Cardinals suffer first loss of 2010 with 24-14 setback

WASHINGTON – The CUA football team suffered its first loss of 2010 on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinals dropped a 24-14 decision to McDaniel College inside Cardinal Stadium.  CUA trailed by only three, 17-14, entering the fourth quarter, but the Green Terror pulled away with a touchdown with 11:28 remaining.

CUA totaled 237 yards of offense on the afternoon, including 200 through the air by sophomore quarterback Greg Cordivari.  The signal caller completed 22-of-36 passes, but also threw three interceptions.  Freshman Mike Pitsenberger led the Cardinals with 70 yards rushing on 16 carries, while senior Mike Smith hauled in nine receptions for 79 yards. 

Tom Massucci completed 21-of-32 passes for 235 yards and three scores for McDaniel with CJ Billera his favorite receiver (six receptions for 47 yards).  Matt Cahill pulled down five receptions for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Raymond O'Hara was the team's leading rusher with 52 yards on 15 carries.

Six Cardinals totaled six tackles on the day, including Joe Tretter, Dwight Jones, Marc McEvoy, Kirk Kasa, Vinny Cortese and Aaron ThompsonChristian Pavik and Anthony Albanese recorded sacks for CUA and as a team the Cardinals registered 11.0 tackles for-loss.

Diego Weiner and Zach Martin led the Green Terror defense with ten tackles apiece, while Paul Smith added eight. 

Both teams started slow offensively until McDaniel opened the scoring with a touchdown near the end of the first quarter.  The scoring play was a ten-yard reception by Cahill from Massucci which made it a 7-0 game with 3:37 on the first quarter clock.  That proved to be the lone score of the opening 15 minutes.

McDaniel began the second quarter with the ball but CUA's defense quickly got it back as Pavik sacked Massucci for an eight-yard loss on third down to force a punt.  The Cardinals began their drive at their own 20-yard line and quickly went to work.  Cordivari hit Smith for an 11-yard gain on second down and one play later Cordivari and Lawrence DeSimone connected for an eight-yard gain. 

Later in the drive on third-and-14, Cordivari dropped back and fired a strike to DeSimone for a long gain that brought the chain gang out for a measurement.  DeSimone did in fact get enough for the first down and the Cardinals drive continued. 

Three plays later, on third-and-nine, Pitsenberger rushed for 11 yards and another CUA first down to the McDaniel 16.  Two plays after that, Cordivari hit Anthony Gibbs for a 12-yard score to tie things at seven with 8:17 to play before halftime.

Near the end of the half McDaniel took the lead back on a 25-yard Jake Nichols field goal to make it a 10-7 game, and that is how the teams would enter halftime.

The Green Terror extended their lead to ten early in the third on a second Massucci to Cahill touchdown pass, this one coming from seven yards out.  CUA came right back on its next drive however and answered with a touchdown of its own.  

The drive did not start out well for the Cardinals with a holding penalty and sack on the first two plays.  Pitsenberger got CUA back on track though as he ripped off an eight-yard run and Cordivari then hit Smith for four yards setting up a crucial fourth-and-eight from the McDaniel 37-yard line. 

On the next play Cordivari dumped the ball off to Pitsenberger and he rumbled for 10-yards and a first down, setting the Cardinals up at the Green Terror 23.  Two plays later Cordivari dropped back and threw a beautiful 21-yard strike to DeSimone for a touchdown to make it a 17-14 game. 

Neither team scored for the remainder of the quarter, sending the game into the fourth with CUA trailing by only three. 

Following a CUA punt early in the fourth, McDaniel upped its lead to ten once again as Joe Rollins took a screen pass from Massucci and made a series of nifty moves on his way to a 30-yard score to make it 24-14 Green Terror with 11:28 to play.

CUA had several chances throughout the remainder of the quarter to cut into the McDaniel lead, but the Cardinals went three-and-out on their next possession and later, Cordivari was picked off by Chris Kolb with 3:56 to go, which all but sealed things.

CUA will return to action next Saturday when the Cardinals close out their non-league schedule with a trip to Pennsylvania to take on Albright.  Kick-off is set for 1:00.