Presidents Roll Over Juniata In Season Opener 40-0
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Washington and Jefferson College opened its 120th varsity football season with a 40-0 victory over Juniata College on Saturday afternoon at Knox Stadium.
The Presidents dominated all aspects of the game, racking up 588 total yards and 31 first downs, while limiting the Eagles to just 68 yards (6 in the second half). Juniata averaged 1.5 yards per play and finished with six first downs. The Eagles had only three first downs during the final three quarters, all of which came as a result of W&J penalties.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) made his first collegiate appearance and shined by completing 19-of-28 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 30 yards. Senior linebacker Neil Sorice (Youngstown, Ohio/Canfield) paced the defense with eight tackles, including a pair for a loss.
The Presidents (1-0) scored on their first possession of 2011 with a four-play, 76-yard drive. Junior running back Tim McNerney (Butler, Pa./Knoch) capped the drive with a 29-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the year. McNerney has now scored a touchdown in nine consecutive games dating back to last season.
The W&J defense forced a punt after three plays and the offense quickly upped the lead to 13-0 just over two minutes later. Bliss lofted his first career touchdown pass, a 31-yarder to senior wide receiver Adam Dominick (North Irwin, Pa./Norwin), to cap a six-play, 44-yard drive.
W&J scored its first touchdown of the second quarter at the 8:23 mark as McNerney crossed the goal line from three yards out. Bliss completed three passes on the drive which covered 73 yards in 10 plays.
The Bliss-Dominick connection worked again with 39.4 seconds left in the first half as Dominick hauled in an eight-yard fade pass in the corner of the end zone for a 26-0 halftime lead. W&J outgained the Eagles (0-1) by a 317-62 margin in the first half and held an 18-4 advantage in first downs.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Bliss fired his third touchdown pass of the game, a 37-yard strike to sophomore wideout Alex Baroffio (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) on the first play of the fourth quarter. The score was set up by a 43-yard screen pass to sophomore running back Dion Wiegand (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) on a 3-and-20 situation. Washington and Jefferson tacked on its final score early in the fourth quarter when junior running back DeAndre Simmons (Fort Myers, Fla./Riverdale) rushed in from the 1-yard line.
McNerney finished with 84 yards and two scores on 14 rushing attempts, while Wiegand rushed for 49 yards in his W&J debut. Baroffio led all receivers with seven receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown, while Dominick hauled in six passes for 73 yards and two scores. The Presidents had four different quarterbacks complete a pass, eight players register a rushing attempt and eight others catch at least one pass.
Senior safety Matthew Gal (South Park,Pa./South Park) and junior linebacker Brendan Lucchino (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) both added five tackles for the defense. W&J now holds an 85-33-2 all-time record in season openers.
Freshman Ward Udinski completed 8-of-17 passes for 35 yards as the Juniata quarterback. He was sacked twice. Andrew Masullo led the JC defense with seven tackles and two pass breakups.
The Presidents open their home schedule next Saturday at 1:30 pm when they host Delaware Valley at Cameron Stadium as a part of the PAC-MAC Challenge. The Aggies, who knocked off Muhlenberg 10-9 in overtime Saturday, defeated W&J 27-0 last year.