Today: Jun 17, 2024

Owls lose 27-21 to AIC on Homecoming

Jaylen Carr – Editor-in-Chief

A yard short.  

With under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter at the American International one-yard line, and the Owls being down by six, running back James Griffiths, a sophomore, ran for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play that resulted in a turnover on downs, ending any hope for an Owl Homecoming victory.  

“It was a tough one,” quarterback Keith Ridley, a graduate student, said. “We got all the way to the goal line, had three, four plays to punch it in and came up short. It is always heartbreaking losing in a fashion like that.” 

Linebacker Joe DiGello, a junior, said it was a tough loss, especially on Homecoming because there was so much support from the university community.  

“First off, I want to thank the university alumni for coming out here for Homecoming,” Head Coach Tom Godek said. “We got down and came back and fought.” 

Despite the slippery conditions, the Owls could move the ball in the first half through the air and on the ground.  

Ridley passed for 193 yards while going 12 for 28, throwing for two touchdowns. Ridley would connect with wide receiver Tylon Papallo for touchdowns over 50 yards each.  

Early in the first quarter, Ridley threw a 56-yard pass to Papallo to get the Owls out in front 6-0, with kicker Orlin Lopez, a freshman, converting on the extra point.  

Ridley would throw his second touchdown in the second quarter with under 12 minutes to play for 51 yards to Papallo. Running back E’Lijah Gray, a junior, rushed for 139 yards and scored only a touchdown in the first half.  

The Owls’ defense would allow American International, AIC, to score 20 points in the second quarter. As the half concluded, the Owls would trail AIC 27-21. 

During halftime, Godek said it was vital for the team to keep their composure to finish the game.  

“We were close but couldn’t pull it away,” Godek said.  

Ridley said the team felt comfortable being down six because the defensive kept them in the game.  

While the offense tried to keep the game close, Ridley said, “The defense played their butts off all year, and they were getting stops.” 

DiGello was all over the field, making tackle after tackle on the defensive side. He had six total tackles, with one of those tackles being for a loss.  

Even though the defense played well in the second half, DiGello said, “There is no excuse because we shouldn’t let up those points in the first half.” 

The Owls offense could not move nor run the ball throughout the second half. As the season continues, the Owls’ offense looks to improve to help the defense from being on the field longer, Ridley said.  

“In the second half, we finally played shut down,” DiGello said. “We got two big picks.” 

The defense got AIC to turn the ball over twice, but the offense failed to score after getting the ball back in both possessions.  

With the Owls losing their final home game of the season, they will finish the last three games on the road. Two of the three games against the NE10 competition are against Assumption University and Pace University.  

While the Owls are out of playoff contention with a 1-6 record, DiGello said the team will keep the same hard-working mentality.  

Godek said, “I want to see the team stay together.” 

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