Story and photo courtesy of Hobart Athletics
GENEVA, N.Y. - Junior running back Steve Webb rushed for a career-high 150 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hobart College football team to a 42-21 Liberty League win over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Statesmen, ranked No. 12 in the AFCA poll and No. 13 in the D3football.com poll, improved to 4-0, 1-0 in the conference while the Mariners slip to 2-2, 0-1.
Hobart got it done on the ground, grinding out a season-high 303 rushing yards. Webb and senior running back Bobby Dougherty scored on runs of 9 and 4 yards, respectively, to give the Statesmen a 14-0 first quarter lead. Dougherty finished with 72 yards rushing.
In the second quarter, Merchant Marine first-year Daniel Kennedy booted field goals from 22 and 21 yards to cut Hobart's lead to 14-6 going into halftime. The Statesmen suffered three first half turnovers that kept the home team from building a more sizeable advantage.
Hobart began to assert itself in the second half. The Mariners had the first possession but were forced to punt. Kennedy's 40 yard kick pinned the Statesmen at their own 5. Hobart used 16 plays to move 95 yards and run 8:27 off the game clock. Sophomore fullback Dominique Ellis capped the drive with a 3-yard run.
The defense gave the ball right back to the offense when junior cornerback Connor Garrett made a spectacular diving interception on an under thrown pass on third and 15. Webb took the first down handoff 38 yards to the house for a 28-6 Hobart lead.
The Mariners again went three and out as the clock expired on the third quarter. Three plays into the final frame, Webb broke off another long touchdown, scoring from 39 yards out for a 35-6 Statesmen lead.
Merchant Marine countered with an 11-play, 67-yard drive that John-Leon Gosselin finished off with a 2-yard plunge to make it 35-13 with 9:36 left. After a Hobart three and out, the Mariners put together another scoring drive, this one covered 88 yards in nine plays with sophomore quarterback Luke Stidham breaking away for a 54-yard TD run with 4:38 to go.
After the Academy failed to recover an onside kick, Hobart leaned on running back Conner Hartigan (52 yds rush) for the game's final scoring drive. The first-year got the ball on five of the six plays in the drive, scoring his first career touchdown on a 6-yard run with 69 seconds left.
Hobart senior wide receiver Junior Woodard had three catches for a game-high 33 yards. He extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 24, tying Frank Fedorjaka '89 for the fourth longest streak in school history.
Defensively, senior linebacker Andrew Klindera and sophomore linebacker Nolan Toranrecorded a team-high eight tackles apiece. The Statesmen recorded eight tackles for a loss in the game, including two each from sophomore defensive end Tyre Coleman and junior linebacker Devin Worthington.
Stidham paced the Mariners' ground game with 161 yards while Gosselin finished with 60.
Merchant Marine's defense was led by junior defensive back Tyler Washington's game-high 13 stops.
Hobart will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 29, when the Statesmen travel to WPI for another conference game, beginning at noon. The Mariners return home to host RPI in a league game at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29.