Football’s perfect record remains intact thanks to 23-7 win


Number 32 Evan Gillard ’20 runs the football back for the Dutchmen defense. Photo courtesy of Union Athletics.

Annie O’Donnell and Hunter Reinhardt, Columnist and Sports Editor

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, the Union College Football Team defeated the 21st ranked school, Hobart College, 23-7. The Statesmen have won eight out of the last nine games against Union and won by one point last season.

The game featured the top two teams in the Liberty League in scoring defense. The Dutchmen are giving up a league-best 10.3 points per game (13th in the nation) while Hobart is second, yielding just 12.8 points per game (28th).

The game also featured the top two teams in the Liberty League in net punting yards. Hobart boasts a league-high 40.4 yards per punt (7th in the nation), while Union is second at 36.8 yards per punt (31st).

The win keeps Union’s undefeated streak alive as the Dutchmen improve to 4-0 on the season and start Liberty League play 1-0. Hobart falls to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.

The first quarter was all Union. Hobart had the ball to start the game and went three-and-out.

The Dutchmen responded with a 13-play, 82-yard scoring drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Ike Irabor ’22.

During the Statesmen’s second possession of the game, Evan Gilliand ’19 intercepted a pass and scored the second touchdown of the game with a 54 yard rush. The Dutchmen defense only allowed one touchdown the whole game.

The Statesmen scored 10 minutes into the second quarter off of a three yard rush. The Dutchmen came right back with another touchdown by Irabor off of a 30 yard rush. Union missed the field goal attempt, making the score 20-7 going into the second half of the game.

The first five possessions of the third quarter ended in punts. Safety Joe Vanderhoof ’20 stopped the trend, intercepting Statesmen QB, Krewson, near midfield. Union was able to turn that into three points when Marcos Rodriguez ’21 booted a 34-yard field goal with about nine and a half minutes remaining in the game.

The Dutchmen defense kept Hobart to just 33 yards rushing. Despite Hobart throwing for 247 yards, Union intercepted three passes, two by Gilland and once by Vanderhoof. Gilland totaled 93 yards on the two interception returns, which included a 54-yard pick-six. Gilland also led the Dutchmen with six solo tackles.

Vincent DiCaterino ’19 also had six tackles, including a sack. Union rushed for a total of 229 yards and Irabor rushed for 182 of those yards.

He also recorded two touchdowns. William Bellamy ‘21 was 10-of-17 passing for 98 yards.

Griffin Beal ’21 was his top target with five receptions for 61 yards. With the win, Union has now won its last three games against nationally-ranked opponents. Football now sits at a perfect 4-0 record with their Liberty League Conference record being 1-0, having only competed against one conference rival so far this season.

The Dutchmen hit the road next weekend taking on the University of Rochester on Saturday, October 12. Kickoff against the Yellowjackets is set for noon.

This win did not only keep alive the Dutchmens for a perfect season, but also improved on their already impressive playoff and championship possibilities.

Last season, their championship and playoff hopes were destroyed by Liberty league rival Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), who was ranked 14th in the country for football at the time.

However, at congruent points in the season the Dutchmen find themselves in superior positioning to last season already. Last season they started out with a 3-1 record, as opposed to their perfect 4-0 record so far into the season.

In addition to a better record the team has shown lessons they learned from last season. Last October they were beaten by Hobart, who was not even nationally ranked at the time, by a score of 28-29.

Their 23-7 win on Saturday demonstrated their improved defensive strategy, as they held Hobart, who was nationally ranked 24th prior to the game, to only a single touchdown.

Despite not qualifying for the playoffs last season, the Dutchmen still finished with an impressive 7-2 record, with their only loses coming via Hobart and Ithaca College. The Dutchmen will face Ithaca on November 2 and, although the team is not nationally ranked, Ithaca faired well against the Dutchmen in years past.

If they beat Ithaca, their chance for a perfect season will increase dramatically. After Ithaca, RPI poses the largest threat to the Dutchmen. Even after beating them last year RPI’s superior record secured them the playoff spot over Union.

Union looks to keep up its impressive defense and coaching as they look to finish out a prosperous and potentially historic season.