Story and photo courtesy of Hobart Athletics
Senior quarterback Nick Strang threw for a season-high 309 yards and three touchdowns and the running back trio of junior Steven Webb, senior Bobby Dougherty, and first-year Conner Hartigan combined for 208 yards on the ground and five TDs to propel nationally-ranked Hobart to a 61-8 victory over host WPI in a Liberty League football contest on Saturday afternoon.
The Statesmen, ranked No. 10 in the AFCA poll and No. 12 in the D3football.com Top 25, remain perfect at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play. WPI is now 1-4 on the season and 0-2 Liberty League action.
The Hobart defense made its presence known on the first play from scrimmage when sophomore defensive end Tyre Coleman forced a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Nick Zapp at the WPI 41. The visitors then turned it over themselves nine plays later when WPI lineman Nick Chambers notched a fourth down interception and rumbled 45 yards to the Hobart 25. Engineer running back Chris Turner then carried three straight times, the last of which went 10 yards for a Crimson and Gray touchdown.
After WPI missed the extra point, Hobart drove 54 yards in eight plays capped by a Webb 2-yard touchdown run to level the score at 6. Joey Allen blocked the extra point and William Alves returned it for a defensive two-point conversion to make it 8-6 WPI.
From that point on, it was all Hobart as the Statesmen scored touchdowns on their final four possession of the half. Strang hit junior wide out Yosh Karbowniczak for a 40-yard touchdown 44 seconds before the end of the first quarter. Webb rolled in again from 2 yards out early in the second quarter before Strang hooked up with first-year running back Christopher Holoman for a 4-yard scoring pass to cap a 13-play, 83-yard drive. The visitors then used a Hail Mary on the final play before intermission as Strang and Karbowniczak connected a 32-yard bomb at the gun.
Dougherty was the story in the third quarter as he accounted for both scores with a 1-yard touchdown and a 3-yard scoring plunge. Hartigan found the end zone in the fourth quarter when he rumbled in from 43 yards out and the defense got into the scoring act with a safety and a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown by first-year linebacker Trayvon Toney.
Strang completed 21-of-31 passes without an interception. Senior Junior Woodard led all players with eight catches and 119 yards, extending his game with a catch streak to 25, the fourth longest in school history. Karbowniczak hauled in five balls for 106 yards. Hartigan finished with a season-high 106 yards on the ground, all in the second half while Webb and Dougherty added 58 and 44 yards respectively.
WPI recorded a mere 78 yards of total offense (55 rushing, 23 passing). Turner picked up 67 yards on 12 carries for the Engineers. WPI's passers were a combined 3-of-11. Trev Rancourt caught two for 15 yards.
Senior linebacker Andrew Klindera had eight tackles for Hobart while all three of Coleman's stops were credited as tackles for loss.
Michael Grasis and Shane Grogan led the Crimson and Gray efforts with nine stops apiece.
Hobart held a commanding edge in both total yards (542-78) and time of possession (39:46 to 20:14).
WPI is back on the gridiron next Saturday hosting Union on Homecoming at 1 p.m. Hobart is also at home next Saturday when they entertain Springfield at noon.