Story and photo courtesy of Hobart Athletics
GENEVA, N.Y. - The Hobart College football team completed its first unbeaten regular season in 55 years with a 43-24 Liberty League win over the University of Rochester in the Centennial Cup game at Boswell Field. The Statesmen led from start to finish for its school record 10th win of the season.
Hobart, ranked No. 7 in the AFCA poll and No. 8 in the D3football.com Top 25, outgained the Yellowjackets 482-265. Senior quarterbacks Nick Strang and Kelly Olney combined to throw for 313 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wideout Junior Woodard caught a team-high six passes for 105 yards and a TD and junior wideout Yosh Karbowniczak had four catches for a game-high 140 yards and a TD. On the ground, junior tailback Steven Webb ran for 79 yards and senior Bobby Dougherty added 74 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, senior Andrew Klindera, junior Jolyon Davis, and first-year Mark Guarino Hyde each produced eight tackles to share team-high honors. Sophomore defensive end Tyre Coleman had 2.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks, raising his season totals to 24.5 and 14.5, new Hobart records. Junior cornerback Connor Garrett broke the Hobart game record with five pass break-ups.
Rochester (4-5, 3-4) was limited to just 45 net yards rushing, but Dean Kennedy threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns to keep his team in the game until the fourth quarter. Thomas Hayes was his top target with a game-high nine catches for 87 yards and a score. The Yellowjackets got a game-high 10 tackles from James Barrett.
The Statesmen jumped out to a 14-0 lead on short TD runs by Dougherty. The first from 1 yard out capped an eight-play 44 yard drive and the second from 3 yards away finished off a six-play, 62-yard march.
Rochester bounced back with a 10-point surge in the second quarter. Derek Wager pulled in a 38-yard scoring pass from Kennedy early in the frame to make it 14-7 and Alex Antonucci added a 32-yard field goal that was set up by Hobart’s failed fake punt from deep in its own end.
The Statesmen carried a 21-10 lead into halftime thanks to Strang’s execution of the 2-minute drill. He moved Hobart 44 yards in four plays, connecting with Woodard for a 29-yard TD with 31 seconds left in the half. Strang was 8-of-11 for 124 yards in the first half.
After the break, Hobart earned two points after Rochester snapped the ball over the punters head, forcing Mike Carson to kick the ball out of the end zone for a safety and a 23-10 Statesmen lead.
The Yellowjackets scored the only touchdown of the third quarter when Brandon Young pulled in a 2-yard toss from Kennedy, completing an 11-play, 80-yard drive on the final play of the quarter.
The Statesmen countered with Olney under center. He completed a 42-yard pass to Mike Berkowitz to move Hobart into Rochester territory and then, two plays later, found Karbowniczak for 46 yards and a TD. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving the Statesmen a 29-17 lead.
Kennedy rallied Rochester, directing a 14-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard throw to Hayes in the end zone.
Once again, Olney marched Hobart right back down the field. He hit Karbowniczak for 44-yard on the first play of the drive and then connected with Christopher Holoman on a 7-yard throw. The two-point pass from Olney to Brent Matazinsky put the Statesmen in front 37-24. Olney was 6-of-11 for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
This time, Rochester was unable to answer the bell, throwing four straight incompletions to give the ball back to Hobart. The Statesmen moved the ball down to the Yellowjackets’ 5. On fourth and 3 with 4 seconds remaining, Dougherty closed out his third three-touchdown game.
The NCAA Division III Football Championship selection show is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11 and can be seen live on NCAA.com. Hobart will be making its second consecutive and seventh overall appearance in the NCAA Playoffs.