STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Senior Richard Ukele (East Longmeadow, Mass.) returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown to highlight a dominant second half for the Bryant University football defense as the Bulldogs closed the 2019 season with a 14-10 victory over Wagner College on Saturday afternoon at Hameline Field.
Trailing 10-0 at the half, the Black and Gold pitched a second half shutout, holding Wagner to 76 yards, and scored once each in the third and fourth quarters. The tide-changing play came with 11:44 to go in the fourth quarter. Andrew Wallace (Cranston, R.I.) worked free on the line of scrimmage and deflected a Wagner pass attempt. Ukele made an over-the-should catch on the deflection and returned it 17 yards for the touchdown.
Senior Robert Brown (Palmetto Bay, Fla.) led the Black and Gold with 13 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble and Andre Brackett (East Windsor, Conn.) posted nine tackles for the Bulldogs. The 260 offensive yards are the fewest allowed by the Bryant defense this season.
Offensively, sophomores Daniel Adeboboye (Toronto, Ont.) and Harrison Easton (Miami, Fla.) combined to rush for 100 yards and a touchdown, while grad student Hunter Hill (Memphis, Tenn.) and freshman Anthony Frederick (Hollywood, Fla.) combined for seven receptions.
Bryant 14, Wagner 10
Records: Bryant (4-8, 3-4 NEC), Wagner (1-11, 1-6 NEC)
Coach Merritt's Comments
"I'm proud of the guys for not panicking at halftime. It took some time to regroup offensively and defensively. They controlled us pretty much the entire first half. We talked about getting into our game plan, into our groove and that opening drive of the third quarter went a long way in helping us establish that. The defense fed off the energy and Richie got the pick six, ending his career on the right way. Good team win to finish out the season. Now we carry some momentum heading into the offseason."
- With Bryant trailing 10-7, Wallace deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and Ukele was able to intercept it and return it 17 yards for a touchdown.
How It Happened
- Wagner controlled the first half on Saturday, outgaining Bryant 184-32. The Seahawks held the ball for 22:11.
- The Seahawks built a 10-0 lead with a 19-yard TD reception from Josh DeCambre and a 49-yard field goal from Eric Silvester.
- Bryant gained some momentum with a 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter. Jihad Edmond (Englewood, N.J.) made a 20-yard catch to help start the drive and Adeboboye ripped off back-to-back runs of 19 and 11. A 13-yard completion to Frederick put the ball in the red zone and Hill got it to the 2. Adeboboye then punched it home.
- The Bulldog defense kept it 10-7 with a blocked field goal midway through the third quarter.
- It was the defense that gave Bryant the lead in the fourth quarter. Wallace deflected the pass at the line of scrimmage and Ukele was able to corral it and return it 17 yards for the touchdown with 11:44 to go in the game.
- Wagner outgained Bryant, 260-177, and held the time of possession, 35:38-24:22.
- Bryant held Wagner to just 76 yards of total offense in the second half.
- Kory Curtis (Cape Coral, Fla.) finished 12-of-17 for 78 yards.
- Adeboboye rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
- Easton rushed for 46 yards on 12 carries.
- Hill posted four catches for 27 yards. Frederick added three catches for 25 yards.
- Brown posted 13 tackles, a sack, 1.5 TFLs and a forced fumble.
- Brackett collected nine tackles and 0.5 TFLs.
- Wallace had five tackles, 1.0 TFL and a pass breakup.
- Ukele had three tackles, a sack and an interception return for a touchdown.
Notes and Notables
- Bryant is now 8-4 all-time against Wagner.
- Senior Jesse Nemerowicz (Hudson, Mass.) extended his program record for tackles to 320 with six tackles in the game.
- Nemerowicz's 95 tackles are the sixth-most in a single season in program history.
- Brown became just the third different player to post 100+ tackles in a single season. It is the fourth occurrence in Bryant history.
- Brown's 108 tackles in 2019 are tied for the second-most in a single season in program history.
- Brown also posted his first-career sack on Saturday.
- With 13 tackles in the finale, Brown finished his career by posting 58 tackles over his final four games.
- Brown finishes his career with 227 career tackles, tied for 7th most all-time.
- Adeboboye now has five rushing touchdowns on the year.
- Senior Gavin Rowley (Hampstead, Md.) became the first punter in school history with 3,000+ punting yards in a single season, finishing with 3,110.
- Rowley also became just the second punter in school history with over 7,000 career punting yards. He graduates second all-time with 7,058 punting yards.
Saturday marked the completion of Bryant's 2019 season. The Bulldogs will open the 2020 season on Sept. 5 at Fordham.