Blogs > ON CAMPUS

ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, September 4, 2011

SCSU falls in opener

utier
Assistant Sports Editor
bcloutier@nhregister.com
NEW BRITAIN — The comeback was as stunning and unlikely as the play that later sealed the game.
After trailing 28-0 at the half, Southern Connecticut State completely dominated the second half against Football Championship Subdivision foe Central Connecticut.
With all the momentum on its side, Division II Southern cut the deficit to 28-21 with over two minutes left to play. The Owls elected to attempt on onsides-kick after their third touchdown of the half when disaster struck.
Southern’s Mike Escobar tipped the kick, which was headed out of bounds, back into play but the ball caromed directly into the hands of Central’s Matthew Tyrell who returned it untouched for 35-yard touchdown to secure a 35-21 decision in the season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at Arute Field.
“I’m proud of my kids,” SCSU coach Rich Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t give up. They played hard. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on all of them. If we had maybe the outcome would have been different.”
Cavanaugh said it was two entirely different games.
Southern did everything wrong in the first half and paid dearly. Quarterback Kevin Lynch threw an interception that set up one Blue Devil touchdown and later fumbled a ball that was returned 23 yards by Gene Johnson for another score.
See SCSU, C3
Continued from C1
Central also got a 4-yard scoring pass from Gunnar Jesperson to Deven Baker for one score and a 31-yarder from Jake White to Tyrell for another.
The numbers at the half were daunting and depressing. Southern vowed that things will be different this year after a disappointing 6-4 campaign in 2010.
It sure didn’t start that way.
Southern took the opening possession down the length of the field in impressive fashion but, like last year when the Owls lost a couple of games because of their inability to convert from deep in the red zone, did it again.
Southern had four cracks from inside the 10 yard line, three of them from the 1 yard line and couldn’t score.
“It was like déjà vu from last year,” Cavanaugh said. “It was disappointing.”
Said Lynch: “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t demoralizing. To take the ball down the field against a good team like this and not score … but that wasn’t the reason that I fumbled later, or threw an interception. That wasn’t the reason that we didn’t score in the first half.”
Southern played the rest of the first half in a state of malaise. Central ran 42 plays for 253 yards in the half, got two touchdown passes to Baker and racked up 113 yards on the ground. Starting quarterback Jespersen suffered a hand injury in the second quarter and White, a sophomore from Milford, came in threw his first two career touchdown passes.
But Southern didn’t quit, and its defense, which played well despite the lopsided score suffocated the Blue Devils in the second half. Central managed just one first down after the intermission and Lynch and the Owls went to work.
Rashaad Slowley (27 carries, 62 yards) punched in a pair of 1-yard scores and Lynch connected with tight end Jerome Cunningham for an 11-yard touchdown. Willie Epps caught the two-point conversion pass after the Cunningham score to cut the lead to 28-21.
But, with the packed Arute Field crowd and the Southern bench in a frenzy, Tyrell put the game away with the kickoff return.
“Escobar did what he was supposed to do, tip it back in,” Cavanaugh said. “There was enough time left for us to score, it just went right to their kid.”
Lynch, who rebounded from a tough first half to finish 23-of-39 for 223 yards, said his Owls just ran out of time.
“They couldn’t stop us in the second half so, of course I think we would have scored,” Lynch said.
“But it’s still a loss and that’s disappointing. We could have lied down but that’s not who we are. The defense was incredible. At the end of the game we can’t keep saying that the opportunities were there, we just to win.”
Follow Bill on Twitter @BillCloutier. To receive breaking sports news first — simply text the word “nhsports” to 22700. Standard msg+data rates may apply.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home