BENKWITT CAPS ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER WITH EMPIRE 8′S TOP OFFENSIVE HONOR
Utica, NY (11/21/2012) – Senior quarterback Andrew Benkwitt (Mamaroneck, NY/Mamaroneck) was named the Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year in a release issued by the conference office on Tuesday. Each institutions head coach submitted votes for the all-conference awards.
#5 will graduate as the College’s most prolific and decorated passer in program-history. Benwkitt, who started every game of his career at the quarterback position (40 consecutive games started), broke 18 different individual school-records during his tenure. He also played a part in 20 different team records this past year.
Benkwitt, a two-time captain, has also led Utica College’s football program to new heights, helping the Pioneers tie the school-record for wins in a single-season this past year (6) and they also set a new record for Empire 8 Conference victories (4). Benkwitt helped give UC a legitimate shot at an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament as they played nationally-ranked Salisbury in Week 9 with a shot at the Conference title hanging in the balance. Headed into their week 9 contest the Pioneers were receiving votes in both the AFCA and D3football.com national polls for the first time in program-history.
Benkwitt, who is a criminal justice major here at UC, finished his senior campaign (regular season) ranked 11th nationally in total offense per game and 25th nationally in passing efficiency. He guided the Pioneers’ offense to a national ranking of eighth in passing offense, 23rd in total offense and 47th in scoring offense.
Benkwitt finished the year ranked first in the Empire 8 Conference in passing efficiency, total offense and passing offense. He led the Empire 8 in passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns for the second consecutive year.
Team Records Set in 2012
Pass Attempts: 414
Pass Completions: 274
Passing yards: 3,404
Passing Touchdowns: 33
Pass completion %: 66.2
Total Offensive Yards: 4,650
Touchdowns Responsible For: 79
Total Offense Per Game: 465.0
Total Offense Per Play: 6.30 yards per play
All Purpose Yards: 5,600
All Purpose Yards per game: 560.0
Pass Reception Yards: 3,404
Pass receptions: 274
Pass reception Touchdowns: 33
Receptions per game: 27.40
Pass efficiency: 156.2
Average yards per pass: 8.2
Average Yards per game: 340.4
Single-Season Records (Year)
Pass attempts: 385 (2012)
Pass completions: 254 (2012)
Passing yards: 3,143 (2012)
Passing touchdowns: 31 (2012)
Total offensive yards: 3,220 (2012)
Touchdowns responsible For: 34 (2012)
Total offense per game: 322.0 (2012)
Average yards per pass: 8.2 (2012)
Passing yards per game: 314.3 (2012)
Single Game Records
Most total offense yards gained: 401, at Buffalo State, Oct. 6, 2012 (13 rush, 398 pass)
Most touchdown passes: 6, at Buffalo State, Oct. 6, 2012
Most Passes Attempted: 58, at Buffalo State, Oct. 6, 2012
Most Passes Completed: 38, at Buffalo State, Oct. 6, 2012
Touchdowns responsible for: 94
Passing yards per game 264.8 (40 games)
Pass attempts: 1,400
Pass completions: 901
Passing yards: 10,590
Passing touchdowns: 88
Post Season/Weekly Awards
Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year (2012)
Empire 8 All-Conference First Team Selection (2012)
ECAC Division III Rookie of the Year (2009)
ECAC Division III Southwest Rookie of the Year (2009)
Empire 8 Conference Rookie of the Year (2009)
Empire 8 All-Conference Honorable Mention (2010)
Empire 8 All-Conference Honorable Mention (2011)
Empire 8 Conference Player of the Week (3 times)
ECAC North West Player of the Week (10/10/2012)
FISHER’S HOT START LEADS TO 55-20 WIN OVER UTICA IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE
St. John Fisher 55, Utica 20 – Football Final
Utica, NY (11/10/2012) – The Utica College football team fell into an early 20-0 first quarter hole and could never quite crawl back into the contest as visiting St. John Fisher College (7-3, 4-3 Empire 8) handed the Pioneers’ a 55-20 loss in the regular season finale for both squads on Saturday at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. Both teams will now await a bid to an ECAC Bowl game, which will be released Monday, and kick off next weekend. If the Pioneers do a receive a bowl bid it would be their first in program-history and they would likely have to travel.
