Total team effort leads to CUA's first conference win
EMORY, Va. – CUA used a great team effort on Saturday afternoon to earn its first conference win of the 2010 season with a 33-31 victory over Emory & Henry. The Cardinals scored with 1:39 remaining to go up nine and then recovered an on-sides kick following a Wasps score to seal the road win.
"I thought we played pretty well today," Cardinals head coach Dave Dunn explained. "We totaled 400 yards of offense, we only turned the ball over once, and we scored ten points off (Emory & Henry's) turnovers."
He continued, "On defense I thought we tackled much better than we had been, and then on offense we did what we normally do and that is use a strong combination of the run and the pass."
CUA (3-4, 1-2 ODAC) racked up 412 yards of offense, including 97 yards rushing by Mike Pitsenberger and 246 passing yards by Greg Cordivari. Nick Cortese came on in relief of Pitsenberger and rushed six times for 47 yards (7.8 average), while six different Cardinals hauled in at least one pass, led by Alonzo Cooke and Mike Smith with five apiece.
The Cardinals held the ball for over 32 minutes on the day and the defense held Emory & Henry to 4 of 11 on third downs and caused two turnovers. Conor Stueckler and Cole McDonough led the CUA defense with eight tackles each, while James Fucillo added six tackles and an interception.
Wasps running back Caleb Jennings was held to 77 yards by the Cardinals, while Dustin Beck rushed for 62 yards and also threw for 258. Jennings was also Emory & Henry's leading receiver with seven receptions for 76 yards. Daniel Preston led the defense with eight tackles.
Both teams came out strong as Emory & Henry received the opening kick-off and went 87 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown, which came on a one-yard rush by Zack Santolla. CUA then took over for the first time and responded with a six-play, 68-yard drive that took only 2:03 and ended on a Cordivari to Cooke seven-yard scoring pass to knot things at seven.
Early in the second, the Wasps went up 10-7 on a 32-yard field goal, but the Cardinals later took their first lead of the day with a five-yard score by Pitsenberger with 9:45 left before halftime.
CUA then added to its lead with Connor Maloney's first field goal of the game, this one coming from 23-yards out, with 6:23 remaining in the first half.
Emory & Henry tied things at 17 on a DaVon Ross touchdown reception, but on its ensuing possession CUA regained the lead when Maloney booted a 43-yard field goal just as the first half clock expired. That kick capped a seven-play drive for the Cardinals. "Connor had a big day for us," Dunn said. "That kick right before halftime was huge because we were able to get the lead back and generate some momentum."
Following a scoreless third quarter CUA upped its lead to ten points with a two-yard touchdown by Pitsenberger with 13:09 left in the game. The Cardinals got the ball off of Fucillo's interception and the drive took just 44 seconds.
With 7:21 to play the Wasps pulled to within three on Beck's seven-yard run, but CUA once again had an answer as the Cardinals went 66 yards in 11 plays and got a one-yard touchdown run by Cordivari to make it a 33-24 game. CUA missed the extra point though, and the margin remained nine. On the drive, Smith ran for 18 yards on four carries and Cortese totaled 47 on six carries, including runs of 15 and 26 yards.
As time wound down, Emory & Henry got to within two points when Beck hit Adrian Jordan for a 17-yard score, making it a 33-31 game with only 52 seconds to go. The Wasps then attempted an on-sides kick, but CUA pounced on the ball and from there the Cardinals ran out the clock to seal their first league win of 2010.
CUA will return to action on Friday, October 29 when the Cardinals play host to Washington & Lee in the first-ever home night game in school history. Kick-off is set for 7:00 from inside Cardinal Stadium.
"The kids are pumped up about it," Dunn said. "The thing for us is we have a short week now to prepare for a good Washington & Lee team that is unbeaten in the conference and no one has been able to slow them down. So we have our work cut out for us."