 yards and a score today. (PHOTO BY Nicki Pardo)

Sophomore running back Colin Markus (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) posted his third-straight 100-yard game for Stonehill as he carried the ball 20 times for 101 yards and a career-best three touchdowns – one shy of the program single-game record. He also returned two kickoffs for 59 yards to finish the day with a team-best 160 all-purpose yards as the Skyhawks posted 369 yards of total offense with 142 on the ground and 227 passing on the afternoon. Stonehill scored on all six trips inside the red zone and was 5-for-12 on third down for the day.

Junior Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) posted seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown, giving him a school-record 1,032 yards for the season to become the first 1,000 yard receiver in program history.

Senior Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) completed 10-of-17 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. The two touchdown passes give him 25 for the season (61 career), breaking Dan Field's. '96, previous single-season program record of 24 set in 1995.

Senior James Lanier (Westampton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) and junior Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) led the Stonehill defense with six tackles apiece. Lanier had five solo and 1.0 stops for a loss of a yard, while Harrington, who was held under ten tackles for the first time this season, posted two solo stops and 1.0 tackles for a loss of two. Harrington's team-high 118 tackles this season is just ten shy of the single-season program record of 128 by Steve Sheeler, '04, in 2003.

Junior Nate Morris (Providence, R.I./Wheeler School) chipped in five tackles (three solo) and a pass breakup, while senior Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) and freshman Zach O'Connor (Norwalk, Conn./Brien McMahon) each collected interceptions. It marks the tenth career interception for Bennett, who ranks sixth in program history.

Senior James Lanier posted six tackles, including 1.0 for a loss, today (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Freshman Antwan Washington (Loxahatchee, Fla.) posted 257 total yards to lead Pace as he completed 26-of-39 passes for 214 yards and ran the ball seven times for a team-high 43 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Delaney Wallace (Moorestown, N.J.) finished with 12 carries for 26 yards and a score. Junior Brian Beeker (Spring Hill, Fla.) chipped in eight receptions for 78 yards.

Freshman Michael Petrizzo (West Hempstead, N.Y.) led the Pace defense with nine tackles (five solo), including 0.5 for a loss of a yard. Classmate Joe Roman (Staten Island, N.Y.) added eight stops (six solo), including 1.0 for a loss of a yard and a pass breakup.

Stonehill scored on its second possession of the day after being set up with great field position after an 18 yard Pace punt allowed the Skyhawks to take the ball at their own 42. Meyer capped the four play, 58 yard scoring drive with a three yard touchdown toss to Robitaille in the right corner of the end zone with 6:49 left in the first quarter. Meyer opened the possession with a 48 yard pass to sophomore Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Mass./BC High) to the Pace ten to set up the score.

Stonehill doubled its lead on its first possession of the second quarter with a 14 yard run by Markus for his first score of the day with 10:45 to play in the half. The Skyhawks took the ball on the Pace 40 and scored in six plays. The Skyhawks extended their lead to 21-0 on its next drive with a six play, 59 yard scoring possession capped by a six yard Meyer pass to freshman Billy Pierce (Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) with 6:33 left in the quarter. Robitaille contributed a 30 yard reception and ten yard rush on the drive.

Pace got on the scoreboard on its very next possession when Wallace closed out a 12 play, 71 yard drive with a one yard rush.

After going three and out on its first possession of the second half, Stonehill regained its three touchdown lead on its second with a one yard run by Markus with 6:58 left in the third quarter, at the end of a ten play, 49 yard drive. Markus had seven carries for 28 yards on the drive. The Skyhawks ran their lead to 35-7 with 2:57 to play in the third on their next drive after a Pace three and out with another Markus one yard plunge at the end of a six play, 49 yard drive. Junior Joseph Della Vecchia (Stratford, Conn./Saint Joseph) and Robitaille connected on a 36 yard pass to the Setters one that set up the score.

Stonehill capped its scoring 3:09 into the fourth quarter on a two yard end around run by senior Paul Piccirillo (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) at the end of a ten play, 67 yard drive. Pace added a second score on the ensuing possession with Washington finding the end zone from a yard out at the end of a 13 play, 68 yard drive. The Setters drove into Stonehill territory on their next possession, but O'Connor picked off Washington in the end zone with five seconds left.

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Highlights and Coach Talley Postgame Interview