“Fisher had our number from the start today. I have to hand it to them, they played a mistake-free game,” said Head Coach Blaise Faggiano. “Now we have to wait for the Bowl bids to come out, which is an exciting position for our program to be in. Of course we wanted to come out and get a win against Fisher today, but at the same time we have so many successes to celebrate from this season. These guys are a part of one of the best teams in school-history — arguably the best team — so that is certainly something for our seniors to take away.
wrapped up its regular season with a 6-4 overall record (six wins ties the school-record) and a program-best 4-3 mark in conference play. Senior wide receiverJeremy Meier extended his school-records in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by catching seven balls for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Andrew Benkwitt, who was starting in his 40th consecutive game, completed 29 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Benkwitt also threw an uncharacteristic four interceptions. He will graduate as the College’s most prolific passer, posting career numbers unlike any other quarterback in program-history.
Junior running back Jesse Baldassare wrapped up the regular season with his fifth 100 yard rushing game of the season (4th in five weeks), as he totaled 103 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown.
As a team, Fisher cruised from the opening kickoff, taking control in the first half with four touchdowns, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Ryan Kramer finished the game with four passing touchdowns, which tied a career-high that was set against the University of Rochester in last year’s Courage Bowl. Kevin Francis finished with a career-high 136 yards on five receptions. Cody Miller led the Cardinals with 79 yards on the ground on just 11 carries.
Joe Leavell and Zach Dolan led Fisher on the defensive side of the ball, each picking off two passes. Mason Judd and Bryant Moore each had a sack on back-to-back plays, while Moore also recovered a Utica fumble on a punt. Mike Donitzen had a team-high 10 tackles and also forced a fumble.
Fisher had 519 yards on 63 plays for an 8.2 yards per play average, while Utica had 358 yards.
Fisher’s consistent pressure on both sides of the balls persisted through the first three quarters as their lead was extended to as many as 48 points, 55-7, with 1:00 left in the third quarter. UC was able to muster two scores in the final 15 minutes, both on connections from Benkwitt to Meier.
Sean Hulser led the Pioneers with a career-best 11 tackle effort, while linebacker Dana Chrisofferson added another ten tackle performance. Senior defensive linemanJerrod Clowes added four tackles and one sack in his final regular season game in the blue and orange.
Before the start of Saturday’s game the Pioneers honored their senior class for their commitment to the program over the course of the last four years. In that span the Pioneers have posted 20 victories – more than any other senior class in program-history. The senior class includes: Eugenio Alvarez, Brittany Baudanza (Manager), Andrew Benkwitt, Andrew Calabrese, Alex Castilla, Jerrod Clowes, Justin Courtade, Franco DiMarco, Matt Dunn, Tom Dyer, Jon Heisler, Michael Herberger, Logan Jandrew, Zak Lake (Manager), Adam Luczak, Luke Manolescu, Jeremy Meier, Thomas Owens, Genaro Scampone, Paul Smith, Kyle Taft, Scott Williams (Manager), Christopher Winch, Samantha Luce (Cheerleader), Erica McRae (Cheerleader), Landsay Martin (Cheerleader).
BROADCAST INFO: All Utica College games will be broadcast on the radio at WTLB 99.1 FM/1310 AM (ESPN Radio) by play-by-play man Dave Peroni and color analyst Fred Miller … Links for live stats and video for Saturday’s contest are available at www.ucpioneers.com … Live streaming audio can also be accessed on WTLB’s website, www.espnur.com … WPNR 90.7 FM will broadcast every UC football home contest this season and live streaming audio of the contest can be accessed at www.utica.edu/wpnr … Live video for the game can be accessed at www.empire8.tv.
ALL TIME SERIES: Saturday’s meeting marks the 12th year in a row these two teams have met … They have played each other every year since Utica began its program back in 2001 … The Pioneers are in search of their first-ever win over Fisher … The closest encounter in 11 previous meetings was back in 2008 when the Pioneers lost 17-10 at Gaetano Stadium … The last two times these teams met at Gaetano the Pioneers lost both games by a combined 18 points.
FAMILIAR FACES: Four of the UC coaches have direct ties to St. John Fisher … Head Coach Blaise Faggiano spent nine seasons as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Fisher prior to accepting the job at Utica … Offensive Coordinator Curt Fitzpatrick was an all-conference quarterback at Fisher during his playing days and graduated from SJFC in 2004 … Utica’s Offensive Line Coach & Recruiting Coordinator George Penree graduated from St. John Fisher in 2003 and played four years for the Cardinals … Tight Ends Coach & Academic Coordinator Seth Williams graduated from Fisher in 2010 and played one year as a quarterback before spending the next four years as a coach.
