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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SCSU football team earns first victory

WEST LIBERTY, W, Va. – Keyed by a defensive effort that forced eight turnovers, including six interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Steven Teague (Hamden, Conn.), the Southern Connecticut State University football team captured its first win of the year on Saturday at West Liberty State, 27-19. The Owls actually trailed 10-0 in the first quarter, but scored 27 of the final 36 points to claim the victory.

Southern Connecticut improved to 1-1 on the year with the win, while West Liberty dropped to 0-2.

Teague tallied two interceptions for the Owls, becoming the first SCSU player in two years to pick off two passes in a game. Kamal Mgaresh (Medfield, Mass.), Michael Escobar (Danbury, Conn.), Zachary Williams (Wolcott, Conn.) and Chevar Rankins (Middletown, Conn.) all added one interception apiece. The six interceptions, however, were just the second highest single-game total in school history – the Owls have twice intercepted eight passes in a game.

Rashaad Slowley (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) finished with 114 yards on 25 carries, including a touchdown. Kevin Lynch completed 18-of-40 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Andre Privott (Middletown, Conn.) led the Owls with six catches and 63 receiving yards, while Willie Epps (Norwalk, Conn.) had 59 yards and two touchdowns.

The comeback began early in the second quarter for the Owls. Trailing 10-0, the team put together a 13-play, 46-yard drive that was culminated on a three-yard pass from Lynch to Epps. Christopher Hazelton (Bristol, Conn.) added the PAT to get the Owls within three points.

The game stayed at 10-7 as halftime approached. However, with West Liberty attempting to tack on to its lead, Teague jumped in front of a pass by L.D. Crow and went 40 yards untouched the other way for a touchdown. Hazelton’s PAT made it 14-10, and the Owls carried that lead into halftime.

Mgaresh’s forced fumble on a WLU punt return gave the Owls the ball at the Hilltoppers 28 just under two minutes into the third quarter. SCSU immediately went to the air, with Lynch finding Epps for a second time on a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone to make it 20-10.

West Liberty closed the gap back to one possession after forcing a safety on an Owls’ punt return.

With the Owls leading 20-12 early in the fourth quarter, Rankins deflected a pass that went right to Williams. He advanced the ball to the WLU 6 and, three plays later, Slowley went in from a yard out.

The Hilltoppers would add a late score to close within eight at 27-19, but Southern Connecticut recovered the onside kick and went on for the win.

Jack Petion (Union, N.J.) finished with a team-high 10 tackles. Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (Rahway, N.J.) added seven tackles and a sack on his 21st birthday.

The Owls return to action on Sept. 17 for a road game at Saint Anselm.

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