MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team will wrap up its regular season when it travels to take on Seton Hill University in non-conference action Saturday, Nov. 3 at noon at Offutt Field. Links to live stats and live video are available on the football schedule page.
This marks the first ever meeting between the Hawks and Griffins.
LAST TIME OUT
Freshman QB Andrew Murphy threw for a school-record 430 yards as the Hawks nearly pulled the upset against first-place AIC, but fell, 37-34, Oct. 26 under the lights at Grappone Stadium on Senior Night.
The Hawks dropped to 1-8 on the season, including 1-7 in Northeast-10 play, while the Yellow Jackets, who entered the night in a first-place tie atop the NE-10 standings, improved to 7-1 on the season and a perfect 7-0 in the league.
Murphy erased the previous school record of 408 yards that was set by Michael Pierce against Pace on Sept. 25, 2010. Murphy also toppled the program record for completions as he connected on 47 of his career-high 66 attempts, breaking the mark of 37 that was held by both Shane Dinagen (Oct. 16, 2004 at Bryant) and Pierce (Oct. 31, 2009 vs. New Haven). Murphy's 71.2 completion percentage is tops in program history of anyone with more than 45 attempts. The reigning Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week threw three touchdowns and was intercepted four times, while also rushing for 18 yards and another score.
Junior WR Justin Bernard recorded 12 receptions for 85 yards and three touchdowns, which matched his career high that he set last week at Merrimack. Junior WR Eric Feehan posted career bests in both catches (11) and receiving yards (117). Feehan had previously caught 10 passes earlier this year at Assumption on Sept. 7 and racked up 114 receiving yards at AIC on Oct. 8 of last season. Sophomore WR Ahkeen Williams reeled in a career-high 11 passes for 92 yards, while senior WR Craig Dennis totaled 84 yards and matched his career best with eight catches. It marks the first time ever that three Saint Anselm receivers have each recorded at least 10 catches in the same game and the first time ever that four receivers have each amassed 80-plus yards in the same contest.
AIC took the opening kickoff and drove 57 yards in just five plays, with a Kevin Arduino 24-yard pass to Cal Brownridge giving it a 7-0 lead after a Daniel Backx extra point just 2:16 into the contest.
Arduino made it 14-0 with 3:55 remaining in the opening quarter when he capped a 14-play, 95-yard drive by hooking up with Gary Farley for the 14-yard score. Backx added the point-after.
After the Hawks missed a field goal with one second to play in the first quarter, Arduino ran one in himself from nine yards out to put the finishing touches on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that made it 21-0 after a Backx PAT with 9:18 to go in the second quarter.
Junior DB Joey Polverini then stalled the Yellow Jackets' next drive as he intercepted Arduino at the Saint Anselm 24-yard line. Three plays later, however, Murphy was picked off by Will Garcia and AIC had the ball at the Saint Anselm 35. It took the Yellow Jackets just four plays to make up the distance as Arduino hit Farley again for a seven-yard score that was followed by a Backx extra point to make it 28-0 with 1:42 left in the first half.
The Hawks responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that lasted just 1:22 and ended when Murphy found Bernard in the end zone from nine yards out. Senior P/K Shea Cerio kicked the extra point and Saint Anselm went into the locker room trailing 28-7. Murphy went 7-for-9 for 75 yards on the drive, hitting Bernard three times for 33 yards.
Saint Anselm received the kickoff to open the second half and needed just 2:09 to move the ball 61 yards in seven plays. Murphy's 19-yard completion to Dennis moved the offense into AIC territory before Williams' seven-yard reception, with a 15-yard penalty tacked on to the end of it, put the Hawks inside the 20. Junior RB Keith Charles powered his way forward for a nine-yard run that moved the ball inside the 10 and after a pair of short completions, Charles ran in from a yard out for the score. Cerio booted the extra point and the Hawks cut it to 28-14 with 12:41 on the clock in the third quarter.
The Hawks went three-and-out on their next drive, but Markell Rice botched the punt return and freshman Carroll Bailey dove on the loose ball at the AIC 26-yard line. The offense moved all the way down to the 3-yard line, but Murphy was intercepted in the end zone by Mike Ford, who returned it 74 yards to the Saint Anselm 26. A negative rush, a holding penalty and a sack moved the Yellow Jackets out of field goal range and they were forced to punt.
Rice then made up for his fumble as he intercepted Murphy and brought the ball down to the Saint Anselm 19. The Hawks' defense held strong again and forced the field goal attempt. Backx knocked his 36-yard try through and AIC led 31-14 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks answered with a 12-play, 79-yard drive that was capped by Murphy's three-yard run and made it 31-21 after Cerio's kick just 2:04 into the final quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Bryant Fitzgerald ripped off a 63-yard run down the left sideline to give the Yellow Jackets a 37-21 lead with 8:38 to go in the game. Backx' extra point was blocked.