LAST WEEK: The Utica College football team saw its four game winning streak come to a close on Saturday after a 63-23 loss to host and nationally-ranked No. 21/16 Salisbury University… The Sea Gulls (7-2, 5-1 Empire 8) triple option attacked lived up its billing, compiling 559 yards on 69 carries to keep the Pioneers at bay… Utica fell into an early hole and could not muster a comeback as it dropped to 6-3 overall (ties school-record for wins) and 4-2 (school-record for conference wins) in the Empire 8… With the win, Salisbury clinched first place in the Empire 8, earning the conference’s automatic bit into the NCAA Division III Tournament … UC’s Jeremy Meier continued his tremendous season, catching nine balls for 112 yards … Senior quarterback Andrew Benkwitt completed 26-of-37 passes for 225 yards and he also threw one touchdown to junior Joe Gerbino early in the second quarter.
LAST TIME THESE TWO MET: (10/29/2011) – Oneida, NY native Ryan Kramer had a huge day, rushing for 244 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, and he also added ten completions for 156 yards and a touchdown pass, as the St. John Fisher College football team remained unbeaten in Empire 8 Conference play after a 63-36 win over visiting Utica College last season …Utica was held to 12 first half points, but came on strong in the fourth quarter behind a career-high three touchdown passes from backup quarterback Jared Keyte (graduated last year) … Junior running back Jake Larson (injured this season) totaled 66 yards on ten carries including a 58 yard touchdown run in the second quarter for UC. Receiver Paul Smith caught his first collegiate touchdown in the fourth quarter… All told, the contest featured a combined 967 yards of total offense and 99 points. Fisher scored at least 14 points in every quarter, and big plays were the name of the game, as the Cardinals scored five times on plays of 25 yards or longer.
RECORD SETTING YEAR: The Pioneers need a win on Saturday to break the program’s all-time record for wins in a single season … This year’s edition of the UC squad is currently tied for first place all-time, with the 2005 Pioneers, with six victories … Four victories in conference is a new program record.
BOWL ELIGIBLE?: UC’s win over Alfred two weeks ago guaranteed the Pioneers’ six wins, making them ECAC bowl eligible for the first time since 2005 … UC has never participated in post season competition.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Utica is averaging 35.8 points per game this year compared to Fisher’s 22.0 ppg … The Pioneers have secured 224 first downs, while the Cardinals have moved the sticks 146 times … Fisher has outrushed UC 1,497-1,155 this year … On the flip side, the Pioneers feature more of a pass-heavy offense, throwing for 3,137 yards compared to Fisher’s 1,165 … Fisher has attempted 324 runs compared to Utica’s 297 rushing attempts … Utica has attempted 369 passes compared to the Cardinals’ 198 … UC is 52% (64-of-124) on third down conversions this year compared to Fisher’s 42% (47-of-111) … Utica has scored 43 touchdowns, Fisher has 25 … The Pioneers have 27 sacks, while the Cardinals have 21 … Fisher allows just 16.4 points per game, while the Utica defense has allowed 25.6 points per game … UC’s most productive quarter this year is the second quarter, having scored 113 total points … The Cardinals’ strongest 15 minute stretch is in the first quarter, as they have totaled 45 points in the opening quarter this year … Utica has totaled 322 total points this season.
IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: As a team the Pioneers rank fifth nationally in passing offense with an average of 348 yards per game … Utica ranks 18th in the country in total offense with an average of 475.78 yards per game … Senior quarterback Andrew Benkwitt ranks 12th nationally with 328.89 yards of total offense per game … Senior receiver Jeremy Meier ranks sixth nationally with 122.11 receiving yards per game … Junior running back Jesse Baldassare ranks 29th nationally with an average of 141.62 all-purpose yards per game.
COMING ON STRONG IN THE 4TH: UC started the year with a combined three points in the fourth quarter over the course of the first three games … In their last five contests they have accumulated 72 4th quarter points.
LEADING THE WAY IN THE E8: Utica leads the Empire 8 in three team categories: passing offense, total offense and scoring … Benkwitt leads the conference in passing efficiency (161.72) and total offense … Meier leads the conference in receptions per game (7.33) and receiving yards per game … Freshman kicker Thomas Woodburn leads the conference with seven field goals.
MEIER NAMED E8 OFFENSIVE POW FOR 2ND STRAIGHT WEEK: Meier was named Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week on Monday … Meier totaled 112 yards and nine catches in a loss to Salisbury on Saturday … He became the first receiver in school-history to catch for over 1,000 yards in a single season and he also broke the school’s all-time receptions record for a single season with 69 … The senior standout is now the College’s all-time leader with 2,364 career receiving yards and 28 career touchdown receptions.
IRON MAN: Andrew Benkwitt is starting in his 40th consecutive game on Saturday … He has started every game of his collegiate career … He holds nearly every program record for a quarterback … He is the College’s all-time leader with 1,355 career passing attempts, 872 completions, 10,323 yards passing and 86 touchdown passes.
