MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team limited the Yellow Jackets to only five rushing yards in Saturday's 29-21 victory over American International College.
The Hawks improve to 1-2 on the season, winning their first Northeast-10 Conference contest of the season, while the Yellow Jackets drop to 0-3 (0-1 NE10) on the year.
Saint Anselm set a program record by yielding only five total rushing yards to the Yellow Jackets, who notched 32 total carries. The Hawks also defeated American International for the first time since Sept. 26, 2015 and avenged last season's 19-0 shutout by the Yellow Jackets on Sept. 30, 2017.
The Hawks churned out 406 total yards of offense, passing for 311 yards while gaining 95 yards on the ground. Sophomore Tariq-Ali Felton (Jersey City, N.J.) recorded the first touchdown of his career, joining senior Eric Fairweather (Londonderry, N.H.) on the ledger with rushing scores for the Hawks. Junior Shawn Donovan (Abington, Mass.) joined freshman Christian Matthews-Byrd (Saddle Brook, N.J.) with touchdown receptions.
Saint Anselm scored first off of a 25-yard field goal from senior Daniel Parisi (Georgetown, Mass.), placing the Hawks ahead by a 3-0 margin. The field goal was Parisi's sixth of the year – he maintains his perfect record to date, making all six attempts through his first three games of the 2018 season. The all-time record for field goal makes in one season is 10, accomplished most recently in the 2014 season.
Thanks to a lengthy kick-off return by Fabian Thames, American International answered right back with a 25-yard touchdown reception by Lennox Green, Jr. to hand the hosts a 7-3 lead only nine seconds after Parisi put his team in front. On the very first play of a later drive, Green, Jr. hauled in a 70-yard catch for a touchdown to create a 14-3 lead for the Yellow Jackets.
Felton's first collegiate touchdown was a one-yard sprint with 4:06 left to go in the first quarter, capping a 12-play, 75-yard drive by the Hawks that was highlighted by a 23-yard catch by junior Nicholas Fiorillo (Westford, Mass.) to keep the offensive momentum going. Despite a failed point-after, Saint Anselm shrunk the visitors lead to 14-9 near the end of the first quarter.
Fairweather threw for his first touchdown of the game with 7:45 to go in the first half, connecting with Donovan on his first career touchdown reception (50 yards) to put the Hawks ahead by a 15-14 margin. Matthews-Byrd racked up 26 rushing yards on the scoring drive alone and was aided by a key first-down catch by senior Kyle Hill (Upper Marlboro, Md.).
Matthews-Byrd put the Hawks on the scoreboard once again, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass from Fairweather with 1:18 left in the first half. Falling back to the Hawks 37-yard line, Fairweather picked up huge chunks of yardage with completions to Fiorillo and Hill before the lengthy pass to Matthews-Byrd to give his team a 22-14 lead following Parisi's 50th career point after.
Following a 65-yard kick by Parisi after the scoring play, the Yellow Jackets threw an interception with 1:04 left in the first half as senior Nick Giordano (Watertown, Mass.) picked off his first career pass and returned it seven yards to set up yet another Hawks score. With only 40 yards to go, back-to-back Matthews-Byrd rushes preceded a 21-yard catch by freshman Andrew Duval (Goffstown, N.H.) to set up a five-yard rushing score by Fairweather.
Ahead by a 29-14 lead at the break, neither team found the end zone in a third quarter that saw only 96 yards of combined offense. The Hawks were only 2-for-14 through the air coming out of halftime and both teams had to punt four times.
American International made things interesting with 10:52 to go in regulation time, capping a 12-play, 85-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass by Prince Olubakinda to Olivier Georges.
Each team had one final offensive drive in the game's final 10 minutes. The Yellow Jackets drained 5:59 off the clock and ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Hawks 30-yard line after gaining only 27 net yards.
Saint Anselm entered clock-draining mode on offense, never relinquishing possession with Hill, Donovan, Fiorillo and Matthews-Byrd hauling in short passes while keeping the chains moving. The Hawks picked up two much-needed first downs and in the game's final eight seconds, Fairweather sprinted around the field and threw the ball out of bounds as time expired.
Junior CJ Miller (Clinton, Md.) led Saint Anselm with 12 tackles while senior Zack Mercer (Melrose, Mass.) had nine tackles, including two-and-a-half for a combined loss of 14 yards. In total, the Hawks had 12 tackles for a net loss of 58 yards. Giordano finished with three pass breakups and had his team's lone interception. Sophomore Ryan Sullivan (Stoughton, Mass.) had seven tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Senior Emmanuel Akinlosotu (Upper Marlboro, Md.) picked up a fumble recovery for Saint Anselm, who finished with 71 total tackles in the victory. Classmate Nate Lewis (Lanham, Md.) was responsible for a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup with freshman Aidan Gillis (Marblehead, Mass.) notching two sacks for a total loss of 12 yards.
Olubakinda finished the game with 298 passing yards, completing 22-of-46 passes and throwing for three touchdowns. Samad Davila, an All-Rookie team selection by the NE10, was limited to only 23 yards on eight carries. Christian Dargan had a game-long kick return of 38 yards for the Yellow Jackets.
Jaysen Thompsen had 13 total tackles, joining Alex Silva (12) and Cyriacus Ibezim (10) with double-digit takedowns.