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Football Wears Down Norwich, 21-17

Springfield, Mass. - October 5, 2019 - The Springfield College football team rushed for 404 yards and had the ball on offense for over 45 minutes as it delivered a 21-17 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory over Norwich on Saturday at Stagg Field.

Springfield snapped a two-game skid to improve to 2-3, 1-1 in NEWMAC play, while the Cadets lost for the first time this season to slip to 4-1, 1-1. 

The story of the game was Springfield's offensive line, which allowed the Pride to possess the ball for 45:09 and run 85 offensive plays, including 82 rushing attempts.  Chad Shade (Pittsfield, Mass.) racked up 169 yards and a score on 31 carries, while Tim Callahan (Enfield, Conn.) ran hard at the fullback spot en route to 140 yards and a score on 27 attempts. Springfield finished the day with 404 rushing yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.  Defensively, AJ Smith (Rahway, N.J.) made a team-best five stops, as Springfield's defense was only on the field for 39 plays.  

Matt Dunn threw for 289 yards and two first-half scores for Norwich, with Manni Romero and Trevor Chase combined for 252 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Five players for Norwich had at least 10 tackles, with Marshall Waters leading the defensive effort with 13 stops.  The visitors held Springfield to 6-for-20 on third down, but Springfield was able to convert 6-of-7 fourth down attempts in the win.

Norwich scored first as Clyde Tamburro tucked a 38-yard field goal inside the right goalpost with 7:04 remaining in the opening quarter.  After the Cadets forced Springfield into a punt on its next drive after just five plays, Patrick Touhy (Columbia, Conn.) got a hold of a 50-yard boot that pinned Norwich inside their five-yard line.  Springfield's special teams would then come up in a big way, as Shamar Martin (East Hartford, Conn.) muscled his way through the protection to block a Matt Rogers punt.  Damien Rabis (Southington, Conn.) would recover the loose ball and find the endzoe to give Springfield a 10-7 lead following Christian Hutra's (Holmes, N.Y.) with 56 seconds left in the quarter. 

However, Norwich would answer back just 25 seconds later as Dunn hit Romero for a 76-yard score after a Springfield defensive back slipped in coverage, allowing Romero to race 50 yards all alone for the score.  The visitors lead would grew to 17-7 on another big play just 1:42 into the second quarter when Dunn found Chase in the middle of field that resulted in a 67-yard score following another Springfield defensive miscue.    

Springfield started to find some offensive rhythm on their next drive, going 58 yards in 16 plays and chewing 7:42 off the clock as they converted on a pair of fourth-down conversions before the Cadets stuffed the Pride on 4th and 1 on their 29 yard line to get the ball back with 5:31 in the half.  The Cadets would take a 17-7 lead into the half.  

The teams would trade possessions to start the fourth before Norwich had a 42-yard field goal attempt sail wide left, giving Springfield the ball with 8:56 to go in the third.  Springfield would then put together an unbelievable drive, going 75 yards in 17 plays and taking 8:37 off the clock.  The fullback duo of Pat Ladas (Middlefield, Conn.) and Callahan combined for 10 carries on the drive before Shade plunged in from a yard out to pull Springfield within 17-14 with 19 seconds on the clock.

The Cadets went three-and-out on their next possession, and Springfield took over on their own 30-yard line.  Shade once again orchestrated a remarkable drive, as Springfield marched 64 yards in 18 plays over the next 8:22 to take the lead for good.  Callahan and Shade would account for 14 carries and Callahan leaped over the line on fourth and goal from the one with 6:55 to play for the game-winning score.  

After Norwich again came up empty on a three-and-out, Shade sealed the win with a nine-play drive that lasted just over five minutes and featured Springfield converting a 4th-and-1 thanks to another tough three-yard run from Callahan.  The Pride would then milk the clock to pick up its first conference win of the season.

Next Saturday, Springfield will travel to Connecticut to take on Coast Guard for a 1:30 conference game.

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