Cardinals hang tough with Tigers before falling in ODAC opener

WASHINGTON – CUA opened its 2010 ODAC schedule with a valiant effort on Saturday as the Cardinals led unbeaten Hampden-Sydney 17-14 at halftime.  In the end however, the Tigers were able to outlast CUA 35-27 in front of a standing-room only crowd of 3,408 inside Cardinal Stadium.

Both teams put up over 400 yards of total offense on the day, including 424 by CUA.  Freshman Mike Pitsenberger churned out 186 yards on the ground, as he averaged 5.2 yards on 36 carries.  The teams were nearly identical in time of possession with Hampden-Sydney (30:17) holding it slightly longer than CUA (29:43).

Sophomore Greg Cordivari had a solid day under center for the Cardinals with 234 yards passing, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.  Seven different Cardinals caught passes, led by Lawrence DeSimone with seven catches and Alonzo Cooke who had six receptions for a team-high 83 yards.

The CUA defense forced four turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by Scotty Braswell, while James Fucillo led the Cardinals with nine tackles.  Rob Schaetzl registered six tackles, one sack and two-and-a-half tackles for-loss, while Dylan O'Shea forced a pair of fumbles.

For Hampden-Sydney (5-0), Travis Lane completed 25-of-34 passes for 319 yards and a pair of scores, while Evan King led the ground game with 71 yards on 18 carries.  Two Tigers, Kyle Vance (103) and Sean Cavanagh (104) registered 100-yard receiving games, and Andrew Bruckner hauled in a team-best nine receptions.

Trevor Ikwild had a monster day for the Tigers defense with 17 tackles, while Steven Fogleman registered ten stops.

CUA received first but was forced to punt on its opening possession.  The Cardinals got the ball right back however, when O'Shea forced Vance to fumble and Alex King pounced on the loose ball.  The Cardinals were unable to take advantage though, and the game remained scoreless.

Later in the first, Lane found a wide-open Cavanagh for a 38-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Tigers lead with 6:44 on the clock.

CUA answered right back on its ensuing drive as the Cardinals went 56 yards in only four plays and tied things at seven on a five-yard touchdown catch by DeSimone.

With 4:52 remaining in the quarter, CUA took over at its own 30 and proceeded to march 70 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 30-yard strike from Cordivari to Tanner Keefe, which made it a 14-7 game with under a minute on the clock.  Pitsenberger rushed for 34 yards on the drive and Cordivari completed four-of-six passes for 49 yards.

Five minutes into the second quarter, Hampden-Sydney knotted the score at 14 on a Vance 33-yard touchdown catch.
With over seven minutes to play, CUA again unleashed a long, methodical drive that began on its own 20-yard line.  Nearly six-and-a-half minutes later, Connor Maloney booted a 21-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 17-14 halftime advantage.  Pitsenberger was again nearly unstoppable on the drive as he totaled 45 yards on the ground.

Hampden-Sydney wasted little time taking the lead back as the third quarter began.  The Tigers went 53 yards in only 2:37 and regained the lead when King rushed in from two yards out.

Unfazed, CUA got the ball back and moved three points closer on a 28-yard field goal by Maloney to make it a 21-20 game with over eight minutes to play in the third.

The Tigers again had an answer though as King scored again, this time from one yard out to give the visitors a 28-20 lead with 1:34 left in the quarter.

Following a CUA punt early in the fourth, the Tigers went up by two scores when King scored his third TD of the afternoon on a four-yard rush.  That put CUA's deficit at 35-20 with just over ten minutes to play in the game.

The Cardinals responded with a strong ten-play, 85-yard drive that ended in a Cordivari to Cooke touchdown pass to make it 35-27.  Jason Howard caught a 32-yard pass and Cooke hauled in a 31-yarder on the drive as CUA pulled to within one score with just under six minutes remaining.

Hampden-Sydney then got the ball back and wound up never giving it up, as the Tigers converted a huge third-and-eight play when Lane found Bruckner for 13 yards and a first down.  The Tigers then fed King for two big rushes, one covering 15 yards and the other totaling 10, as Hampden-Sydney took the 2010 conference opener.

CUA will begin the road portion of its ODAC schedule next weekend when the Cardinals travel to take on an undefeated Randolph-Macon squad on October 9.  Game time is set for 1:00 in Ashland, Va.