ONEONTA, N.Y. – Host Hartwick College exploded for 28 points in the second quarter, including a pick-six and a kick-off returned for a touchdown, as they downed visiting Morrisville State College in Empire 8 action by a final 52-34 Saturday afternoon in Oneonta.
The loss drops the Mustangs to 2-3 overall on the season, including a 0-2 conference slate to date on the year.
Morrisville State, who generated 367 yards total offense, including edging the Hawks by a yard in the running game 162 to 161 yards, was first to strike on the afternoon, scoring on their first possession of the game.
Utilizing the running ability of junior Nick Edmond (Blythe, Calif.) and the quick foot of quarterback Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.), the Mustangs moved the ball into Hartwick territory on the first play of the drive, before capping off their efforts 10 plays later as Edmond posted the seven-yard rushing score.
Hartwick responded on their ensuing possession, completing the 70-yard drive in 10 plays with a two-yard scoring pass play from Billy Pine to Ronald Ballard for the 7-6 lead.
The hosts scored on just the second play of the second quarter, claiming a 14-6 advantage a mere 43 seconds into the frame, before adding another score minutes later on a pick-six by Marck Hackett. Hackett intercepted Gwinner and returned the ball 39 yards for the defensive touchdown, and 21-6 advantage.
After forcing the Mustangs to a three-and-out series, Pine connected with wide receiver Koree Reed on a 76-yard scoring pass play, widening the gap to a 28-6 host lead.
Morrisville State was able to get one back on their next possession and regain momentum, as Gwinner connected with senior Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) for a 19-yard gain into Hartwick territory, before hitting Mitch Werenczak (Mohawk, N.Y.) on the 48-yard scoring play to cut the deficit to a two possession game.
That momentum was deflated on the kick-off, though, as Van Alstine returned the ball 89 yards for the commanding 35-13 lead.
Morrisville State responded with a solid drive on their next possession, as Edmond posted his second of the day, an eight-yard rushing tally with 5:50 to go in the quarter, cutting the Hawks advantage to 35-20.
The visitors attempted to put another score on the board late in the half, but Gwinner was picked off for a second time in the red zone at the close of the half.
After trading scores early in the third, Morrisville State made it a one-possession game late in the quarter, as linebacker Jarrod Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) picked off Pine and returned the ball to the Hartwick seven, setting up a two-yard scoring rush by Gwinner three plays later.
The Mustangs defense forced the Hawks to punt the ball away at the start of the fourth quarter, but did the same on their own possession, before the Hawks found a gap in the line and sprinted 64-yards to extend their lead to 49-34 over the visitors.
Hartwick put the game out of reach late in the game, as Brian McGovern nailed the 28-yard field goal with 1:38 to go in the contest.
Edmond finished with 93-yards rushing, posting three touchdowns, as Gwinner added a 62-yard and one score effort on the ground.
The junior quarterback also completed 17-of-35 pass attempts for 197 yards and a touchdown, seven throws to Joseph Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) who collected a team high 48 yards alongside Werenczak.
Michael Bodnar (Miller Place, N.Y.) led the defensive efforts with seven total tackles, while defensive lineman Scott Irons (Syracuse, N.Y.) added a six total tackle effort, including 3.5 for a loss of 11 yards.
Morrisville State returns to the field next Saturday, traveling to no. 15 ranked by d3footblal.com The College at Brockport. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Brockport.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.