Northeast Conference Football - Week 1 Recap

Somerset, NJ - Central Connecticut State won at Lehigh while Bryant and Duquesne also kicked off the 2009 football season in victorious fashion.

The Blue Devils' 28-21 victory was one of two wins the Northeast Conference recorded over the Patriot League on Saturday. Duquesne topped Bucknell, 24-19, at home. Monmouth nearly registered a third victory over a Patriot opponent, but fell at Colgate, 35-23, after holding a 16-14 halftime advantage. Defending NEC champion Albany nearly upended Georgia Southern in Statesboro, but the Eagles broke a 26-26 tie on a 44-yard field goal with less than one minute remaining in regulation.

Georgia Southern 29, Albany 26
Georgia Southern's Adrian Mora kicked a 44-yard field goal with 00:40 remaining to lift Georgia Southern to a over UAlbany in what was the season opener for both teams before 18,118 fans at Paulson Stadium. The contest featured four lead changes and two ties. Albany tailback, and Walter Payton award hopeful, David McCarty was limited to 63 yards on the ground, but reached the end zone twice.

Bryant 19, Southern Conn 10
Bryant defeated Southern Connecticut, 19-10, to remain undefeated (6-0) in home openers. Senior tailback Jerell Smith rushed for 121 yards, the 10th 100-yard performance of his career, while sophomore quarterback Mike Croce completed 15 of 22 passes for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Central Connecticut State 28, Lehigh 21
Central Connecticut State downed perennial Patriot League power Lehigh, 28-21, on the road road at Goodman Stadium. With the game tied at 21-21 in the third quarter and Lehigh threatening at CCSU's four-yard line, Blue Devils' defensive back Nick Delgado came up with an interception in the end zone. CCSU scored the game-winning touchdown seven plays later when Hunter Wanket found Josue Paul on a 40-yard pass play.

Duquesne 24, Bucknell 19
After CCSU opened by defeating Lehigh earlier in the day, Duquesne made it two in a row for the Northeast Conference over the Patriot League. The Dukes downed Bucknell, 24-19, before a home crowd at Rooney Field. Duquesne's quarterback combination of Kevin Rombach and Connor Dixon went 22-of-31 passing for 322 yards and one TD. Dukes' receiver Dave Williams, who transferred from Michigan State, caught 11 balls for 145 yards and a score.

Colgate 35, Monmouth 23
Monmouth jumped out to a 16-14 halftime lead before falling in the opener at Colgate's Andy Kerr Stadium. The Hawks received two touchdowns, one on the ground and the other through the air, from running back, and Walter Payton Award candidate, David Sinisi. The three-time all-NEC rusher carried 26 times for 102 yards and caught three passes for 56 more.

VMI 14, Robert Morris 13
Robert Morris dropped the epitome of a heartbreaker at VMI's Foster Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Colonials scored the go-ahead touchdown when Desmond Brentley and fullback Jeff Link hooked up on a one-yard TD pass with 6:22 to play, but the extra point was blocked. Trailing 13-7, host VMI responded with the winning score when Tim Mapray rushed into the end zone from five yards out with 1:27 on the clock.

Marist 31, Sacred Heart 12
Marist returned a pair of Sacred Heart interceptions for touchdowns and held the Pioneer offense to just one-for-five on fourth down attempts in knocking off the Pioneers 31-12 in the 2009 season opener for both teams on Campus Field Saturday night. SHU senior receiver Steve Tedesco caught six passes for 79 yards to break into the Northeast Conference's all-time top-10 receiving yards list.

No. 8 New Hampshire 24, Saint Francis (PA) 14
The Red Flash found their early 21-0 deficit too large to overcome in the season opener at No. 8 New Hampshire. After the Wildcats scored their third touchdown of the first quarter, Saint Francis freshman Kyle Harbridge returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a score.

Stonehill 45, Wagner 42
Wagner lost a wild one to Stonehill before a packed house on Staten Island. The 42 points were the most ever by a Wagner team in defeat. The Seahawks had a chance when junior Frantz Placide recovered an onside kick with 00:48 remaining, but an ensuing game-tying field goal attempt sailed wide right.

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