Story and photo courtesy of Hobart Athletics
GENEVA, N.Y. - The 18th-ranked Hobart College football team blocked a pair of punts that led to a pair of short touchdown runs as the Statesmen defeated Geneva College (Pa.) 28-7 on Boswell Field. Sophomore Nolan Toran was credited with one of the blocks and recovered both on the Golden Tornadoes' 1-yard line.
The first half was played through torrential rains, bogging down both offenses. Hobart's punt return unit set the stage for the first score of the day, when junior Tom Elder broke through the middle of the line for the block. Toran dove on the loose ball at the 1. On first down, senior Nick Strang plunged across the goal line on a quarterback keeper for a 7-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
The offensive struggles for both teams extended into the second quarter and again the punt return unit came up big. This time Toran blocked and recovered the punt setting up Strang's 1-yard keeper with 8:05 remaining in the half.
Hobart's defense, which shut out Dickinson last week, was once again dominant. For the second game in a row, the visitors failed to move across midfield in the first half at the Boz. In fact, Geneva had just three first downs in the opening 30 minutes, two of which came via Statesmen penalties.
Both teams punted away their first possession of the second half, but junior Yosh Karbowniczak made sure the Golden Tornadoes faced a long field, getting off a low punt that took a Hobart bounced and rolled down to the Geneva 7, a career-long 65 yard punt.
On the ensuing drive, the Golden Tornadoes finally moved into Statesmen territory, taking advantage of a pair of personal foul penalties against Hobart. Geneva shot itself in the foot with a 15-yard penalty for an illegal block and was forced to punt.
The rains abated in the second half and the Statesmen offense put together its best drive of the game, beginning at the 6:04 mark of the third quarter. Hobart marched 83 yards in 14 plays, running 7:16 off the clock. Senior Bobby Dougherty (15 rush, 43 yds, TD) capped the drive with a 2-yard scamper for a 21-0 lead with 13:48 left in the game.
Geneva tried to answer, driving to the Hobart 32, but sophomore Tyre Coleman forced junior quarterback Rocco Colaveccia to fumble and junior Connor Garrett recovered for the Statesmen.
Hobart took to the air for its final scoring drive as Strang (13-19-1, 164 yds, TD) completed back-to-back passes to senior Junior Woodard (6 rec, 99 yds, TD) for 29 and 26 yards, the latter gave Hobart a 28-0 lead.
A Hobart fumble near midfield set the stage for Geneva's lone score late in the frame. Colavecchia called his own number for a 22-yard TD run that capped a 5-play, 49- yard drive.
Statesmen first-year Conner Hartigan rushed for a team-high 66 yards. Junior linebacker Devin Worthington paced the defense with seven tackles, including a Hobart game record 4.5 for a loss, and two sacks.
Colavecchia rushed for 57 yards and a TD and completed 8-of-20 for 100 yards. Senior running back Jordan Curry was his top target, pulling in four passes for 40 yards. Dillon Goodell and Ryan Fronius shared game-high honors with 10 tackles apiece.
Hobart will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, when the Statesmen visit Utica. Geneva continues its season-opening road trip at Thiel next Saturday for a noon kickoff.