By Terence Finnigan
The Union College football team came into this weekend looking for that pivotal first win. After dropping two close games by a few last second points, a win would have given the team a huge confidence boost. Unfortunately, they came up short once again.
They opened the season at Salve Regina where a last-second 49-yard field goal lifted Salve over Union by a score of 25-22. Then, last week, the Dutchmen fell to Utica College 28-27. There was a silver lining to that loss, though, as quarterback Drew Connolly ‘12 reached a career milestone of 5,000 yards. He is only the fifth quarterback in Union history to throw for 5,000 yards.
The team’s rough start continued this weekend, losing their home opener to Ithaca College by a score of 37-18. The Ithaca Bombers captured the lead on their opening drive going up 7-0 early. The Dutchmen’s first possession was very brief, as the Bombers recovered a Union fumble on the second play of the drive. The fumble would later lead to an Ithaca field goal which extended the lead to 10-0.
Union would strike back on their next possession when Connolly stepped into the pocket and threw a beautiful 22-yard pass into the hands of senior wide Justin Gallo. This game proved to be a milestone for Gallo, who became second overall in career receiving yards in Union history.
Ithaca would extend their lead again in the second quarter after a 6 yard touchdown run by Jarret Naiden, making the score 17-7. They would tally another 3 points after intercepting Connolly’s pass, that later led to a 21-yard field goal. The Dutchmen would turn the ball over again in their next drive that resulted in another Ithaca touchdown. The Dutchmen went into halftime down by a score of 27-7.
In the second half, the Dutchmen managed to outscore their opponents, but it wasn’t nearly enough to steal the win. The Dutchmen cut the deficit to 15 after Connolly’s 33-yard touchdown pass that hit Justin Gallo in the corner of the endzone, and then within 12 points after Adam Henry hit a 20 yard field goal early in the 4th quarter. That would prove to be the closest Union would come to gaining the lead, however, as Ithaca would score again late in the 4th and end up winning by a score of 37-18.
The 0-3 start is an ominous one for the Dutchmen, especially following their 2-7 season from the year before. If they can’t get on a roll soon, they will record consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the late 70s.
The Dutchmen will try again to get that first win when they travel to the University of Rochester where they begin Liberty League play. Game time is at 12pm this Saturday.