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November 15, 2008

Bulldogs Clinch Winning Record in First Year of Division I

box score

Lindsey Gamble rushed for 163 yards including a 75-yarder in the fourth quarter as Bryant defeated Iona 23-7.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (11/15/08) -  Lindsey Gamble (Roxbury, MA) rushed for a season-high 163 yards on 15 carries to lead the Bryant University football team to a 23-7 win over Iona College Saturday at a wet and rainy Mazzella Field.  The win clinches a winning record for the Bulldogs in their first season of Division I football as Bryant will take a 6-4 record into next Saturday's season finale at Saint Francis (PA). 

Coming off a bye week, the Bulldogs were slow out of the gate and Iona (3-8) took advantage, scoring the only points of the first half late in the first quarter. Gael freshman quarterback Warren Smith engineered an 11-play drive ending with a 33-yard touchdown pass to the speedy Tim Mastrino for a 7-0 lead.

Held scoreless for only the second time this season, Bryant managed just 55 yards rushing in the first half against an Iona defense that came into the game allowing 300 yards rushing.

But it was a different story in the second half as quarterback Jay Graber (Clarksburg, NJ) led Bryant on a 10-play scoring drive to open the third quarter.  The senior connected with senior tight end Jarrett Solimando (Demarest, NJ) on an 18-yard pass play down to the one yard line.  One play later, junior tailback Jerrell Smith (Brooklyn, NY) dove into the end-zone to finally put Bryant on the scoreboard.  Iona would maintain the lead however, as the point after attempt was wide, keeping Gaels in front 7-6.

But the scoring drive was just what the team needed. Chris Bird's (Monument Beach, MA) 30-yard field goal atoned for the missed extra point try and the Bulldogs had their first lead of the game, 9-7 with 4:24 left in the third. 

Still within striking distance, the Gaels continued to move the ball well led by the arm of Warren Smith and the play of Mastrino.  But the key play of the game came early in the fourth with the Gaels driving deep into Bryant territory.   With the ball on the Bryant 25, and Iona facing a fourth-and-three, Attleboro's Don Smith pressured Warren Smith to scramble out of the pocket and throw an incomplete pass with Andre Whyte (Bennington, Vt.) covering.

Taking over on downs, Gamble broke through the line on Bryant's very first play from scrimmage and raced 75 yards for a touchdown to make it 16-7.  With the momentum clearly back in Bryant's favor, Jerrell Smith would later add a 50-yard touchdown run of his own and the Bulldogs never looked back.

With his 163 yards on the day, Gamble moved into fourth all-time in school history with 1,704 rushing yards.  Jerrell Smith, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season on Bryant's first play of game, finished with 105 yards on the ground, moving him into third-place all-time in school history with 1,723 yards.

Anthony DiNaso (Staten Island, NY) had four catches for 64 yards while Bryce Martins (Uncasville, CT) led the defense with 11 tackles. Patrick Gauthier (Woonsocket, RI) and Smith each had seven. 

Iona's quarterback Smith completed 31 of 53 passes for 272 yards.  Mastrino finished an amazing day for the Gaels, catching a school record 18 passes for 167 yards.