|« Tennessee State's Heffner Gets Win, And Girl in Southern Heritiage Classic||Bye Week Won't Mean Additional Rest for Lafayette »|
Wagner Tops Iona
Wagner running backs Shane Smith and Prince Young combined for 302 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Adam Farnsworth was responsible for 159 passing yards and two TDs as Wagner College bounced back from a season-opening loss with a 45-28 victory over Iona College yesterday before a standing-room-only Homecoming crowd.
It was SRO until halftime when, after Wagner reeled off 31 unanswered points to take a 31-7 lead to the lockers, a good portion of the crowd opted for parking lot tailgate parties.
Some of the crowd did drift back, though, when Iona, getting a major boost from Wagner special teams, closed to within 38-28 with 3:45 left in the game.
Seahawk special teams bailed out an Iona offense which failed to mount a sustained drive until the game’s final seven minutes when Wagner was sitting on a 38-20 lead.
Prior to that drive, two high snaps by Nick Linehan and Tyrone Collins’ fumbled kick return had set up the Gaels deep in Wagner territory.
“Our kicking game is an issue,” said coach Walt Hameline after the game.
Hameline had a much harsher description when the first high snap, at the end of Wagner’s first possession, gave the visitors the ball at the Wagner 16.
Three plays later, fullback Craig Sutera bulled in from 3 yards out for a 7-0 lead which lasted for all of 13 seconds – or as long as it took Collins to return the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.
The 6-foot, 180-pound soph blew up the middle, cut sharply left and then outran the angles the last two Gael defenders had.
But Collins’ return was a footnote to Gaels coach Fred Mariani.
Before – and after – the game, Mariani said running the ball and stopping Wagner’s running game were musts for his team.
“We needed to do a better on stopping the run. We missed too many tackles,” Mariani said. “Their running backs (Smith and Young) are excellent.”
The pair combined for 156 yards by halftime, Farnsworth completed 12 of 16 passes for 122 yards, and the Wagner defense threw a shutout for the final 27 minutes of the half.
The Seahawks went to the lockers ahead 31-7, and the crowd went to the parking lot.
“I think we were in full control of the game,” Hameline said.
It certainly looked that way when midway through the third quarter, Smith took a handoff, headed inside right tackle, veered to his left, and raced 41 yards to put Wagner ahead 38-7.
Then, Wagner special teams got into the act again, and the Gaels put up two scores in less than two minutes.
Another high snap on a punt gave Iona the ball at the Wagner 36, and freshman QB Warren Smith cashed the opportunity with an 11-yard run.
Collins fumbled the ensuing kick, Iona took over at the Wagner 27, and Smith passed 14 yards for the score with 47 seconds left in the third period.
“We were very inconsistent,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Mark Collins said. “We make a couple of fourth-down stops (at the Wagner 12 and 30), but then we have to go right back out (after the second high snap) and we don’t respond.
“Sure,” Hameline agreed, “but coming off that loss to Stonehill, we had to bounce back, and we did what we had to.”
Wagner tops Iona
By Jack Minogue, Staten Island Advance
Photo Credit: Hilton Flores/Staten Island Advance