September 4, 2010

CUA earns season opening win at Shenandoah under the lights

SHENANDOAH, Va. – The CUA football team earned a hard-fought 16-13 victory on the road on Saturday evening over Shenandoah in the 2010 season opener.  Freshman Mike Pitsenberger rushed for 109 yards and one score in his first collegiate game, and the defense was led by Ryan Klein and Anthony Albanese with seven tackles apiece.

With CUA leading by three with 1:15 on the clock Shenandoah attempted to get in field goal range to tie things up.  The Hornets made their way to the Cardinals 30-yard line, which brought out Andrew Lloyd for a 48-yard attempt.  After CUA called a timeout Lloyd's kick fell short, sending the Cardinals to victory.

"Every aspect of our team contributed to this win tonight," Cardinals Head Coach Dave Dunn said afterwards.  "Our special teams unit made all three of their field goal tries, our defense held Shenandoah's big, physical running back (Kevin Roberts) to 80 yards and our offense made just enough plays.  We'll take it."

Pitsenberger gained 109 yards on 33 carries to lead the CUA ground game, while senior Mike Smith added 20 yards on four carries. "Mike (Pitsenberger) ran hard all night for us," Dunn said.  "He was physical and I think by the end of the night he started to wear their defense down."  

In his second career start, sophomore quarterback Greg Cordivari completed 15-of-34 passes for 216 yards with Lawrence DeSimone pulling down four of those passes for 37 yards.  Alonzo Cooke hauled in three catches for a team-leading 89 yards.

The teams were nearly even in total yards with CUA totaling 337 and Shenandoah registering 336.  The Cardinals gained 16 first downs while the Hornets gained 18 and CUA registered three sacks in the game. 

CUA got on the board first when Pitsenberger capped off a 28-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown rush at the 4:01 mark of the opening quarter.  The Cardinals had gotten the ball following a Shenandoah fumbled punt return that Andrew Ouellette recovered. 

Lloyd booted a 27-yard field goal with 1:04 on the first quarter clock to make it a 7-3 game but CUA got the ball back and went on a ten-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard Connor Maloney field goal to make the score 10-3 with 12:29 remaining before halftime. 

Another Maloney field goal, this one coming with just 1:46 prior to intermission, gave CUA a ten-point cushion.  Shenandoah answered though, with a nine-play drive that covered 57 yards and ended with Lloyd's second field goal of the half to make it 13-6 in favor of CUA, which is how it remained heading into halftime.

The Hornets wasted little time in tying the game once the second half began as they received the opening kickoff and drove 62 yards in just three plays, capped by a Rico Wallace 35-yard touchdown catch from Daniel Wright. 

The teams would remain tied for nearly the entire third quarter until the CUA defense forced another fumble, this one recovered by Christian Pavik, and Maloney then split the uprights with a 29-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining.  CUA recovered the ball at the Hornets 14-yard line, but could not get into the end zone and had to settle for the three points.

The CUA defense was more than up to the challenge of preserving the slim lead as Shenandoah's first three drives of the final quarter resulted in three-and-outs.  The Hornets had one last chance to try and send the game into overtime when they got the ball with 1:15 to play, but Lloyd's field goal attempt fell short as time expired and the Cardinal sideline erupted in celebration.

CUA returns to action next weekend when the Cardinals open their home schedule vs. Apprentice School on September 11.  Kick-off inside Cardinal Stadium is set for 1:00.  Fans that can't make it to the game can watch live on cuacardinals.com.

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