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UC Earns Big Win Over Alfred in E8 Action

UTICA, NY – The Utica College football team held visiting Alfred University to just six second half points on its way to a 30-22 victory in Empire 8 Conference action at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium on Saturday. Utica's Dehstin Smart(Paterson, NJ/Hackensack) scooped up a fumble and returned it 60 yards for a score with 5:08 left in regulation to essentially seal the victory for the Pioneers. UC has now won two of its last three, with victories over traditional E8 powers St. John Fisher and Alfred. The Pioneers record moved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Empire 8 headed into their sixth and final regular season home contest of the year against nationally-ranked No. 3 Brockport State (2 p.m.) next Saturday. Freshman quarterback Logan Wilcox (Utica, NY/Proctor)completed 17-of-34 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his TD passes came in the final 5:39 of the first quarter to give UC an early 13-0 lead. He connected with Josh Connor (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) on a 26 yard route and also found Imani Vincent (Brooklyn, NY/Sheepshead Bay) for a 36 yard TD pass with 2:44 to go in the first quarter. Connor caught three balls for 44 yards and Vincent made two grabs for 45 yards. Junior Peyton Miller (Chemung, NY/Waverly) came up with six catches for 83 yards. Alfred answered Utica's early lead with three straight scores to take a 16-13 lead into the locker room at halftime. Quarterback Ben Burk connected on two long TD passes and kicker Ben Sennett made his first of three field goals to put the Saxons on top by three points as the halftime horn sounded. Runningback Isaiah Washington (Ozone Park, NY/Fort Hamilton) made the most of his touches today as he found pay dirt for the first time in his career after a 29 yard run to give the Pioneers the lead back, 20-16, with 7:54 to go in the third quarter. Washington finished the day with 12 carries for 69 yards. Alfred posted the first score of the fourth quarter as Sennett connected on a 39 yard field goal to make it a one point ball game, 20-19, in favor of the Pioneers. Just over five minutes later Smart made his big play, picking up an Alfred fumble that was forced by Mark Taylor (Buffalo, NY/Kenmore West), and returning it 60 yards for the score to put the Pioneers ahead 27-19 with 5:08 left on the game clock. Smart, who was relocated from linebacker to safety, made a team-high ten stops for the Pioneers. Keanu Heedram (Rochester, NY/Rush-Henrietta) made nine tackles, one sack and broke up two passes. Anthony Beaubrun (West Hempstead, NY/West Hempstead) made eight stops and also intercepted a pass which he returned 34 yards. Antonio Scala (Coram, NY/Longwood) added eight stops for the UC defense. Utica and Alfred exchanged field goals in the final four minutes and the Pioneers came away with an eight-point victory. Maki Medici (Watervliet, NY/Shaker) finished the day with one field goal and went 3-for-4 on extra points for the Pioneers. Utica's Elijah Belle (Plainfield, NJ/Plainfield) added an interception, one pass break up and five tackles for UC, while Shane Walpole (Mechanicville, NY/Shenendehowa) picked up one sack for the defense. Ben Burk completed 19-of-40 passes for 252 yards and two TDs for Alfred, while Nasir Smith added 25 carries for 87 yards. Keandre Sanders caught a game-high seven balls for 120 yards and one touchdown. Alfred has now lost two in a row and saw its record move to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the E8.

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