by Tyler Roaix
The Central Connecticut State University football team kicked off the 2016 season with a home game against Lafayette on Friday. The Blue Devils struggled to get anything going on offense, as they dropped the 2016 debut 24-10.
It was a battle all night long for CCSU to take care of the football, especially in the first quarter. Four of the team’s five turnovers came in the first 15 minutes alone.
Head Coach Pete Rossomando shared his displeasure with the Devils’ sloppiness after the game.
“It’s just carelessness,” Rossomando said. “We didn’t do a good job of securing the football. That was the story of our year in ’15 and that’s the story right now.”
The offense did seem to settle down after the first quarter. Quarterback Jacob Dolegala, who struggled with two early interceptions, bounced back and ended up with 269 yards and a touchdown pass.
Alex Jamele was on the receiving end of that touchdown pass. The 25-yard strike brought everyone on the Central side to their feet as Jamele made an athletic jump ball catch in the end zone to haul in the Devils’ first touchdown of the season.
The Devils also brought the same powerful rushing attack from last year with 85 yards on the ground Friday night, including 49 yards from Drew Jean-Guillaume and 44 yards from Cameron Nash.
The defense had their fair share of struggles as well, especially in the passing game. Lafayette quarterback Drew Reed had an impressive game, completing 31 of his 42 attempts. He also had 316 yards and three touchdowns in the contest.
The Leopards also had a big game from star receiver Matt Mrazek. The 6 foot 4 inch tall junior had six catches for 93 yards and three touchdowns.
The bright spot on the defensive side for the Blue Devils was the defensive line. CCSU gave up just 22 rushing yards throughout the game, which is excellent considering Lafayette had 34 attempts.
“We have seven or eight guys on the D-line that can really play,” Rossomando said of the defense. “But they wore us down a bit and it showed with some of the big plays they had. That’s just the way it goes.”
It was more of the same on special teams as well. Kicker Ed Groth made just one of his three field goal attempts. Also, Najae Brown had a 55-yard punt return touchdown that was called back due to a penalty.
From start to finish, it seemed as though nothing was going to go Central’s way. Despite the loss, the Devils are focused on moving forward.
“I love my team. I love these guys,” Rossomando added. “We have a big game against James Madison next week. So we don’t have a choice. We have to move on. I took my foot off the gas in practice this week. I definitely won’t do that again.”
CCSU will look to put one in the win column with their next game Saturday, September 10, on the road against James Madison.