Saint Anselm quickly responded as Murphy hit on seven of his eight passes to highlight a 10-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in a two-yard touchdown catch by Bernard that made it 37-27 with 5:15 to go. The Hawks went for the two-point conversion to make it a one-score game, but Murphy's pass slipped through the hands of his receiver.
AIC recovered the ensuing onside kick at its own 44-yard line, but went three-and-out and was forced to punt. Freshman WR Caleb Bettis came up with a monster 44-yard return to 50-yard line and, following a 15-yard personal foul penalty, the Hawks took over at the AIC 35. Murphy went 4-for-6 over the next 35 seconds, including an eight-yard touchdown throw to Bernard that sliced the deficit to 37-34 following Cerio's extra point with 2:47 on the clock.
The Saint Anselm defense forced another three-and-out on the Yellow Jackets after another onside kick and the Hawks' offense got the ball back at its own five-yard line with 1:06 left. After an offsides penalty bumped the Hawks up to the 10, Murphy found Charles for a 24-yard catch-and-run that put the ball at the 34. Following an incomplete pass to Williams, however, Murphy was picked by Rice at the 50 to seal the win for the Yellow Jackets.
Defensively, senior LB Chris Bent and junior LB Ethan Sylvain each tallied a team-high 11 tackles, while Bailey was in on a career-high nine stops.
The Hawks outgained AIC, 464-437, including 430-191 through the air.
WHAT'S THE DEAL?
By virtue of Pace's 59-31 loss at Assumption last week, the Hawks have clinched a Northeast-10 Championship Weekend berth as the No. 8 seed. They will go on the road to play the No. 5 seed Saturday, Nov. 10 at noon. The fifth seed is up for grabs this Saturday when Assumption travels to Merrimack for a 1 p.m. tilt. The winner of that game will host the Hawks.
ROOKIE OF THE LAST FIVE WEEKS?
Freshman QB Andrew Murphy captured his fourth Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week award in the last five weeks after his performance against first-place AIC on Oct. 26. Murphy, who also garnered ECAC Offensive Player of the Week honors, broke a pair of school records and accounted for four of the Hawks' five touchdowns in a 37-34 near-upset loss. Murphy threw for 430 yards as he erased the previous school record of 408 yards that was set by Michael Pierce against Pace on Sept. 25, 2010. Murphy also toppled the program record for completions as he connected on 47 of his career-high 66 attempts, breaking the mark of 37 that was held by both Shane Dinagen (Oct. 16, 2004 at Bryant) and Pierce (Oct. 31, 2009 vs. New Haven). Murphy's 71.2 completion percentage is tops in program history of anyone with more than 45 attempts. Murphy threw three touchdowns and also rushed for 18 yards and another score.
RECEIVING CORPS SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
In their 37-34 loss against first-place AIC on Oct. 26, the Hawks' receivers collectively reached feats never before seen at Saint Anselm. Junior WR Justin Bernard recorded 12 receptions for 85 yards and three touchdowns, which matched his career high that he set the previous week at Merrimack. Junior WR Eric Feehan posted career bests in both catches (11) and receiving yards (117). Feehan had previously caught 10 passes earlier this year at Assumption on Sept. 7 and racked up 114 receiving yards at AIC on Oct. 8 of last season. Sophomore WR Ahkeen Williams reeled in a career-high 11 passes for 92 yards, while senior WR Craig Dennis totaled 84 yards and matched his career best with eight catches. It marks the first time ever that three Saint Anselm receivers have each recorded at least 10 catches in the same game and the first time ever that four receivers have each amassed 80-plus yards in the same contest.
OFFENSE HEATING UP
After averaging just 235.5 yards per contest through the first four games of the season, the Hawks have averaged 449.4 yards over the last five contests. In addition, the Hawks have rushed for over 100 yards in two of their last three games, after not touching the century mark through their first six contests.
Sophomore WR Justin Bernard is 10th in the country and second in the Northeast-10 in receptions per game (7.9), as well as 31st in the nation and third in the conference in receiving yards per game (90.2) ... junior RB Keith Charles ranks 14th in the country with 164.9 all-purpose yards per game ... senior P Shea Cerio ranks second in the conference in punting average (38.1). His career-high 61-yard punt against Kutztown on Sept. 3, which is a yard shy of the school record, is the second longest this season in the conference, while his 12 punts that have been downed inside the 20-yard line leads the conference.
BENT, BUT DON'T BREAK
Senior LB Chris Bent has been a bright spot, defensively, so far this season. Bent has registered a team-leading 91 tackles, including 49 solo stops, and ranks 30th in the nation, as well as fourth in the conference, in tackles per game (10.1).
