Generals March Past Cards
Four turnovers too much to overcome for CUA
WASHINGTON - A rainy, overcast Saturday turned even more unpleasant for the Catholic University Cardinal football squad (3-2, 1-1 ODAC) dropping a 28-0 decision to the Washington and Lee Generals (4-1, 2-0 ODAC) at DuFour Field. The CUA running game that had been a powerful option in past weeks was virtually nonexistent rushing for -28 yards on the afternoon. To make matters worse, a strong W&L pass rush was too much for the Cardinals' offensive line forcing five sacks for 44 yards, two interceptions, two fumbles and numerous hurries by quarterback Keith Ricca (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville) who seemed to be under pressure the entire game.
Washington and Lee came out and immediately attacked the Cardinal offense. In the first series of the game the Generals forced CUA into a three and out situation. Switching possessions, W&L put together an eight-play 57 yard drive to make the score 7-0 early in the first. The drive was especially disappointing for the Cards who looked to have stopped the Generals on third and long to force a punt but instead were penalized with pass interference resulting in a first down and the eventual score.
Despite W&L's repeated opportunities on offense throughout the first half, the Cardinal defense was able to contain them. An interception by Nick Olivero (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) stopped one W&L drive, while a missed field goal later in the second quarter also kept the deficit at seven.
Unfortunately CUA's offense was stagnant, the squad unable to move the ball downfield. Ricca's day only got worse as the game went on when the sophomore fumbled the ball on a drive midway through second quarter giving W&L possession at the Cardinal 40. Despite the problems, the defense was able to make a big stop on the next series keeping the Generals out of the end zone. With four minutes left in the half, CUA put on its best drive of the afternoon but a field goal from 42 yards was short resulting in a 7-0 score at the break.
The Cards returned to the field looking like they would be able to get back into the game after holding W&L to just one touchdown in the first half. A long five-minute opening drive by Washington and Lee ended with freshman Tommie Roberson (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville Eastside) blocking the kick to continue to hold the Generals.
The momentum quickly switch however as Ricca threw an interception at the CUA 14 setting up a touchdown by Stuart Sitterson moments later making the score 14-0. The Cardinals were unable to get into the end zone on their remaining two drives of the third quarter therefore making it 14-0 with 15 minutes remaining in the game.
On the first drive of the fourth quarter, W&L got some breathing room when Colton Ward rushed five yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Ben Long's point after attempt was good giving the Cardinals a 21-0 deficit.
As the General defense buried the Cardinal offense time after time, it was apparent this was definitely not Ricca's day. The quarterback had another fumble on a sack at the CUA ten yard-line which was ran back by Matthew Cassilly. On the Cards' final drive of the game, Ricca threw up a long bomb on second and five which was picked off for his fourth turnover of the afternoon.
Washington and Lee then let the time run out making the final 28-0. CUA had virtually no game on the ground with Jeff Sheehan (Haddonfield, N.J./Paul VI) leading the runners with nine yards rushing. Ryan Bowman (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) was the Cardinals' leading receivers catching four passes for 44 yards including one 23-yard reception. Ricca ended with 12 completions in 34 attempts for 128 yards.
CUA will host its final non-conference game of the season next Saturday at DuFour Field against La Salle University. The game is also the university's homecoming celebration. The gates will open at 11:30 a.m.