By Jeff Porter
Commencing a season on the road is certainly never an easy task, in any sport—especially football.
This past Saturday, Sept. 14, served as a testament to this statement for the Dutchmen football team, as the Utica College Pioneers were victorious with a score of 25-16.
Facing off with the already 1-0 Utica Pioneers, the Dutchmen were well aware that this would be no easy contest.
Leading the Dutchmen in offense was quarterback Connor Eck ‘15, who rushed in a touchdown of his own; along with 23 other offensive carries for 53 yards on the ground.
Eck threw two interceptions, but ultimately threw for 261 yards of total offense.
Other notable performances on offense included 72 yards receiving and an early touchdown for receiver TJ Franzese ‘14 and 62 yards receiving for receiver Joe Vito ‘16.
Defensive back Josh Rose ‘14 led the pack with a team-high eight tackles, and linebacker Vito-Joseph Capuano ‘17 tallied seven tackles, an impressive start for a young player.
Although the Dutchmen fell short in the road opener, there are definitely some reasons to be optimistic for the remainder of the season.
Firstly, it is evident that Union is receiving sound contributions across the board from its first-years, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
This is important for both the chemistry of the team as well as their performance on the field.
Having a strong group of seniors is a bonus to every team; however, having a strong first-year presence, like that brought by Capuano, is of equal importance.
The strength between years also offers the Dutchmen something to look forward to for years to come.
Secondly, Union wound up registering 314 yards of total offense, which proves that moving the ball downfield should not be an issue for the Dutchmen this season.
Having such a strong offensive presence is crucial for a team like Union, featuring the dynamic quarterback, Eck.
With Eck’s passing and the impressive rushing and receiving brought on by other Dutchmen, Union is sure to have no trouble putting offensive pressure on their opponents.
Despite the loss to Utica, the Dutchmen put forth a strong effort and the aforementioned qualities shone through the upsetting loss.
It will definitely be interesting to see how these inter-year relationships help the Dutchmen on the road to victory.
Union will play its home-opener Saturday, Sep. 21 against Ithica College at 1 p.m. at Frank Bailey Field.
Be sure to come out to support the ever-fighting Dutchmen and especially the first-years who are new to both Union and the immense athletic support of the student body!