Storrs, CT - The Pioneers traveled to Storrs, CT to take on North Atlantic Conference Rival, Eastern Connecticut State University, in a conference battle. Following two weeks of forfeit wins for the Pioneers, they were finally able to play. The Pioneers defense forced a quick 3-out by the ECSU offense before a JJ Duffrene punt return put them on the plus side of the field. Sophomore RB David Depalma took a handoff later in the drive and easily coasted into the end zone from 31 yards out for the first score of the day. Junior Kicker Matt Lawrence kicked the PAT to make the score 7-0.
The Pioneers defense made yet another big play on the ensuing ECSU possession, picking off the first pass attempt of the game. Sophomore Safety Judson O’Brien intercepted his second pass of the season and the Pioneers were back on offense. Junior QB Mike Contento followed up the turnover by hitting Senior WR Tyler Toussaint down the right seam for a 31 yard gain. After a few rushing attempts, RB JJ Duffrene found the endzone from 3 yards out for the second score of the game. Sophomore Kicker Jeremy Miller nailed the PAT to make it 14-0.
Once again, the Pioneers defense forced a 3 and out and forced ECSU to punt. Duffrene fielded the punt off a bounce at the 39 yard line, made a few defenders miss and was down the right sideline for another touchdown. Lawrence converted the PAT and after one quarter the score was 21-0 Pioneers.
The second quarter started once again with another 3 and out by the Pioneer defense, their 3rd 3 and out of the game. Starting at their own 40 yard line, the Pioneers made quick work to get down to the ECSU 31 yard line. From there, Duffrene found a hole off the right side of the defense and scored his 3rd touchdown of the half matching the longest rush of the game. Miller converted the PAT and the score was 28-0 at halftime.
The second half started with a surprise onside kick by the Warriors, recovered by Junior Fullback Bryce McCanne. David DePalma took the next handoff and found a seam outside the left tackle for a big gain, tackled at the 23 yard line. The Pioneers were able to score on back to back handoffs, both of which were negated by penalties. The offense got down to the 1 yard line and a mishandled handoff was fumbled and recovered by the Warriors.
After forcing another punt by the Warriors to start the 4th quarter, the Pioneers had the ball 1st and 10 from their own 49 yard line. A handoff to Brian Sander put the exclamation point on the day, finding a hole outside the right tackle and he was gone for a 51 yard touchdown run. A Lawrence PAT made the score 35-0.
The game was sealed later in the 4th quarter with an interception by Freshman DB Ricky Lancaster, his first of the season. The Pioneers finished the day on defense only giving up 1 first down and not allowing ECSU to cross midfield and 2 interceptions.
The Pioneers will return home this weekend to take on Johnson & Wales University. Kickoff is at 8 pm.