Ryan Flynn – Sports Editor –
The Southern Connecticut football team (0-4) has now lost more games than they did all of last year, when they posted a 7-3 record.
With the lead going into the half for the second time in as many weeks, the Owls again were unable to keep their opponent, Merrimack (2-2) at bay. A late comeback by the Owls fell just short and they lost by the final score of 38-35 in North Andover, Mass.
Another chance for the team to begin to right the ship comes this Saturday, when they face Saint Anselm College at home at 1 p.m. on Jess Dow Field.
After recovering their own kickoff to open the game, the Owls were unable to capitalize; missing a 35-yard field goal. Merrimack took over and took advantage, marching 81 yards for the opening touchdown, a Jimon Hill one yard rush.
The Owls came back to tie the game a few drives later, mounting a long 12-play 81-yard drive capped by a Jacob Jablonski to Jerome Cunningham touchdown. Jablonski threw for 199 yards on the day, with two touchdowns and one interception.
After another Merrimack touchdown and a pair of Owls field goals off the foot of kicker Devin Silverman, the Owls reclaimed the lead on a 44 yard pass from Jablonski to John Moscatel.
Moscatel, who is listed as a fullback, had a monster day, compiling 192 all-purpose yards. He had 81 yards on kick returns and also split carries (15 a piece) with starting halfback Vaughn Magee. Though Moscatel had seen duty at return man before, it was the first time this season that the junior got any touches out of the backfield, running or receiving.
After Moscatel’s score, the Owls went into the half 20-14, but surrendered 24 straight points to set the score at 38-20.
The story of the game, as it was last year, was Merrimack’s willingness to attempt to convert fourth downs, even in red zone situations where most coaches would take the easy three points. The Owls held Merrimack to just 2-of-12 on third down, but allowed them to go 5-for-7 on fourth down.
The Owls made a push late. A Jablonski rushing touchdown brought the Owls to within 11 points. Merrimack then marched to the Owls’ one yard line, and instead of kicking a field goal to go up two touchdowns, they again attempted to convert on fourth down.
Merrimack quarterback Jimon Hill fumbled on the play, and Owls defensive back Sebron Woodley brought the ball back 90 yards for an Owls touchdown, bringing the team within three.
The Owls were unable to get the ball back on the following drive, and Merrimack knelt twice to end the game.