Alfred University senior quarterback T.J Kilcarr passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns as the Saxons beat the Bombers 21–19 Saturday at Butterfield Stadium. It was Alfred’s first win at Butterfield Stadium since 1982.
Kilcarr said the team was happy to win the game for its head coach, Dave Murray, who had never won a game at the stadium.
“Twenty nine years is a long time,” Kilcarr said. “It’s been a tough run here for Coach Murray as well, so it was nice to get that first win for him here.”
Sophomore running back Austin Dwyer led the Saxon offense, carrying the ball 28 times for 129 yards. He has now rushed for 395 yards in two games against the Bombers. Alfred’s ability to run the ball was key in keeping its offense on the field, as the Saxons held nearly a 2:1 advantage in time of possession.
“All the credit goes to the guys on the offensive line,” Kilcarr said. “They opened up some big holes all game and we were able to establish the running game early.”
With Alfred leading 7–3 with two minutes remaining in the first half, junior running back Jarrett Naiden turned in the play of the day for the Blue and Gold’s offense. Backed up at their own 12-yard line, Naiden broke an 86 -yard run, the longest offensive play of the season for the Bombers, to set up senior kicker Andrew Rogowski’s second field goal of the afternoon, making it 7–6 going into halftime. Naiden finished with a career-high 141 yards on the ground.
“I ran out of steam there a little at the end of the run,” Naiden said. “Obviously I’d love to get that score, but the defender had a good angle and was able to bring me down.”
After a back and forth third quarter featuring interceptions by Kilcarr and Bombers sophomore quarterback Phil Neumann, the Saxons were able to extend the lead to 14–6 on a two-yard run on fourth and goal by senior linebacker and running back Nick Clark.
The South Hill squad was able to respond when graduate student wide receiver Dan Ruffrage returned a punt 43 yards for his third punt return touchdown of the year.
“Ruffrage was huge for us again,” Head Coach Mike Welch said. “That return gave us some momentum we really needed.”
The Bombers failed on their two-point conversion, and the score remained 14–12 in favor of the Saxons.
Alfred added another touchdown the very next drive on a 15-yard pass from Kilcarr to freshman tight end Adam Schutz to give the Saxons a nine-point lead with more than seven minutes remaining.
After driving down to the 8-yard line, Neumann found junior wide receiver Joseph Ingaro in the back of the end zone to cut the Saxons lead to 21–19 with 3:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. But two Alfred first downs sealed the game, as the Saxons were able to run out the clock.
Kilcarr said the Saxons weren’t worried after the Bombers cut the lead to two once again.
“We had enough confidence in our offense to know that we could take control and do what we had to do to win the game,” he said.
For the Bombers, the loss guarantees the streak of 40 straight winning seasons, the second longest active streak in college football, will come to an end. The Blue and Gold will finish their season next week as they take on SUNY-Cortland in the annual Cortaca Jug game at Butterfield Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.