YOU CAN'T BE CERIO!
Senior P/K Shea Cerio, who matched Saint Anselm's single-game record of 13 punts in the season opener at Kutzown on Sept. 3, needs just three more punts to become the school's career leader in that category. Jeff Dandurand tallied 181 punts from 1999-02.
SAINT ANSELM BERNARD
Junior WR Justin Bernard did all he could to offset the Merrimack offensive attack Oct. 20, as he caught 11 passes for 160 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. In addition, senior WR Craig Dennis made six catches for 81 yards and a score, while sophomore WR Ahkeen Williams notched seven receptions for 88 yards. It marked the first time the Hawks had three receivers with at least 80 receiving yards since Nov. 6, 2010 when Bernard, Marcel Bouie and then-freshman Keith Charles each reached the century mark in an upset win at New Haven.
ALL THREE FACETS COMING THROUGH
In their 48-21 Homecoming victory against Pace on Oct. 13, the Hawks received a touchdown from their offense, defense and special teams. It is just the second time in program history the Hawks have achieved the feat and the first time since Sept. 29, 2001 when they did it against Assumption.
CHARLES IS SPECIAL
Junior RB Keith Charles broke out as he amassed nearly 300 all-purpose yards in a 48-21 win against Pace on Oct. 13. Charles carried 11 times for a career-best 119 yards (10.8 avg) and a touchdown, while also making two catches for 21 yards. Charles also returned three kicks for 148 yards, including a career-high 82-yard return for a touchdown in the opening quarter, which netted him both Northeast-10 and ECAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
MORE ON THE CHARLES TD RETURN
Junior RB Keith Charles' 82-yard kickoff return against Pace on Oct. 13 was just the sixth special teams return for a touchdown, including the fourth kick return for a score, in team history. Oddly enough, both punt returns and two of the four kick returns have come against Assumption.
WHAT A RUSH
After not cracking the century mark in the first six game of the season, the Hawks amassed a season-high 267 yards on the ground in their 48-21 victory against Pace on Oct. 13. Junior RB Keith Charles led the way with a career-best 119 yards on 11 carries (10.8 avg) and a touchdown, while fellow junior RB Greg Bell ran for a career-high 90 yards on 12 carries (7.5 avg) and a score.
HEY, DON'T FORGET ABOUT US!
The Hawks' defense came up big in their 48-21 win against Pace on Oct. 13, holding the Setters to season lows of 21 points and 375 yards of total offense. The Hawks recorded a season-high 14 tackles for a loss and matched their season best with four sacks. Junior DL Lou Licciardi recovered a fumble and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown after senior DL Mike Hobbs' strip-sack, while senior LB Chris Bent brought an interception back 73 yards for a score that was eventually called back when the final 34 yards were wiped out due to an official's inadvertent whistle.
Senior P/K Shea Cerio did a little bit of everything in the Hawks' 48-21 win against Pace on Oct. 13. Cerio booted four extra points, punted once, ran for 24 yards on a fake punt and tossed a two-point conversion to freshman TE Mike Lombard on a fake extra point. Cerio's fake punt with the Hawks facing a fourth-and-12 kept the drive alive and allowed the offense to come back on the field to finish the drive with a touchdown that made it 40-14 with 1:58 left in the third quarter. Cerio struck again 1:48 later when he received the snap on a fake extra point, rolled out to his left and hit Lombard on the left side of the end zone for a two-point conversion that made it 48-14.
MURPHY NABS NORTHEAST-10 ROOKIE OF THE WEEK...AGAIN
Freshman QB Andrew Murphy produced a solid follow-up to his collegiate starting debut Oct. 6 against Bentley. In his first home start under the lights, Murphy connected on 32 of 48 passes for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Bentley defense had entered the game only allowing 9.3 ppg, including 1.5 ppg after halftime. Murphy helped the Hawks put 28 points on the board - all after the intermission.
Senior LB Chris Bent and Freshman DB Jack Hopkins each tallied a game-high 13 tackles against Bentley on Oct. 6, in addition to recording their first career interceptions.
OFFENSE BACK ON TRACK?
After putting up 351.1 yards per game over the previous three seasons, the Hawks' offense was averaging just 235.5 yards per contest this season before it erupted for 500 yards and four touchdowns at Southern Connecticut State on Sept. 29.
The defense also got into the act at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 29, recording a season-high four sacks, as well as a pair of interceptions. The Hawks' D held the Owls without a third-down conversion in the first half (0-7) as it helped the squad take a 17-16 lead into the break.
MOVE OVER, MARC
Sophomore WR Justin Bernard caught 13 passes for 226 yards and a career-high two touchdowns at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 29. The 226 yards eclipses the school record of 187 set by Marc Wilson against Plymouth State on Sept. 5, 2009. Bernard earned Beyond Sports Network (BSN) Offensive Player of the Week honors as one of six Division II players on the squad, including one of two wide receivers.
