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FOOTBALL OPENS SEASON WITH A WIN AS BULLDOGS DEFEAT SOUTHERN CT 19-10 SATURDAY

FOOTBALL OPENS SEASON WITH A WIN AS BULLDOGS DEFEAT SOUTHERN CT 19-10 SATURDAY

September 5, 2009

BRYANT FOOTBALL  OPENS SEASON WITH 19-10 WIN OVER SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT
Bulldogs Get 121 Yards Rushing From Senior Jerell Smith

GAME STATS  / PLAY OF THE GAME HIGHLIGHT  

Senior Jerell Smith went over the 100-yard mark for the 10th time in his career in Bryant's 19-10 win over Southern Connecticut Saturday at Bulldog Stadium. www.dspics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I -  Senior tailback Jerell Smith (Brooklyn, NY) rushed for 121 yards on 23 carries while sophomore quarterback Mike Croce (Waterbury, CT) looked sharp in his debut as Bryant University held on for a 19-10 win over visiting Southern Connecticut Saturday.

Bryant (1-0), beginning its second season competing in Division I Football Championship Subdivision, came up with a pair of key third-down conversions in the fourth quarter and a big goal line stand to pull out the win on a hot and humid afternoon. 

Forcing Southern Connecticut to punt on its first possession, Croce, in his first start at quarterback for the Bulldogs, engineered a solid 10-play drive by completing all five passes highlighted by a 36-yard touchdown strike down the middle to Khalel Pritchard to put the Bulldogs up 7-0 in the first.  He would finish the afternoon completing 15 of 22 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

Two Chris Bird (Monument Beach, MA) field goals stretched the Bulldogs lead to 13-0 before Southern Connecticut (0-2) would finally get on the scoreboard just before halftime.

SCSU quarterback Chris Roberts led the Owls on a seven-play, 63 yard drive capped by a 28 yard touchdown pass to Andre Privott, trimming the lead to 13-7 at the break.

Roberts had a fine day despite being sacked three times (two by Don Smith) as the senior completed 17 of 29 passes for 159 yards on the afternoon.

The key play of the game came in the in the third quarter.  With the hot temperatures of the late afternoon beginning to take its toll, the Bryant defense came up with the biggest play of the game.

Southern Connecticut, looking to take the lead, marched down the field 74 yards on a 16-play drive that consumed much of the third quarter clock.  With the ball on the Bryant 7 yard line, the Owls failed to punch it in as the Bulldog defense stood tall.

On fourth and goal from the one, Bryant's Andrew Regan and Peter Gauthier managed to get to tailback Chris Roberts before he was able to break the goal line and keeping the Bulldogs in front.

In the fourth, the Bulldogs put the game out of reach as Croce helped guide the Bulldogs downfield on a 14-play drive before finding tight end Matt Tracey in the back of the end zone.

Bryant finished the day with 348 yards of total offense to 267 yards by Southern Connecticut.  Jarom Freeman had 75 yards rushing on 17 carries for SCSU. 

Bryant, which got a career-high 10 tackles from linebacker Franck Tebou, will host Hofstra next Saturday at Bulldog Stadium starting at 1 pm. Southern Connecticut will return home to host Pace on Friday starting at 7 pm.