Men’s football comes up short in upset bid of Hobart

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Alex Kaplanovich ’18 reels in a pass in Saturday’s 27-23 loss to Hobart. Courtesy of Union Athletics
Alex Kaplanovich ’18 reels in a pass in Saturday’s 27-23 loss to Hobart. Courtesy of Union Athletics

After leading late in the game this past Saturday, men’s football fell to #22 Hobart after conceding a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The 100th all-time meeting between the two schools marked the opening of Liberty League play for both sides, and kept Hobart on track to continuing climbing in the national rankings.

It was a tough start for the Dutchmen. After forcing a fumble on its first defensive possession, Hobart wide receiver Brandon Shed ’18 burnt the Union secondary on a play action pass just minutes later to put the Statesmen up 7-0.

Union responded however with the combination of a potent rushing attack and a shutout from the defense for the rest of the half.

The scoring came from on a touchdown run by running back Connor Kinzelmann ’18 to tie it up, as well as a late field goal from kicker Jonathan Schaible ‘18 to close out the first half with a 10-7 lead for Union.

The Dutchmen were able to keep their momentum going in the second half, opening with a score on their first possession in the form of a two yard touchdown pass from Blake Geller ’17 to fullback Tom Jensen ’17, extending the lead to 17-7. The touchdown marked the first of the season for both players, and the first of Jensen’s Union career.

Hobart did not go down easy, as they took the lead with consecutive touchdown drives to close out the third quarter. To respond, it took the Dutchmen a 15-play, 77-yard drive down the field to take back the lead from Hobart.

The drive was capped by a 2-yard run from Kinzelmann to punch it in for six, giving Union a 23-19 lead. The touchdown was Kinzelmann’s second of the day and fourth of the season.

The celebration was short-lived however as Hobart cornerback Tom D’Antonio intercepted and returned Union’s 2-point conversion attempt 98 yards in the other direction.

The four point swing made the score 23-21, and was arguably the moment that ultimately cost Union the game. On Hobart’s ensuing possession, the Dutchmen defense forced the Statesmen into a pivotal fourth and eight from the Union 23-yard line.

Unfortunately, Hobart quarterback Shane Sweeney was able to find his #1 target Brandon Shed, who tallied his 3rd touchdown grab of the game. This marked the 2nd three-touchdown game of Shed’s career against Union alone, after he torched the Dutchmen secondary for 179 yards just a year ago.

The Statesmen would go on to fail their two-point conversion, but all they needed was six after the previous miscue on Union’s two-point attempt. 27-23 would prove to be the final score.

The loss marked Union’s seventh straight against Hobart. Although there are plenty of games left on the schedule, the Dutchmen currently sit at 1-3 overall, and 0-1 in conference play.

So far, the year has been up and down for a Union team that has showed as much promise as it has imperfection. In comparison to last season, the program has a lot to feel good about with the new coaching regime.

Improvements ranging from the 61st ranked total defense in Division III (up 136 spots from last year), to the rushing attack ranked 88th in Division III (up over 100 spots), to examples of astounding discipline with a team ranked 2nd in penalties per game (up over 100 spots) are all positives.

The Dutchmen will look for their second win of the season when they take the field on October 1, facing off against a 3-1 squad from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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