BALDASSARE RUNNING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Junior running back Jesse Baldassare needs 56 yards rushing to move into third place on the College’s single-season rushing yards list … He has also caught 29 balls for 272 yards this year.
THE RECEIVING CORPS: The 2012 Utica receiving crew has set new single season team records for receiving yards (3,137) and touchdowns (31) … The Pioneer receivers need four catches to set a new single season team record for receptions (The Pioneers currently have 245 receptions this year).
TREEN ON THE MOVE: Sophomore linebacker Jon Treen has 21 tackles and a half of a sack in his last two appearances … He has 35 tackles for the year.
70+ TACKLERS: Three different Pioneers have totaled at least 70 tackles this season including Joe Giametta (73), Dana Christofferson (71) and Luke Manolescu (70).
SENIOR DAY: Before the start of Saturday’s game the Pioneers will honor their senior class for their commitment to the program over the course of the last four years … In that span the Pioneers have posted 20 victories – more than any other senior class in program-history … At 12:25 the Pioneers will lineup for a ceremony at the 50 yard line … The senior class includes: Eugenio Alvarez, Brittany Baudanza (Manager), Andrew Benkwitt, Andrew Calabrese, Alex Castilla, Jerrod Clowes, Justin Courtade, Franco DiMarco, Matt Dunn, Tom Dyer, Jon Heisler, Michael Herberger, Logan Jandrew, Zak Lake (Manager), Adam Luczak, Luke Manolescu, Jeremy Meier, Thomas Owens,Genaro Scampone, Paul Smith, Kyle Taft, Scott Williams (Manager), Christopher Winch, Samantha Luce (Cheerleader), Erica McRae (Cheerleader), Landsay Martin (Cheerleader).
HERBERGER HEADED TOWARDS MILESTONE: Senior defensive end Michael Herberger needs two sacks to tie the school-record for sacks in a single season set by Tracy Branch and James Brain back in 2010 … Herberger currently has 6.5 sacks.
LENAHAN IS A BALL HAWK: Sophomore safety James Lenahan needs two interceptions to tie the school’s single –season record of seven set by Jon Klosner back in 2002 … Lenehan currently has five picks this year, including two in the last three games.
SCOUTING FISHER: Despite not having a chance to make the NCAA Division III Championship for the second straight year, Fisher has a few milestones on the line this weekend against Utica … With the Pioneers and Cardinals each boasting 6-3 overall records, the winner will likely earn an ECAC bowl bid while the other will miss the postseason… Fisher has made the postseason in some capacity in each of the last nine seasons and will need to beat Utica to have a chance at a bowl game… Also, the Cardinals have never had a .500 or losing record in the Empire 8 Conference, and with a current mark of 3-3, this milestone rides on the game against the Pioneers… Fisher has secured, however, its 11th-straight winning season, as it will either finish 7-3 or 6-4 after the game with Utica… Junior running back Cody Miller has rushed for over 100 yards in four of his last five games…. This includes a dominating performance against Ithaca College, in which Miller rushed for a career-high 208 yards and another career mark with three touchdowns… He also had a career-long rush, taking his second touchdown 60 yards to the end zone… The junior came back against Frostburg State and did much of the same, rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns, including another long run of 50 yards, showing breakaway speed. (Information courtesy of SJFC Sports Info.)
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Jesse Baldassare needs 22 yards rushing to become just the third 1,000 single-season rusher in school history, joining Jake Scott (2009-2011) and Mike Carpa (2001,2005) … Andrew Benkwitt holds the school career records for passing attempts (1,355), pass completions (872), passing yards (10,323) and passing touchdowns (86) … Meier is the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,369), receptions (180) and receiving touchdowns (28) … Three touchdowns on Saturday would give Meier 200 career points … James Lenahan needs two interceptions to move into sole possession of third place on the College’s career interceptions list, he currently has five … Senior captain Genaro Scampone needs seven tackles to move into eighth place on the College’s all-time tackles list, he currently has 188 … Scampone needs 12 tackles to become just the fifth player in school-history to record 200+ tackles … Herberger needs three sacks to tie Bryon George ’04 for second on the College’s all-time sack list – he currently has 11.5 for his career.
