A signature win for Hofstra football; Upset 7th ranked JMU

Picture courtesy of Hofstra Athletic Communications

Leading up to the 2009 season there was a major question mark over whether senior Cory Christopher or sophomore Steve Probst would be starting quarterback, but in today’s game against seventh ranked James Madison, offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude decided to utilize the strength of both signal-callers. Behind Christopher as starting quarterback and a steady rotation of Probst, JMU’s defense was kept on their toes throughout the game with the tandem combining for 209 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in a 24-17 upset win at Shuart Stadium.

“It just gives people more things to defend,” said Hofstra football head coach Dave Cohen of the strategy behind rotating both quarterbacks.

The exceptional play of Christopher and Probst along with 178 total rushing yards set Hofstra on course for the signature win over the defending Colonial Athletic Association champions to boost their record to 3-2 and 1-1 in conference. The Hofstra defense also played a large factor in the upset, holding JMU to just 56-yards passing.

“[Today’s win] reiterates to our players the talent level that we have in our locker room and the capabilities and potentials that they have,” said Coach Cohen.

The complete play of Hofstra’s offense and defense was a major turnaround from last season’s 56-0 defeat the Pride were handed by the Dukes in Harrisonburg, Va. and was just two-weeks removed from a 47-0 setback at number-one ranked Richmond. The seeds were planted for this 180-degree swing when Hofstra’s senior leaders decided to hold an intense team meeting on Sept. 23 just four days after Richmond setback. Hofstra then proceeded to put a scare into Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Western Michigan before losing 24-10 last week.

“Today was just the end result of how we handled adversity following the Richmond debacle,” said Cohen.

Not even a 47-minute lightning delay with 1:23 left in the first half and Hofstra leading 14-10 and driving could derail the Pride’s offensive attack. Eleven plays after play resumed, Christopher hooked up with red-shirt freshman tight-end David Wilson for a 4-yard touchdown reception with five seconds remaining that boosted the Pride’s lead to 21-10 at halftime. It was the second touchdown of the game for Wilson, who had a breakout game with 65-yards receiving. The 6’6 Wilson found the end zone for the first time in his college career with a 34-yard reception from Probst that gave Hofstra a 14-3 lead with 10:34 remaining in the second quarter.

JMU arrived on Long Island as one of the Football Championship Subdivision’s (FCS) hottest teams with a 24-10 victory at 25th ranked Liberty and a near-upset win at Maryland before losing 38-35 in overtime. Last year’s 56-0 loss at JMU was fresh in the minds of many Hofstra players, who felt the Dukes may have been looking ahead to their game against defending FCS champion Richmond next week.

“In my opinion they looked past us and we just punched them right in the face and took it from them,” said Probst.

Hofstra is next in action against Maine for its annual homecoming game on Saturday Oct. 10.

Quick Slants

- Freshman defensive back Jordan Dangerfield picked up his first career interception with 3:53 left in the game, which helped set up senior kicker Henry Greco’s 42-yard field goal with 3:53 left that gave the Pride a 24-17 lead. It has been an emotional beginning to Dangerfield’s college-career after he unexpectedly lost his father David, who was also one of his football coaches growing up, just five days before the start of training camp at age 51. Coach Cohen made special mention in the locker room following the win of Dangerfield’s interception and how the freshman from Royal Palm Beach, Fla. has persevered through a personal tragedy. “To lose your dad, who was your coach and one of your best friends five days before camp, I can’t even fathom that,” said Cohen.

- Sophomore Brock Jackolski primarily played defensive back for the third straight game but also served as a key offensive weapon with a 17-yard pass reception out of the backfield on a 4th down and 1 with 47 seconds left before halftime and 43-yard kickoff return. “He’s playing defense because that is what is best for our team right now because we do have good skilled guys but we are trying to get him the ball between 12 and 15 times a game,” said Cohen.

- Today’s win was Hofstra’s first over a top-10 team since a season-opening 32-17 triumph over ninth- ranked Furman on Sept. 8, 2007.

- The win ended a five game losing streak to JMU with Hofstra’s last victory over the Dukes coming on Nov. 20, 1999 when Giovanni Carmazzi was starting quarterback, the program was competing as an independent and its nickname was the Flying Dutchmen.

1 comment: