NEWARK, Del. – Alfred University jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead en route to a 29-16 victory in the ECAC James Lynah Bowl as part of the ECAC Football Fest at the University of Delaware's Delaware Stadium in blustery conditions Sunday afternoon.
Stevenson (6-5) was making its fourth straight postseason appearance.
Stevenson trailed 21-3 at halftime and scored its first touchdown of the game with 19 seconds left in the third quarter as junior Isaiah Austin punched it in from two yards to cap a 13-play, 50-yard drive that was kept alive on a pass interference call in the end zone on fourth-and-goal. The Mustangs elected to go for two, but a pass by junior Dan Williams was intercepted and returned 98 yards by the Saxons for two points, making the score 23-9.
Alfred (8-3) increased its lead to 20, 29-9, as it scored with 10:11 to go as a one-yard Nasir Smith run capped a 10-play, 54-yard drive. The extra point attempt bounced off the upright.
On its ensuing drive, Stevenson worked its way down to the Saxon 10, with the big play a 42-yard completion from Williams to senior Preston Addo, but an intentional grounding penalty moved the Mustangs back to the 17, and on fourth down a forced fumble by the Alfred defense as Williams tried to get the ball away under pressure turned the ball over on downs.
After an Alfred three-and-out, Stevenson took over at the AU 17 as the Saxon punter inadvertently took a knee on the snap. Five plays capped by a six-yard run by sophomore Daqwan Hill cut the Alfred lead to 29-16. A Stevenson onside kick was recovered by Alfred at midfield.
Stevenson had one last chance as the defense came up with a takeaway for the 55th straight game with 3:24 left. A fumble was recovered by senior DJ Broxton at the Mustang 46 and Stevenson got down to the Saxon 44 before getting stopped, with an incomplete pass on 4th and long dashing any hopes of a Mustang comeback.
Alfred scored twice in the final 1:39 of the first half to take a 21-3 lead into the locker room. A Maleke Fuentes eight-yard run capped a four-play, 45 yard drive to put the Saxons up 14-3 at the 1:39 mark, then after the Mustangs went three-and-out, Alfred went three plays from the Stevenson 39 and a 19-yard pass from Bryce Morrison to Jake Toomey 28 seconds before intermission put the Saxons up 21-3.
After Alfred went three-and-out on its opening possession, Stevenson started at midfield as the Saxons punted into a stiff wind. The Mustangs worked their way down to the Alfred 6 before an illegal shift on what appeared to be a touchdown completion to Devin Salisbury pushed Stevenson back to the 11. The Mustangs got on the board first, with freshman Ian Gould converting a 28-yard field goal with 9:11 left in the first quarter.
The Saxons used a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by an eight-yard run by Nasir Smith to get on the board and take a 7-3 lead 1:27 into the second quarter.
Williams finished 21-42 passing for 171 yards, with Salisbury catching nine passes for 55 yards while Addo, junior Sebastien Vainqueur and sophomore Vincent Lee each catching three passes. Hill finished with 17 carries for 61 yards, while Austin had seven rushes for 22 yards.
Defensively, senior Cory Pietrzyk finished with 10 tackles for Stevenson, while Broxton had eight stops. Junior Ashton Leschke and sophomore Zach May each finished with seven tackles on the afternoon.
Stevenson outgained Alfred 153-72 in the second half, but for the game the Saxons accumulated 314 yards of total offense with the Mustangs finishing with 260. Alfred held the ball for just over 31 minutes. Alfred converted on eight-of-19 third down conversions while the Mustangs were 5-13, but Stevenson was 3-6 on fourth down tries.