SINGLE SEASON RECORDS TO WATCH: As a team the Pioneers set new single season record for passing yards (3,137) and passing touchdowns (31) this year … This is the first team in school-history to throw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in a single season … UC’s team offense set a new school-record this year for total yards of offense (4,292) … The Pioneers need to score 23 points to set a new school-record for points in a single season which was originally set back in 2009 when the Pioneers played a much softer non conference schedule … UC set a new team record for sacks in a single season this year (27) … Baldassare needs two touchdowns to move into fourth place on the College’s single-season rushing touchdowns list, he currently has six … Benkwitt needs to throw just five passes to break his own single-season record for pass attempts in a single season … He needs two completions to break his own single-season completions record, he currently has 225 … He needs 124 yards passing to become the College’s first 3,000 yard passer in a single season … He needs one touchdown throw to become the first 30 TD passer in school-history … Benkwitt is currently averaging 319 yards passing per game this year (no other QB in school-history has averaged over 300 yards in a single season) … Jeremy Meier set single season program records for receiving yards (1,104), receptions (66) and receiving touchdowns (13) this year … He is the first receiver in school-history to catch for 1,000+ yards in a single season … Baldassare needs 42 yards to move into sole possession of third on the College’s single-season all-purpose yards list … Freshman Kicker Thomas Woodburn needs two field goals to tie the school’s single season record, he currently has eight … James Lenahan needs two interceptions to tie Jon Klosner ’02 for the College’s single-season record of seven … Senior defensive end Michael Herberger needs two sacks to tie the school’s single season record of 8.5 set by James Brain and Tracy Branch back in 2010.
HIGH POWERED OFFENSE LEADS # 21 SALISBURY PAST UTICA IN E8 SHOWDOWN
Salisbury, MD (11/3/2012) – The Utica College football team saw its four game winning streak come to a close on Saturday after a 63-23 loss to host and nationally-ranked No. 21/16 Salisbury University. The Sea Gulls (7-2, 5-1 Empire 8) triple option attacked lived up its billing, compiling 559 yards on 69 carries to keep the Pioneers at bay. Utica fell into an early hole and could not muster the comeback as it dropped to 6-3 overall (ties school-record for wins) and 4-2 (school-record for conference wins) in the Empire 8. UC will host St. John Fisher College back at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium on Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams.
“Salisbury proved today why they are one of the top teams in the country,” said Head Coach Blaise Faggiano. “The triple option is a difficult scheme to stop and they also played well on the defensive side of the ball. We are going to learn from this one, but at the same time we have to keep moving forward and begin preparing for Fisher next weekend. “
The Sea Gulls rushing attack featured five players that posted at least 50 yards on the ground including Joe Benedetti (153), quarterback Dan Griffin (137), Ross Flanigan (76), Isaiah Taylor (70) and Lonnie Liggins (54). Salisbury’s nine touchdowns were all rushing, five of which came from the legs of Griffin. Benedetti chipped in with two scores, while Taylor and Liggins each added one.
UC’s Jeremy Meier continued his tremendous season, catching nine balls for 112 yards en route breaking the school’s all-time receptions record. He now has 69 career catches. Meier also became the first receiver in school-history to catch for over 1,000 yards in a single season. Senior quarterback Andrew Benkwitt completed 26-of-37 passes for 225 yards and he also threw one touchdown to junior Joe Gerbino early in the second quarter.
UC was able to mount a small third quarter comeback after junior runningback Jesse Baldassare scampered for a 22 yard touchdown run and sophomore safety James Lenahan picked up a fumble and returned it 15 yards for a score, but UC still trailed 56-23 late in the third. Baldassare finished the day with 68 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Dan Griffin punched in an insurance touchdown early in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring on the day with the Sea Gulls on tope by 40.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Butkiewicz completed 9-of-13 passes for 107 yards for UC in relief of Benkwitt in the second half.
Senior safety Luke Manolescu led the Pioneer defense with 15 tackles. He was one of five Pioneers to post ten or more tackles in the contest, while Lenahan picked up two fumble recoveries. Dana Chritofferson totaled 14 tackles, whileGenaro Scampone, Brandon Burnham and Jon Treen each added ten tackles. It was a career-high effort for Burnham and Scampone moved into ninth place on the College’s career tackles list.
Senior tight end Matt Dunn caught five balls for 55 yards and moved into fifth place on the College’s all-time receiving yards list. Jamie Murphy caught seven passes for 44 yards, while freshman Alex DeRusso caught three balls for 42 yards. Freshman kicker Thomas Woodburn knocked down one field goal from 20 yards out for UC in the first quarter, moving him one field goal closer to second place on the College’s single season field goals list.
Salisbury’s defense was led by Greg Stanton, who posted seven tackles and added one interception, while Paul Moore and Andre Carter each registered three pass break ups.
Salisbury closes out its regular season on the road Saturday at Empire 8 Conference foe Frostburg State when it takes on the Bobcats in the Regents Cup at 1 p.m.