College Football: Cadets Picks Up First Win, Top Becker 31-14

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

NORTHFIELD – After a disappointing start of the season for the Norwich University football team, Saturday’s game against the Becker College Falcons in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action was key to helping the Cadets get back on track. And the Cadets got the job done, topping the visitors 31-14 before a large Homecoming crowd in Haynes Family Stadium.

Becker (2-2, 0-1 ECFC) received the ball to start the game, in which they converted a touchdown on a 10-play drive for 88 yards before sophomore quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) tossed a 4-yard pass to junior Jacob Holmes (Worcester, Mass.) for the 7-0 score.

After the kickoff the Cadets took the ball 75 yards down the field, with the drive ending in a Philippe Bazinet (Otterburn Park, Quebec) 21-yard rushing touchdown, tying the game at seven points apiece.

Norwich (1-3, 1-0 ECFC) stopped the Hawks in its tracks in just three plays, forcing Beck to punt. The Cadets marched down the field from the Cadets’ 45 yard line before Becker halted the progress as kicker Wesley Medeiros (Gilford, N.H.) looked to put Norwich ahead on a 37-yard field goal attempt, only to watch it sail wide right.

Becker took advantage of the failed attempt as Sinkfield-Shelton completed four passes down the field for 58 yards before a 2-yard lob to wide receiver Marlon Gober (Marietta, Ga.) to extend Becker’s lead, 14-7.

Bazinet got the Cadets out of a jam on 3rd-and-8 on a 25-yard reception to senior wide receiver Zach Allen (Boston, Mass.) before running back Quincy Williams (Brossard, Quebec) carried the bulk of the load, rushing for 22 yards before punching through Becker’s defensive line on 3rd-and-goal for the score to knot it at 14-14 with 9:23 remaining in the first half.

Becker started the drive from their 24 yard line as the Hawks moved the chain for 60 yards to the Norwich’s 16 before junior defensive back Donovan Murby (Manchester, N.H.) intercepted Sinkfield—Shelton’s pass in the end zone for the Hawks’ first turnover of the game.

The Cadets converted the turnover into a 80-yard drive with Williams pounding the ground for 35 yards, including a 1-yard run on 4th-and-1 to move the chains, before Bazinet connected with Allen on a 20-yard shotgun play action for the 21-14 score at the half.

After the break, both teams struggled to move the ball on the first possession in the second half before Norwich added three points on the board on a 40-yard field goal by Medeiros to extend the lead 24-14 with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Becker’s turnovers began to pile up in the second half as the Hawks spotted the ball at the Cadets’ 1-yard line before defensive back Sir Michael Finney(Killen, Texas) knocked the ball out of Sinkfield-Shelton’s hands before Michael O’Neill (Winthrop, Mass.) recovered the ball at the 3-yard line.

The Cadets looked to score once more but the yellow flags forced them to back up and eventually punt the ball away to Becker as the game headed into the fourth quarter. Becker would move the chains into the red zone before the Cadets’ defense stuffed the Hawks on 4th-and-1 for another turnover.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cadets were spotted inside Becker’s red zone at the 17 yard line on 3rd-and-15 as Bazinet threw a 17-yard pass over wide receiver Pierre Noel‘s (Manchester, N.H.) head as he extended his right hand for the stellar catch and the touchdown to make it 31-14 after a 12 play 71-yard drive.

Becker looked to get back into the game late but Norwich’s strong defensive presence would come through once again, forcing a second Hawks’ turnover on downs as the Cadets held on for their first win of the season.

The Cadets produced 401 total offense yards with Bazinet posting 124 passing yards (9-10) for two touchdowns along with 45 rushing yards and a touchdown. Williams would rush 34 times for 162 yards and a touchdown, as Allen and Noel caught four receptions and a touchdown each after combing for 95 yards.

On the defensive end, the Cadets limited Becker to just 378 offensive yards with Finney collecting eight solo and two assist tackles with a forced fumble followed by O’Neill’s five tackles, all solo, with a fumble recovery. Junior linebacker Jake Apthorpe (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) would come up with five solo tackles and a sack as Roberts recorded three total tackles with Murby coming down with an interception.

The Cadets will continue ECFC play next week as Norwich travels to Washington, D.C. for the 12:00 p.m. contest against Gallaudet University.

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