HE'S A FRESHMAN?!
In his first collegiate start at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 29, freshman QB Andrew Murphy completed 29 of 43 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns, while throwing just one interception. The 405 yards are the most in program history for a freshman, surpassing Michael Pierce's 397 against New Haven on Oct. 3, 2009, and just three yards short of matching Pierce's overall school record of 408 that he set against Pace on Sept. 25, 2010. The four touchdowns match Pierce's four against Plymouth State on Sept. 5, 2009 for most by a Saint Anselm freshman and are also the most in school history for a true freshman. Murphy was named the Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week for his efforts.
CAREER HIGHS FOR 'KEEN
Sophomore WR Ahkeen Williams put together his best game in a Saint Anselm uniform at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 29 as he set personal career bests in receptions (9), receiving yards (96), receiving touchdowns (2), rushing attempts (8) and rushing yards (82).
DOING IT ALL
Sophomore WR Justin Bernard had a game to remember in the Hawks' home opener against Stonehill on Sept. 14. Bernard caught seven passes for 113 yards (the second highest total of his career) and a touchdown. In addition, Bernard tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to fellow sophomore WR Brandon Gomes that gave Saint Anselm a 13-7 lead midway through the second quarter. Bernard is the first non-QB ever to throw a touchdown pass of that length for the Hawks and the first to complete a TD since K/WR Michael Garcarz connected on a 19-yard score against Assumption on Sept. 11, 2004.
PICKING AND CHOOSING
The Hawks' two interception leaders from a year ago, sophomore LB Ethan Sylvain (5) and junior DB Trevor Jessie (4), each picked off a pass against Stonehill. It marked the first two INTs of the year for Saint Anselm. Sylvain ran his interception back 45 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter that gave the Hawks a 20-14 advantage.
THREE FOR ME
The Hawks have found the end zone three times in their first two games, with junior running back Keith Charles scoring all three touchdowns – a receiving score at Kutztown and a pair of rushing TDs at Assumption.
CUIPA BREAKS RECORD
Sophomore QB Stephen Cuipa broke a nearly 12-year-old record when he completed 80 percent (16-20) of his passes at Assumption on Sept. 7. The previous record was held by Keith Comeau, who connected on 76.9 percent (20-26) of his throws at Stonehill on Nov. 4, 2000.
Junior wide WR Eric Feehan, who broke out a year ago as the team's second leading receiver, continued his solid play with a career-best 10 catches for 91 yards at Assumption on Sept. 7.
For the second straight year, junior running back Keith Charles scored Saint Anselm's first touchdown of the season. Charles caught a 25-yard touchdown pass at Kutztown on Aug. 30, one year after scampering in from two yards out at home against Kutztown on Sept. 3, 2011.
PREDICTING THE FUTURE
The Hawks were picked to finish eighth in the Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Aug. 20. New Haven was chosen as the favorite to win the conference after collecting seven-first place votes and point total of 63 to beat out Southern Connecticut, which earned one first-place vote and 53 total points. AIC, which received the other first-place vote, came in third with 50 points. With 41 points apiece, Bentley and Merrimack tied for the fourth-place slot, as Assumption (29) edged out Stonehill (24) for sixth place. Saint Anselm (15) and Pace (8) rounded out the poll.
The Saint Anselm College Department of Athletics has partnered with WGAM 'The Game' Radio for the upcoming 2012-13 season. As part of the agreement, WGAM 'The Game' will feature the Saint Anselm Coaches' Show once per week. The Saint Anselm Coaches' Show will air every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. as part of "The Nick Anastos Show," which runs from noon-2 p.m. Anastos, a Bedford, N.H., native, has served as the color analyst for the Hawks' Pack Network broadcasts of football, men's and women's basketball and men's and women's ice hockey since 2010. The show will highlight what is happening in the world of Saint Anselm athletics, as Anastos will chat with both a head coach and student-athlete during the 30-minute segment.
LIVE VIDEO STREAMING
Saint Anselm Athletics and Pack Network will once again team up for the 2012-13 season to offer an industry-leading streaming video solution. The service will feature live event productions that include multiple cameras, an on-screen scoreboard and graphics so that fans can still be part of the action even when they can't make it to the game. And starting this season, fans can stream games live on their ipad or iphone. This season, all football, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's hockey games will be streamed live at SaintAnselmHawks.tv. The Hawks All-Access Pass, available for $69.95, gives fans the opportunity to watch not only all the live coverage of various Saint Anselm home athletic events, but also premium content not available to view without the All-Access Pass. The premium content includes an in-depth archive section of all video available. Single-event subscriptions for all live events will be available throughout the season for $6.95.