MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior quarterback Eric Fairweather had a hand in four touchdowns on Saturday as the Saint Anselm College football team lost to Southern Connecticut State University at Grappone Stadium, 35-28.
The Hawks drop to 1-8 on the year and to 1-7 against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. The Owls move to 4-5 overall and to 3-4 against league foes. Saint Anselm winds up its season Saturday, Nov. 11, hosting LIU Post on Senior Day at 1 p.m.
Fairweather led Saint Anselm with three rushing touchdowns, notching 16 carries for 160 yards, while throwing for one touchdown in the third quarter. His 160 yards is the 10th-most in a single game all time by a Saint Anselm player and the fourth-most rushing yards ever by a Hawks quarterback.
Southern Connecticut struck first in the game, blocking a punt at the Saint Anselm 20-yard line and returning the ball 13 yards in only the game's first 1:27. On the team's first possession, the Owls' Eli Parks sprinted home for the three-yard touchdown at 13:28 – the Jose Conde point-after created an early 7-0 lead for the visitors.
Gabe Elliott returned a Conde kickoff 19 yards on the very next play. Correy King started the Saint Anselm drive off right with a 23-yard rush and Fairweather capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive with his first rushing touchdown of the afternoon with 10:13 left on the first quarter scoreboard.
The Owls would score again on the next possession, creating a back-and-forth feel early in the game as signal-caller Raymond Catapano sprinted home 14 yards with 5:58 left in the opening stanza. Saint Anselm had gotten a stop on fourth-and-two earlier in the drive, but a personal foul kept the ball with the Owls.
Catapano was at it again to start the second quarter, completing four passes during a 13-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Vochan Fowler only 1:27 into the quarter. Fowler finished the drive by gaining 14 yards on the ground before his lengthy touchdown reception.
Down 21-7, Fairweather got the ball back with 13:27 left in the opening half. Following an incomplete pass to Johnny Aylward, Fairweather recorded the third-longest run from scrimmage in program history by scoring an 82-yard touchdown that shrunk the Owls lead to 21-14 following the Daniel Parisi point-after make.
The very next drive saw what appeared to be a Saint Anselm stop on 3rd-and-7, but a personal foul penalty called against the Hawks allowed another chance for the Southern Connecticut offense. A six-yard Catapano rushing touchdown concluded an eight-play, 65-yard drive to extend the Owls lead to 28-14.
The momentum of the game appeared to change on the next Saint Anselm possession as Isiah Roberts touched a punt by freshman Kaden Riforgiate at the Owls' 42 yard line. The fumble was recovered by Emmanuel Akinlosotu and would give the Hawks offense another chance with time winding down in the second quarter.
A clutch 10-yard reception by Aylward set up a one-yard sprint home by Fairweather with 4:25 left in the first half, creating a 28-21 deficit for Saint Anselm to overcome to start the second half.
Both teams posted 209 total yards of offense in what was an evenly-played first half, outside of the score. Fairweather led all players with three touchdowns and 138 net yards in only 30 minutes of game action.
Southern Connecticut slowed the game down in the third quarter, taking 5:02 off the clock on the opening drive that produced a two-yard Parks rushing touchdown to make a 35-21 lead for the Owls.
The final score of the afternoon was a 15-yard touchdown pass from Fairweather with 3:04 left in the third quarter that was hauled in by Wilden Germain, producing his first career touchdown in the process.
Following the Germain score, Parisi booted a 63-yard kickoff that was fielded by Fowler. Zack Mercer rushed in and forced a fumble that was ultimately recovered by Parisi, his first career fumble recovery in 26 career games. Going for it on 4th-and-3 to start the fourth quarter, Fairweather was unable to connect with junior Kyle Hill and the ball was turned over on downs.
Ahead by only one score, the Southern Connecticut offense earned seven first downs in the fourth quarter and did not allow the Hawks a single first down en route to the victory. Saint Anselm generated only 15 fourth quarter yards of offense and had the ball for only 3:17 as the Owls ate clock with two third-down conversions.
Mercer, Liam Gillis and Nate Lewis each recorded 10-plus tackles for Saint Ansel on defense with Gillis leading the Hawks with 2.5 tackles for a combined loss of three yards. Emmanuel Akinlosotu joined Fairweather and Parisi with fumble recoveries and Kimothy Bynum, Mercer and Will Collins forced fumbles in the tilt.
Catapano finished the game with 196 passing yards on only 12 completions, throwing for one touchdown and rushing for 86 yards on 19 carries. Zhyaire Fernandes caught a team-best three passes for the Owls, who were led by Shaquan Hall's 66 total yards on two catches.
Vasilios Grigorakos led the Owls with nine total tackles.