Southern Conn. State Defeats Football, 42-21

Jamiel caught eight passes for a season-high 94 yards and his 22nd career touchdown. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Sapere throws three touchdown passes as Owls post 466 total yards

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (September 22, 2018) – Southern Connecticut State University scored 28-straight points after trailing early to spur a 42-21 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Jess Dow Field tonight.

Freshman Matthew Sapere passed for three touchdowns to lead Southern Connecticut State, which posted 466 yards of total offense on the night, including 296 on the ground among four ball carriers. Sapere completed 15-of-22 passes for 170 yards and the three scores, while senior Eli Parks added 140 yards on 31 carries. Senior Vochan Fowler tallied 96 rushing yards on 12 attempts, the bulk coming on a 53-yard touchdown run in the third quarter after Stonehill had scored to pull within 28-14 with 4:50 remaining in the quarter. Sapere connected with three different teammates for touchdowns on the night, but freshman Julian Chung posted 65 yards on six receptions.

Senior Jhaaron Wallace led the Southern defense with a game-high 15 tackles (five solo), including 1.0 tackles for a loss of three yards, and a fumble recovery. Classmate Jarred Bennett-Moorer contributed nine stops (two solo), including 2.5 for a loss of 20 yards, with 1.5 sacks. Junior Matthew Weiss chipped in with seven tackles (one solo), including 2.5 for a loss of four.

Shuts recorded a career-high 13 tackles to go with an interception. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Junior Kyle Smith threw a pair of touchdowns in his first career start for Stonehill, completing 12-of-30 passes for 184 yards. Classmate Andrew Jamiel caught eight of those passes for a season-high 94 yards and a touchdown, while freshman Brandon Lombana added the second touchdown. Freshman Justin Felder rushed the ball a season-high 18 times for a season-best 98 yards, while junior Brian Kearns, Jr. rounded out the scoring for the Skyhawks on the night.

Junior Ryan Shuts paced the Stonehill defense with a career-high 13 tackles (eight solo) and an interception at the goal line that kept Southern Connecticut State scoreless in the first quarter. Classmate Miles Strickland chipped in a career-high matching nine tackles, three solo, and a forced fumble.

Stonehill struck first, with Smith connecting with Jamiel for a 20-yard touchdown pass on the Skyhawks second possession of the game less than six minutes in. Jamiel's second touchdown of the season capped a quick three-play drive for Stonehill as Smith and Jamiel connected for a 45-yard completion on first down, before Kearns, Jr., gained five on the ground leading up to Smith's first career touchdown pass.

The touchdown was the 22nd receiving touchdown for Jamiel in 23 career games played, moving into a tie for second on Stonehill's all-time list with Dan Cahill, '96 and just three shy of Nate Robitaille, '15's career record of 25 touchdowns catches. Jamiel is ranked sixth all-time in program history for total career touchdowns, with his 195 career receptions just one shy of Robitaille's career mark.

Southern marched down the field on its ensuing possession, but Shuts picked off Sapere on the goal line to end that threat, and then senior Xavier Young blocked a 33-yard Owls field goal attempt as Stonehill still held the lead into the second quarter.

Smith made his first career start and threw a pair of TD passes. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Southern was able to knot the score with four minutes remaining in the second quarter as Sapere found senior Hunter Fluegel for a 19-yard touchdown. The Owls took the lead for good just 34-seconds prior to the intermission when Sapere spotted senior Thomas Lasaracina for a seven-yard touchdown toss.

Southern ran its scoring run to 28-straight points in the third quarter. The Owls started the second half scoring with freshman Jeremiah Banto scooping up a blocked punt by classmate Erick Pasqualone and scoring from four yards out 50-seconds into the third. The Owls followed up a Stonehill missed field goal with a seven-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a 42-yard touchdown pass by Sapere to junior Andre Ridley with less than seven minutes remaining in the frame.

Stonehill got back into the game on its next possession as Smith found Lombana for a 35-yard catch and run with 4:50 remaining in the third. However, Southern also answered quickly, with Fowler rumbling 53-yards for a touchdown five plays later, restoring the three touchdown lead. The Owls stretched their lead to 42-14 when Wallace recovered a Smith fumble in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, and then Kearns, Jr., closed out the scoring for Stonehill with his two-yard plunge with 1:14 to play.

Kearns, Jr.'s touchdown is the 16th rushing score of his career, moving into a tie for third all-time in Stonehill history with Rob Olivar, '04 and Colin Markus, '16. Eddie Vachon, '11 holds the program record with 24 career rushing scores. Kearns, Jr. finished the night with 1,301 career yards, moving into tenth place on the program's all-time list, ahead of Derek Mazza, '04.

Stonehill (1-3, 1-2 NE10) is back is back on the road next Saturday, September 29, at Pace University at noon. The Skyhawks return home on Saturday, October 15, to host Merrimack College for its Purple & White Game at W.B. Mason Stadium at 6 p.m. Southern Conn. State (2-2, 1-2 NE10) hosts Saint Anselm College next Saturday at 2 p.m.

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