Chargers Roll In 58-19 Victory at Pace

Andy Beardsley

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – The University of New Haven football team defeated Pace University 58-19 Saturday afternoon in a Northeast-10 Conference game in N.Y. With the win the Chargers clinch at least a share of the 2010 Northeast-10 Conference Championship and improve to 8-1 on the season, 6-1 in the NE-10. The Setters fall to 0-7 overall and 0-5 in the NE-10.

On their fifth play of the game’s opening drive, New Haven quarterback Ryan Osiecki connected with Sharieff Hall down the left side numbers for a 44-yard touchdown pass just over two minutes into the game. The Chargers would continue to score throughout the quarter. The UNH defense forced the Setters to punt after five plays on their first drive and New Haven regained possession on its own 16-yard line with 8:56 remaining in the quarter. Four plays later the Chargers took a 13-0 lead when second-string quarterback Ronnie Nelson connected on a 52-yard touchdown pass and catch to tight end Kameel Lashley. The extra point was blocked and the Chargers maintained a 13-0 lead.

Pace then took the ensuing Chargers kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown with 7:05 left in the first quarter. After a good extra point, Pace trailed 13-7. Hall returned the next kickoff 20-yards and gave New Haven the ball back at its own 32-yard line. Running back Victor Jones then took the ball and ran 68-yards for the Chargers third touchdown of the quarter, with 6:46 still left on the clock. Chris Scifo’s extra point split the uprights and the Chargers took a 20-7 lead.

Chidoziem Ezemma sacked the Setters quarterback on their fourth play of the next drive and put the Setters into a tough 4th-and-12 from their own 45-yard line. On the Setters’ next play, quarterback Jordan Raynor’s pass sailed out of the hands of its receiver and the Chargers took over on downs. Running back Mike DeCaro then took the reins for the Chargers. The junior capped a 5-play, 43-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown run with 1:58 left in the first quarter. After a Scifo extra point, the Chargers led 27-7.

The Setters regained possession and held possession as time expired in the first quarter. The UNH defense would eventually stall the Setters at their own 33-yard line before forcing a punt. New Haven then took the ball 53-yards on 10-plays to the Pace 18-yard line. Scifo then came on a connected on a 35-yard field to give New Haven a 30-7 lead.

Pace muffed the ensuing pooch kickoff and the Chargers would once again regain possession with 7:59 left in the first half. New Haven’s David Thomas recovered the ball which was fumbled by Eric Santos. DeCaro once again went to work and carried the ball two, once for two yards and again for 42 yards and New Haven’s fifth touchdown of the afternoon. Scifo’s kicked sailed through and the Chargers led 37-7 with 7:08 remaining in the second quarter.

Pace then mounted one of two scoring drives on the afternoon. The Setters put together a 7-play, 58-yard drive, which was capped by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Raynor to Eric Ortega with 3:29 left in the half. Ahmet Basci got his hands on the extra point attempt, which kept the score 37-13 lead the end of the half.

New Haven added one more touchdown in the first half as Jones powered the UNH offense 57-yards on 7-plays in the closing minutes of the half. The running back also scored a 4-yard touchdown on the final play of the drive, one play after crossing the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the season. Scifo again connected and put UNH up 44-13, a lead they carried into halftime.

The Charger offense was halted in the third quarter, while Pace scored on their second drive of the half. The Setters managed a 10-play, 86-yard drive in the middle of the third quarter to cut the score to 44-19. Ortega connected with running back Jurrell Hawkins on a passing play from 28-yards out for the score.

New Haven took over on the ensuing kickoff at its own 45-yard line. They held possession as the third quarter came to an end. Two-minutes into the fourth quarter, Nelson widened the lead with a 3-yard touchdown rush to give the Chargers a 50-19 lead. An extra point and the Chargers led 51-19.

The game’s only other points came on Pace’s next possession. Reynor rolled out to his left on the first play of the drive and UNH cornerback Jon Jackson stepped in front of the pass at the 50-yard line. The sophomore then returned the ball 50-yards for the Chargers final touchdown of the game. Scifo scored his 10th point of the game to make the score 58-19.

Neither team scored on their final possessions and the Chargers sealed their eighth victory of the season.

The Chargers racked up 529 yards on 56 offensive plays, while the defense gave up 319 yards on 63 Pace plays. New Haven relied heavily on the running game as it amassed 307 yards on the day. The Chargers also led the turnover battle once again, with a plus-two on the day.

The two-headed rushing attack for UNH was led by Jones who finished with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. DeCaro added 126 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries as well. Quarterback Ronnie Nelson added 26 yards and one touchdown on five carries. Osiecki threw for 151 yards and one touchdown on 11-of-13 passing, while Nelson went a perfect 3-for-3 with 71 yards and another touchdown. Lashley led the UNH receivers with four grabs for 82 yards and a touchdown. Hall added a pair of catches for 55 yards and a score, while Demetrius Washington-Ellison amassed 44 yards on two catches.

With today’s numbers, running back Victor Jones became the third player in Charger football history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. The junior has 1,049 so far this season, surpassing Don Highsmith (1,026 in 1997) for fourth in the record books. The top three spots on the single-season record list belong to former Harlon Hill Trophy winner and UNH football legend Roger Graham.

The Chargers will return to the gridiron for their final game of the regular season on Saturday, November 6 when they host Saint Anselm College at DellaCamera Stadium. Game time for the Chargers and Hawks is set for 12 p.m. Complete game coverage can be found on in the week leading up to the game.