By Michael Otero
Seeking its seventh victory to open the season, the no. 14-ranked football team turned the ball over a season-high six times, but still managed to pull out the 30-23 win against Southern Connecticut State University from New Haven, Conn., on Saturday, Oct. 15.
The game-changing possession happened in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers were down, 16-14. Senior quarterback Jeff Kidd, who already had two interceptions on the day, orchestrated a seven-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with a 45-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior receiver, Kyle Ward. The score gave the Pioneers a 20-16 advantage, one they wouldn’t relinquish from the final nine minutes.
Early in the game, it looked like a classic defensive stalemate as both sides traded zeroes for the first quarter. The second quarter was a different story, however, as the Owls cashed in at the eight-mintue mark. Off a Kidd interception, running back Eli Parks scampered for a 20- yard run to open up the scoring. Following another Kidd interception, the Owls scored again, this time from a 50-yard touchdown pass.
Coming off back-to-back turnovers, Kidd remained cool and connected with redshirt junior wide-out James Higgins on an 18-yard touchdown to trim the deficit to 13-7. That score would hold until the first half whistle. In the second half, the Pioneers drew first blood with a three-yard run by Kidd that put the Green and Gold up, 14-13. After a field goal by the Owls, the onus was again on Kidd and the offense to put up some points.
After a key third down conversion to keep their drive alive, Kidd hooked up with Ward on the go-ahead, and what turned our to be the game-winning score. On the next two Pioneer drives, the offense added 10 more points to give its defense a cushion. The game ended 30-23.
Kidd finished 19 of 28 for 225 yards with three touchdowns, and also ran for 30 yards a score on the ground. Redshirt senior receiver Shane Hubbard led the receiving corps for the Pioneers, snagging eight balls for 89 yards and a touchdown. Higgins and Ward also had scores.
Defensively, senior linebacker Nate Feliz was all over the field, totaling 10 tackler and also coming up with an interception. Redshirt junior defensive back Jared Chester accumulated six tackles, recovered a fumble, and came down with an interception. Head Coach Bryan Collins and the team are back in action on Saturday, Oct. 22, when they will try and keep their undefeated season alive against American International College. Kickoff from Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium is set for 1 p.m..