CHESTER, PA-- The Widener University defense held the Fairleigh Dickinson University football team's offense to just 80 total yards of offense (-4 yads rushing) and no points and rolled for a 30-8 victory today in Chester, PA. The Devils fall to 0-2 on the season and have now lost 13 straight games, while the Pioneers improve to 2-0.
Widener held just a 10-6 lead at half-time, before outscoring FDU 20-2 in the second half, getting all of its second half points in a span of 7:25 in the third quarter.
The Pioneers opened the scoring after Ryan Ricedorf picked off a pass to put them on the Devils 30-yard line. Leon Payne later ripped off a 16 yard run and followed it with a three-yard touchdown jaunt at 9:14 of the first quarter. Jeff Noonan's kick was good and Widener took a 7-0 lead. FDU failed to get a first down on their following drive, but the Devils defense capitalized on Widener's first play of its next drive when junior Waleed Abduelal (Staten Island, NY) intercepted Pioneers quarterback Mike Granato and raced 52 yards for an FDU score. Junior kicker Rich Dwyer's (New Providence, NJ) kick was no good and the Devils trailed, 7-6, with 7:19 to go in the first period.
Widener threatened to add to its lead early in the second quarter, marching 76 yards to the FDU five-yard line, but a 12-yard sack by junior Anthony Gagliardo (East Stroudsburg, PA) pushed the Pioneers back to the 17-yard line on fourth down. Widener set up for a field goal attempt, but faked the try as Trader was stopped seven yards short of the goal-line on a run.Widener came back on their next drive, which started on the FDU 18-yard line following a 26 yard punt return by Joe Turchi, and converted a 19-yard field goal by Noonan for a 10-6 advantage with 6:43 to play in the first half. The Devils offense failed to produce in the first half, achieving its only first down of the half with 1:38 to play in the opening half.
FDU opened the second half with sophomore quarterback Mark Pollifrone (Manalapan, NJ) throwing his second interception of the game, being picked off by Bill Collins, who returned the ball to the Devils 23-yard line. Two plays later, Granato completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rickey Green, which was followed by a good PAT from Noonan for a 17-6 Pioneer lead with 12:54 on the third period clock. Widener's defense held again and the Pioneers got the ball back and proceeded to drive 52 yards for a TD, which came on a six-yard run by Payne. Payne sparked the drive with a 21-yard run on second and 20 from the Widener 44-yard line. Granato also came through during the drive, hitting Ian Schneider for 21 yards on second and 14 from the FDU 39-yard line. Noonan,s extra point was no good and the Pioneers led 23-6 with 7:50 to go in the third period. The Devils were backed up by the Pioneers defense once again in their next drive as senior QB Mike Morgan (Hackettstown, NJ) was sacked twice for a loss of 15 yards, forcing FDU to punt as Widener took over on the 50-yard line and scored on its first play from scrimmage on a 50-yard run by Jerome Robinson. Noonan was god on the kick for a 30-6 Pioneers lead with 5:29 left in the third quarter. The Devils finally scored again when Widener back-up quarterback Jeff Jones couldn't handle a bad snap as it went through the back of the endzone from the Pioneers five-yard line for a safety to give FDU's defense eight points for the day. The Devils trailed 30-8 with 11:11 remaining in the game. Widener failed to score for the rest of the game as most of its second string played out the minutes.
Payne finished the game with 107 rushing yards and two TDs on 26 carries and also became the Pioneer all-time career leader with 440 rushing attempts, passing Hal Johnson (1977-80). Robinson ran for 57 yards and a touchdown on nine caries, while Granato completed 15 of 27 passes for 187 yards and a passing score. Scheinder led all receivers with seven catches for 111 yards. Bill Collins led the Widener defense with six tackles, including three sacks for a loss of 16 yards and a 10-yard interception. Morgan connected on eight of 20 pass attempts for the Devils for 63 yards, while being sacked six times (five times in the third quarter). Sophomore Mike Kuziemski (South Amboy, NJ) led the FDU wideouts with four catches for 33 yards, while senior tailback Bill Bachman (Hackettstown, NJ) caught a pair of passes for 18 yards, while also rushing for 18 yards on nine carries. Junior linebacker Tom Pouliot (Hillsborough, NJ) led the Devils defense with nine tackles, including one for a loss of five yards, while classmate Mike Ortiz (Weehawken, NJ) made eight hits on the day, including a tackle for a loss of eight yards. Junior Dave Dondero (Port Monmouth, NJ) also made five tackles and four pass break-ups for FDU.