Cardinals use explosive plays to down McDaniel in opener

Cardinals use explosive plays to down McDaniel in opener

WASHINGTON – CUA used a number of big plays to win its sixth season opener in the last seven years on Friday evening with a 45-28 win over McDaniel inside Cardinal Stadium. Senior Greg Cordivari threw for 312 yards and four scores, while classmate Alonzo Cooke caught seven passes for 156 yards and two TDs.

The 45 points were the most CUA has scored in an opener since piling 68 on Greensboro in 1998. The Cardinals have averaged 42 points in their last two games against McDaniel, both wins.

Cordivari threw touchdown passes of 10 and 53 yards to Cooke, while Drew Papas recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a Cardinals touchdown and a huge shift in momentum. 

CUA led 17-16 with 2:54 remaining in the opening half before Cordivari hit Tanner Keefe for a five-yard TD with 15 seconds on the clock, sending the Cards into halftime with a 24-16 advantage.

After McDaniel received the second half kick-off and went three-and-out, Ben Powers blew through the line to block Brett Haas' punt and Papas recovered for the lone touchdown of the quarter.  That sent the CUA sideline and its fans into a frenzy on a warm, humid night.

Keefe then opened the fourth with a 24-yard touchdown reception as the Cardinals lead grew to 38-16.

Mike Pitsenberger's seven-yard run with 5:10 to play capped the CUA scoring and sealed the season-opening win for the home team.

The Cardinals finished with 135 yards rushing and 312 through the air for 445 total yards.  Conor Stueckler led the defense with 11 tackles, while Patrick Thomas and Kevin Ross totaled nine apiece.

CUA held McDaniel to a 4 of 16 showing on third down and totaled 20 first downs to the Green Terror's 16.

CUA received the opening kick-off and proceeded to drive 75 yards in only 1:35, capped by a 10-yard Cordivari to Cooke touchdown pass.

McDaniel cut the lead to four with a 37-yard field goal by Bill Castor late in the first, but CUA answered with a 53-yard strike from Cordivari to Cooke to make it 14-3 early in the second.

The Green Terror cut the lead to five with a touchdown, but missed the ensuing extra point, and the Cardinals answered with a 22-yard Brian Gongaware field goal to go in front 17-9.

A three-yard pass from Nick Valori to Nick O'Mella pulled the visitors to within one, until Cordivari hit Keefe just before the half.

CUA is back in action next Friday, September 7 when the Cardinals play host to Gallaudet on Community Night.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. from inside Cardinal Stadium.

Click here to view a photo gallery from Friday's game between CUA and McDaniel

Photography by Matt Barrick

Tom Berry, of, caught up with CUA Head Coach Dave Dunn, Cordivari and Papas following Friday's win.  See what they had to say in the video below.