Pioneers fall in final seconds

Stevens Tech running back Benaly Ortega scored on a rush around the left side in the final seconds as the Fighting Bulldogs came from behind to down Alfred State 22-21 in an emotional season opener for both teams.  Ortega scored with three seconds remaining and the Bulldogs were able to hold the Pioneers from scoring on the ensuing kick-off to hold on for the win.

Alfred looked to have the game under control with 4:22 remaining in the game when they broke a 14-14 tie when Grant Tamme (Danville, KY) dove in from two yards out.  Tamme's run capped an 83-yard, six play drive.

After falling behind 21-14, Stevens Tech drove down the field trying to tie the game up.  Their drive stalled at the three yard line when John Chisolm (Trenton, NJ) picked off his fourth pass of the game.

The Pioneers tried to run the clock out but were unable to get a first down and instead of punting the ball out of their own end zone they took the safety to make the score 21-16.

Stevens' game-winning drive started with 1:32 remaining and on their own 27 yard line.  The Bulldogs drove to the Pioneers 9 yard line and were faced with a 4th and 4 play with just over ten seconds remaining.  The pass attempt was broken up but pass interference was called and gave Stevens Tech the ball 1st and goal at the three yard line.  After two A-State timeouts, Ortega rushed in for the game-winner.

A-State took a 14-0 lead in the first half behind two solid drives.  Jason Brand (Springfield, VA) scored from two-yards out with 8:29 remaining in the 1st quarter and Tamme scored his first rushing touchdown of the game with 8:19 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

Stevens Tech was held to negative yardage in the 1st half until their final two drives when they marched 56-yards and 74-yards to tie the game heading into halftime.  Dan Beatty and Kaleb Klosky connected on pass plays of 24-yards and 15-yards to tie the game.

Beatty finished the day 13 for 33 for 231 yards and two touchdowns.  He threw four interceptions and was replaced by Kyle Bennett who was 7 for 13 for 99 yards in action in the final two drives of the game.  Klosky led all offensive players with 181 yards and two scores on eight catches.

Tamme finished the day 10 for 32 for 210 yards in his first collegiate start.  Mike Septh (Monroe Woodbury) caught five passes for 134 yards and Calvin Corbin (Winslow, NJ) caught three passes for 72 yards.  Brand led the rushing attack with 80 yards on 14 carries.

The Pioneers defense forced six turnovers (five interceptions and one fumble recovery) but the offense was only able to score points on two occasions after the turnovers.  Nick Monroe (Irondequoit) led the defense with nine tackles and two sacks.  Chisolm broke the school record for most interceptions in a game with four.  He also added seven tackles and eight pass break-ups.

The Pioneers had not lost a season opener since 2001 and had defeated the Bulldogs in each of the past six games they had faced.

The Blue and Gold will look to even up their record on September 10 when they travel to SUNY Brockport to take on the JV Eagles.  Opening kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Special Olympics Stadium.