BRYANT FOOTBALL DEFEATS MERRIMACK 34-7 BEHIND LORENZO PERRY'S 233 YARDS RUSHING
Chris Peaks had 86 yards rushing on 10 carries vs. Merrimack Saturday. http://www.dspics.com/
SMITHFIELD, RI - (9/16/06) Behind the elusive running of senior tailback Lorenzo Perry (Providence, RI), the Bryant University football team rolled to a 34-7 win over visiting Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference action Saturday before a homecoming crowd of 4,854 at a sun-drenched Bulldog Stadium. Perry rushed for 233 yards on 21 carries, the fourth-best single-game rushing performance in school history as the Bulldogs improved to 2-1 overall on the year (2-1 NE-10).
Leading 14-7 at the half, Bryant stretched its lead to 21-7 thanks to a 74 yard interception return for a touchdown by junior safety Chris Wolhlheter. Wohlheter, who had a 75-yard interception return in the season opener against Southern Connecticut, picked off a Warrior pass early in the third quarter and made several nifty moves down the Bryant sideline for the score. From there, it was all Bulldogs as Perry scored on a six-yard run to cap a 7-play, 99-yard drive by Bryant to make it 27-7 and would add another 10-yard touchdown score early in the fourth.
Charles Granatell (Franklin Lakes, NJ) was 12 for 17 passing for 131 yards and had two touchdown passes before he was replaced by Ross Giffune (Foxboro, MA) and Jay Graber (Clarksburg, NJ) in the fourth.
The Bulldogs struck first as Granatell found Joey Brito (Pawtucket, RI) on the third play of the Bulldogs second drive of the game for a short completion. But Brito was able to turn the corner and break free down the Merrimack sideline for a 49-yard score.
Merrimack (1-2, 1-1 NE-10) would answer right back as Mike Young scored from a yard out to cap a 7-play drive for the Warriors and tie the game at 7-7 with 8:18 left in the first. Young, who had 94 yards on 19 carries in the game, carried the ball four times on the scoring drive. However, that would be all the scoring on the day for the Warriors as the Bryant defense limited Merrimack to 319 yards of total offense including 150 yards on the ground.
Merrimack starting quarterback Colin Temple completed 8 of 16 passes for 119 and was intercepted once. Backups Paul Pisani (3-for-10, 11 yards, 1 INT) and Mike Sarnese replaced Temple in the second half.
Chris Arnold had four catches for 33 yards for the Bulldogs, including a 10-yard touchdown reception from Granatell with only six seconds left before halftime, giving the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish.
Andrew McLarty (College Park, MD) had 7 tackles to lead the way defensively while Marcus Lindsey (Bridgeport, CT) and Paul Polomski (Franklin, MA) each had six tackles.
Bryant will host Assumption College next Saturday at Bulldog Stadium while Merrimack will travel to Waltham, MA next Friday night to face the Falcons of Bentley in a Northeast-10 Conference game.
* The 4,854 fans on hand for Saturday's game were the second-most in school history. 5,561 turned out for Bryant's first-ever game vs. Assumption in 1998. In 2000, 4,837 were on hand for the Bryant 49-13 win over Assumption on Homecoming. Last year, Bryant drew a season-high 4,820 fans for homecoming, earning a 20-19 win over Pace.
* Perry's 233 yards were the fourth-best in school history. Perry had a record 313 vs. Stonehill last season. Austin Martin had 251 vs. Mount Ida in 1999 and Andre McLeod rushed for 244 vs. AIC in 2000. Perry now has 1,890 yards rushing in two seaons.
*Perry's two touchdowns gives him 23 career rushing touchdowns - extending his record.
*Bryant has won seven-straight now at home (2-0 this year and 5-0 last season).
*The win for Bryant was just the second in eight meetings with Merrimack. The Warriors came into the game with five consecutive wins over the Bulldogs including last year's 41-40 overtime win over Bryant in North Andover, MA.
* Charlie Granatell, with 131 yards passing, extends his record of 3,488 career passing yards in three seasons.
* The win Saturday was Marty Fine's 13th at Bryant and 23rd overall at four-year institutions.