SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Saint Anselm College football team was blanked by American International College on Saturday, 19-0.
Saint Anselm (0-5, 0-4 NE10) was shutout for the first time since Sept. 22, 2012 while American International (2-3, 2-2 NE10) won its second-straight game. Following a league-wide bye week, the Hawks host Assumption at Grappone Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. on Homecoming Weekend.
Hawks quarterback Eric Fairweather rushed for 87 total yards in the contest, including 55 in the first 15 minutes of play alone. He completed eight passes for 27 yards, throwing two interceptions while Kyle Hill caught two passes for 56 yards that included a game-high 49-yard connection with Fairweather.
The Saint Anselm defense kept the game within reach throughout the contest, posting three interceptions as Isaiah Douglas hauled in two wayward catches and Nate Lewis added a pick of his own. Eric Mercer made 13 tackles to lead the Hawks, joining CJ Miller (10) with double-digit takedowns.
The Yellow Jackets got on the board in the waning minutes of the first quarter, starting a late drive with an 86-yard pass completion to Ju'an Williams that brought the ball to the Saint Anselm two yard line. After back-to-back stops by the Saint Anselm defense, American International saw Samad Davila rush the ball home for the one yard score.
Shortly after the start of the second quarter, a punt by the Yellow Jackets' Philip Hoke was downed within the Saint Anselm one yard line. On the first play of the Hawks drive, Fairweather was brought down in the end zone by Cyriacus Ibezim for the safety, lifting American International to the 9-0 lead with 9:22 to go in the opening half.
Through the first 30 minutes of play, Saint Anselm generated 95 rushing yards but mustered only 16 yards of aerial offense. American International threw for 137 yards, completing 10-of-18 passes, and held possession for just over one minute more en route to the 9-0 lead at the break.
The Saint Anselm defense kept its team in the game through the first half, forcing the hosts to punt twice while ending two AIC drives with picks by Lewis and Douglas, respectively. Ultimately, big plays at inopportune times for Saint Anselm yielded 211 total yards of offense to the hosts in the first half.
On the second play of the second half, a Fairweather pass was intercepted by American International and set up a 12 play, 57 yard drive that ended with a Jacob Tondel field goal.
The very next Saint Anselm possession saw a score within striking distance to begin the fourth quarter, but an incomplete pass on fourth-and-one turned the ball over on downs at the American International nine yard line. The 11 play, 48 yard drive was assisted by a 15-yard personal foul penalty called in the Yellow Jackets and the Hawks picked up three first downs, but the turnover continued the frustrating day for the visitors.
The last chance for Saint Anselm to crack the scoreboard came with under four minutes to go in regulation time. On second down and 25 yards to go, Fairweather hooked up with Hill on the aforementioned 49-yard pass to get the Hawks to within striking distance. On the ensuing play, however, American International's Darien Keith picked off the Fairweather pass and brought it back 76 yards for the touchdown.
Ahead by a 19-0 margin with 93 seconds left on the scoreboard, American International successfully executed an onside kick that ended any chance of a Saint Anselm comeback attempt.
Kwame Jarvis led the Yellow Jackets under center, completing 15-of-24 passes for 209 yards. Davila finished the day with 21 carries for 79 yards while Williams was his team's leading receiver, catching eight passes for 166 yards. Isaiah Robinson notched 10 tackles for American International as the defense tallied two interceptions for 96 yards for the hosts.