Photo by Jeffery Stoner
KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 24, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football team scored early and often en route to a big 55-7 Liberty League victory over visiting University of Rochester on Saturday to cap off Homecoming Weekend festivities at Kings Point. The triumph improves the Mariners' record to 2-1 (1-0 Liberty) on the season, while the Yellowjackets fall to 1-2 (0-1 Liberty) in defeat.
The win was the seventh largest margin of victory in Mariner program history (48 points) and the 55 points scored was the highest point total of Head Coach Mike Toop's tenure. The previous mark was 48 points in a road victory at Rochester back in the 2010 season, which was also the last (and only other) time USMMA defeated the Yellowjackets. The Mariners had't scored 55-or-more points in a game since the 1959 season in a 56-0 road win at Ursinus.
Merchant Marine amassed 579 yards of total offense and held Rochester to just 259 yards. Junior quarterback Robert Moore (Pace, Fla.) was a perfect 5-for-5 passing for 176 yards and two TD strikes, while he also netted 104 yards on the ground for three scores. Sophomore Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) contributed 99 rushing yards and also scored three touchdowns for the Mariners.
Senior Spencer Blauw (Strasburg, Colo.) was one of five different Mariners to catch a pass on the day and led the way with an 81-yard touchdown snag (with about 75 yards coming after the catch). Freshman Luke Jamison (Tequesta, Fla.) had USMMA's other TD reception on a 51-yard connection with Moore. Junior Jake McDonough (Wilmington, N.C.) was 6-for-7 on PAT conversions, while freshman Gavin Gartner (Cedar Park, Texas) converted the PAT kick on the Mariners' last score of the day.
On the defensive side, junior Isaac Lee (Grapevine, Texas) led the way with seven total tackles (four solo and three assisted), with a good number of them coming on special teams plays. Three other Mariners recorded five tackles apiece – junior Anthony Sandoval (Palmdale, Calif.), sophomore Trever Huss (Orange City, Iowa) and senior Josh Woodburn (Huntingtown, Md.). Merchant Marine also picked up their first three turnovers of the season on a pair of interceptions by sophomore Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.) and freshman Jacob Gulizia (Woodbridge, Va.) and Cannell also jumped on a Yellowjacket fumble in the third quarter.
After receiving the ball first to start the game, the Mariners fumbled on the contest's opening possession, but that was pretty much the only blemish on the day for the squad, as they responded by forcing Rochester to turn the ball over on downs after just four plays and seven yards that took just 49 seconds off the clock in the early first quarter.
The USMMA offense scored a touchdown on their next five possessions, while the defense kept forcing Rochester to punt on every single possession until their last of the half, which ended when the clock ran out. The score was 27-0 after one quarter of play and 41-0 at halftime.
After the Mariners tacked on 14 more points in the third quarter, Rochester broke up the shutout bid on its final possession of the game when sophomore Emanuel Calmar ran in a one-yard TD to cap off a 10-play, 76 yard drive for the Yellowjackets – their most productive drive of the game.
For Rochester, junior QB Daniel Bronson was 12-for-24 passing for 124 yards with one pick and sophomore Shawn Silleman was his primary target, hauling in four catches for a team-high 45 receiving yards. Calmar was the leading rusher with just 24 yards. On defense, junior Ricky Sparks led all players in the game with 13 tackles, while classmate Josh Churchin forced the fumble on the opening drive and senior Kevin LeBlanc recovered it and brought it back 24 yards.
Up next, the Mariners take to the road to face Hobart next Saturday, Oct. 1, up in Geneva, N.Y. Kickoff is slated for 12-noon. at the Statesmen's Boswell Field. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Football Schedule Page.
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