Offense Overcomes Five Turnovers to Lead CCSU to Season Opening Win
By Chris Boulay
Senior defensive back Marcus Dorsey opened Saturday’s football game at Lehigh University on an optimistic note – he managed an interception in first play of the game.
During the weekend game CCSU ran for 233 yards, including 121 yards and touchdown from senior running back James Mallory, as the Blue Devils took home a 28-21 victory from Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa.
Mallory scored the touchdown in the second quarter, when he got a one-yard run to pay dirt.
The Blue Devils ability to run the option shined Saturday, and quarterback Hunter Wanket was very pleased with the comfort of having Mallory in the backfield.
“If I’m gonna pitch it quick, he’s gonna be there,” Wanket said. “He’s not gonna give up on the play.”
Wanket threw for 169 yards and went 15 for 19 with two touchdowns and one interception. CCSU outgained Lehigh (0-1) on offense 410 to 184.
Mountain Hawks’ return man John Kennedy returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils committed four turnovers, including three fumbles, while Lehigh threw three interceptions. Four of the turnovers occurred in the first quarter.
“I made three mistakes on the first two drives,” Wanket said, regarding the early sloppy play. “It was all on me.”
Coach Jeff McInerney didn’t have a reason for the sloppy early play.
“Last year we had 11 turnovers, we had three in the first quarter,” she said. “We might have been nervous; the ball comes out, what are you gonna do?”
Eric Richardson scored a two-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Blue Devils in front for the first time in the second half.
McInerney had an emotional homecoming to the Lehigh area, where he grew up.
“My love of the game started here. What I am, is Lehigh Valley,” he said. “The people that go to the Liberty games. That’s who I am.”
CCSU never trailed, but the game was tied three times. CCSU finally separated for good when Josue Paul caught Wanket’s 40-yard pass for the game-winning touchdown, with 1:26 left in the third.
Senior Nick Delgado had a blocked punt and an interception during the game.
“Getting ready in camp it was a big battle for free safety,” Delgado said, “I was fortunate enough to get the first start of the season. I knew that today was my big chance. Every opportunity I had on the field, I had to take it.”
This was the first of a difficult three game road trip for the Blue Devils, something that Wanket feels confident about, and stated his excitement about the chances of sweeping before returning back for their home opener, which is against in-state rivals Sacred Heart on October 3.
“We want a tough road,” Wanket said. “Our first three away games, yeah, they are hard, but we have a chance to beat them. We have a chance to be really, really good this year.”
CCSU will play William and Mary this Saturday in Williamsburg, Va.