By Christopher Boulay
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Despite a monster effort from senior running back James Mallory, CCSU fell to Wagner in the last minute of a tight battle, 32-27.
CCSU (6-3, 5-1) loses its first conference game of the season, falling into second place of the Northeast Conferece, because of the Seahawks’ tiebreaker.
Seahawks’ quarterback Nick Doscher threw the game winning touchdown to Lon Woods, with only 26 seconds left in the game, as Wagner (6-3, 5-1) would put up all the points they needed, against a Blue Devils defense that had trouble adjusting to the Seahawks’ option running scheme and strong passing game.
“We could not finish on [Doscher],” Coach Jeff McInerney said. “I could say we didn’t make the play, but I’m gonna say he made it. I didn’t have a good enough plan for him defensively, and we just have to do better.”
CCSU had one last chance to pull off the victory, but with one second left, and a near miracle needed, quarterback Aubrey Norris could not find an open receiver and was sacked.
Senior running back James Mallory ran for 180 yards and scored three touchdowns in the loss, putting him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, including a touchdown on the first play of the second half, a 63-yard run, giving CCSU the 14-13 lead.
“When you lose, it takes [individual successes] away. I really wanted to win and end up undefeated in the conference,” Mallory said. “I gave it my all; we all gave it our all. It just didn’t work out for us today. Now we have to just focus on Monmouth.”
Mallory scored for the first time with 5:14 left in the first half on a one-yard run, after an 18 play, 99-yard drive.
Wagner’s Doscher had a huge game, taking part in all five of the team’s touchdowns, three through the air, and two rushing
To open the game’s scoring, Doscher threw a 30-yard touchdown with 6:54 left in the first quarter, to wide receiver Morgan Mizell.
Special Teams were a huge problem for each team throughout the game, but a shanked punt by Blue Devils’ punter Greg Migdal, that only went five yards, with 1:35 left in the game, was one of the most cruicial mistakes of the game.
“We only punted once, and the freshman punter [Migdal] shanked it. They didn’t block it, he kicked it off of his ankle,” McInerney said.
Norris had a solid game for CCSU, including a 13-yard touchdown to Josue Paul on an impressive four play 71-yard drive, with just over 10 minutes to play, which made the score 27-20. Norris was 19-of-27 for 201 yards, and also had 13 carries for 51 yards.
Doscher struck again when he ran 20 yards to paydirt late in the second quarter after a masterful six-play, 71-yard drive. But the extra point would be missed, one of two missed kicks by Seahawks’ kicker David Lopez.
We didn’t play great today. We didn’t play good defense, we didn’t finish on [Doscher]. We gotta give him credit, and we had to make plays,” McInerney said. “I thought we improved in some areas. That’s life. Not a whole lot to say.”
Mallory scored on a two-yard run after a 16-play, 81-yard drive in the beginning of the fourth quarter. But another kicking miscue occurred as kicker Joe Izzo missed the extra point.
Despite the loss, Mallory doesn’t believe that the team will lose focus, and it is something that he will enforce with his teammates.
“Me as a leader of the team, I am going to make sure we stay focused,” Mallory said. “I am not going to let us slack. I will stay on everybody. We just have to work hard every single day.”
With 12:38 left in the fourth, Doscher threw a 32 yd td pass to wide receiver David Crawford to tie the game at 20-20.
Doscher scored with 6:40 left in the game on a two-yard run, but due to a bad hold, the conversion was not converted.
CCSU plays in their final home game of the season Saturday vs. Monmouth.
Conference Notes- CCSU is tied with Wagner on conference record, but because of the Wagner win, they lead the tiebreaker for the conference championship. CCSU needs to win out, and have Wagner lose one of their final games in order to win the conference and go to the Gridiron Classic, which is hosted by the Pioneer League Champion. Currently, Drake and Butler are tied for first place in the Pioneer League.