When a football team amasses 531 yards of offense and 21 more first downs than its opponent such as Hofstra did against Maine today, that would typically equate to a victory. However on the flip side when a team turns the ball over seven times and loses the turnover battle by four, more often than not it will leave the field with a loss and that was exactly what happened to the Pride in their annual homecoming game today.
A combination of five interceptions and two fumbles that led to 10 Maine points spoiled Hofstra’s offensive explosion in a 16-14 Colonial Athletic Association loss to the Black Bears just a week after upsetting seventh-ranked James Madison. The loss leaves Hofstra (3-3, 1-2) in a position where it may need to run the table in its final five games in order to have a shot at its first playoff appearance since 2001.
“There is no excuse for that amount of turnovers,” said a frustrated head coach Dave Cohen in the postgame press conference. “
The Hofstra defense forced two Maine fumbles and an interception but still lost the always key turnover battle seven to three. The Pride were also hurt by a 22-yard missed field goal from Henry Greco early in the fourth quarter off an errant snap when Maine was clinging to a 13-7 lead.
“To outgain an opponent by 220 yards and not win… it comes to two things, winning on special teams and winning the turnover battle.”
Despite the massive amount of turnovers the Pride were still in position to win the game thanks to outgaining Maine 531-311 and picking up 32 first downs to only 11 for the Black Bears. An Aaron Weaver four-yard touchdown reception from Cory Christopher with 2:22 left in the game brought the Pride to within 16-14.
After forcing a Maine punt following a failed onside kick attempt, Hofstra had the ball at its own 15 with 38 seconds left only needing a field goal to pull off the miraculous win. However a fourth down sack of Cory Christopher by Doug Alston at midfield in the waning seconds sealed the bitter homecoming defeat.
For the second week in a row Hofstra used a two-quarterback platoon of senior Cory Christopher and sophomore Steve Probst. Christopher was 22-32 for 223 yards but had three costly interceptions, two of which were on tipped passes. Probst was only 2-8 passing with two interceptions but was a force in Hofstra’s running game with 91 yards. Probst picked up 42-yards on four straight runs midway through the third quarter that helped set up an Everette Benjamin one-yard touchdown plunge that cut Maine’s lead to 13-7.
Hofstra will try and bounce back from today’s homecoming defeat when it travels to the University of Rhode Island for a Noon kickoff on Oct. 17.