FROSTBURG, Md. - The Utica College football team broke nine different single game records, and snapped a two game slide, as the Pioneers topped host Frostburg State 44-27 in Empire 8 Conference action at Bobcat Stadium Saturday afternoon. Senior running back Jake Larson (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove) broke the school-record for touchdowns scored in a single game after turning in a five touchdown performance on 32 carries and 122 yards on the ground. Larson also became the College's all-time leader with 20 career rushing touchdowns.
Utica trailed 27-25 headed into the fourth quarter of play, but the Pioneers outscored host Frostburg 19-0 in the final 15 minutes of action to improve their record to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Empire 8.
"I am extremely proud of the way our guys handled adversity today," said Head Coach Blaise Faggiano. "We bounced back when we needed to. Not only did a few individuals really step up, but it was also a great all-around team effort. This is not an easy road trip and we are excited to come away with a victory against a good Frostburg team."
Junior quarterback Connor Butkiewicz (Southington, CT/Southington) set a new single game school record with 431 yards passing as he completed 31 of his 36 passing attempts. Over half of his passing yards went to junior receiver Anthony Acevedo (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford), who set the new school standard with 252 yards receiving on ten receptions. The Pioneer defense also tied a team record with three fumbles recovered.
The first half resulted in three lead changes, with the Pioneers coming out on top 18-14 at the end of 30 minutes of action. Frostburg, led by four rushing scores from Mike Fourth, outscored UC 13-7 in the third quarter to take a 27-25 advantage in the fourth and final frame.
It was two rushing touchdowns by Larson and a 19 yard TD pass from Butkiewicz to Acevedo in the fourth quarter that helped lift UC to the 17 point victory.
Acevedo scored the first touchdown of the game with 5:44 to go in the first quarter when he and Butkiewicz connected on a 68 yard bomb to put the Pioneers on top 6-0 early.
Frostburg answered with two straight scores from Mike Fourth to take a 14-6 lead with 11:55 to go in the first half of play. Larson was able to help the Pioneers respond by plunging in two short yardage touchdowns in a span of less than seven minutes in the second quarter to give UC the four point lead at half, 18-14.
UC senior wide receiver Jamie Murphy (Canadaigua, NY/Marcus Whitman) caught ten balls for 61 yards and Gregory Palmer (Richland, NY/APW) hauled in two catches for 63 yards for the Pioneers.
Utica's 573 total yards of offense ranks third on the school's all-time single game list.
Senior linebackers Joe Giametta (Seaford, NY/MacArthur), Ryan Hansen (Woodcliff Lake, NJ/Pascack Hills), and Dana Christofferson (Richford, NY/Dryden) all had excellent games for UC. Giametta led all tacklers with 13 and he also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, and broke up a pass. Hansen tallied 12 tackles and forced one fumble, while Christofferson made 11 stops and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. Anthony Cipoletti (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) made nine stops, including 2.5 for a loss.
The UC defense was staunch in the fourth quarter, forcing three punts and intercepting a pass to hold the Bobcats scoreless in the 15 minute stretch.
Frostburg (1-4, 0-2 Empire 8) did most of its offensive damage on the ground as it racked up 228 yards rushing on the afternoon. Fourth led the way with 108 yards rushing on 30 carries and he found the end zone four times. Quarterback Ken Emmons also added 91 yards rushing on 14 carries while completing 10-of-18 passes for 126 yards.
Mike Sullivan (Whitesboro, NY/Whitesboro) and Nick Woodman (Utica, NY/Proctor) each added eight tackles a piece for the Pioneers' defensive unit.
The Pioneers return home on Saturday for the College's Homecoming when they will take on E8 rival Ithaca College at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. The contest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.