SCSU football team falls to UNH, 28-14
Edgar Ayala – Sports Writer
After leading 14-0, Southern Connecticut squandered the lead in the second half falling to cross-city rivalry University of New Haven 28-14 last Friday night at Jess Dow Field.
Over 3,800 people were in attendance as the Chargers handed the Owls their fourth loss of the season. Southern still remains winless at 0-4 while UNH improved to 3-1 on the season.
Wide receiver Devante Jenkins said head coach Tom Godek told the team at half to maintain their composure and keep executing on offense. But that fell through, as the Chargers scored all of their 28 points in the second half.
“We started off playing really good, but died down at the end,” said Jenkins. “I think we kind of thought we had the game won already, but we have to come out and play the two halves.”
Additionally, Coach Godek said he was disappointed about the penalties his team gave up in key moments of the game, adding that it took big plays from UNH to come from behind and win the game.
“At times we looked really sharp out there,” Godek said. “New Haven made some adjustments [in the second half]; we were struggling moving the ball in the second half, so credit to their defense.”
After a scoreless first quarter, it was senior Robert Thomas and junior Jenkins who put the Owls on the scoreboard for their only points in the game.
Only eight seconds into the second quarter, a 9-yard run from Thomas opened up Southern’s account to lead 7-0 early on; Mike McNally came in with the extra point.
At 10:10 of the same quarter, a rainbow 8-yard pass by quarterback Robert Nittolo found Jenkins on the far left side of the end zone, registering the Owls with a comfortable 14-0 lead after McNally’s punt.
Entering the third quarter, Thomas said he looked at the game still being 0-0 coming out of the break, as he knows what the Chargers were capable of and didn’t want to brush them off just yet.
“We know they’re a good team, they mirror us in certain things they do on offense,” Thomas said. “We just basically went in telling ourselves it’s going to be a dogfight from the first whistle of the second half to the last.”
Later in the game, UNH managed to cut the lead in half with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter, after Ajee Patterson found Ty Headen for a 22-yard pass.
Several minutes later, with 3:12 left in the clock, Chargers’ Andre Anderson made a 21-yard run touchdown, evening the score 14-14 at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter came around and it was do or die for the Owls.
But it was Anderson again coming up big for the Chargers, as he went on to score two more touchdowns in the fourth. A 2-yard run with 8:26 left, and a monster 55-yard run at 5:03, to record his third touchdown of the night, and finish the game 28-14.
After several close encounters to pick up their first win of the season, Thomas said the team has the talent to win games, but needs to be able to finish them.
“0-4 or 0-1, I want to win regardless,” said Thomas. “Winning is in our blood. If they didn’t believe that we couldn’t win, they wouldn’t have recruited us here. We have some great players on this team, we just need to learn to execute and believe in ourselves.
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor