Red Storm ends four-game skid with win

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"Hey, we'll take anything we can get," he said. "It feels really great. We played our butts off on both sides."

But the Red Storm's first win since Sept. 16 was almost another in a long line of bitter defeats. Peacocks junior kicker David Wiggin lined up to take a potential game-winning 37-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The kick had the distance, but sailed wide right.

The ending was similar to the Red Storm's 15-13 loss at Central Connecticut State on Sept. 30, when Red Storm sophomore kicker Tom Gavenonis' 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked in the final seconds.

"It was the exact opposite that happened against Central Connecticut State," Hosein said. "We couldn't ask for anything more. The wind was blowing to the right maybe? I don't know, but we'll take it."

St. John's freshman Lawrence Tunnell was huge, as his three field goals of over 30 yards (37, 35, 38) brought St. John's back from a 13-0 deficit to 13-9. Plus his nine punts, which averaged 38.4 yards, pinned the Peacocks defense deep in their territory several times.

But it was his missed extra point attempt that almost came back to haunt Tunnell late in the game.

"He felt really down about what happened last week against Albany," St. John's head coach Bob Ricca said of Tunnell, who had two punts blocked and returned for touchdowns in the Red Storm's 27-3 loss to the Great Danes. "The kid really responded and came back and had a big-time game."

Early on it appeared St. John's (3-4) slide might continue with the Red Storm's second possession, as freshman quarterback Matt Millheiser was intercepted by senior linebacker Nick Marrone at the St. John's 16-yard line.

On the very next play, St. Peter's freshman quarterback Andre Harris ran left into the end zone to give the Peacocks a 7-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first quarter.

Without freshman tailback Derek Jones, who is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, St. John's head coach Bob Ricca went to a running back-by committee backfield. In addition to Matt McGuire, Chris Rogers, Alex Otero and Darron Newman, Ricca went with Hulse, who was moved back to defense after Cory Mitchell's ankle injury last week, and Hosein for a few series.

"I'll do whatever [coach Ricca] asks of me, to tell you the truth," said Hosein, who had 10 tackles. "I want this team to win. The season hasn't been that great, hasn't been the way we were hoping, but I'll play everything on the field if I have to."

With a struggling running game and a freshman quarterback, Ricca tried to shake things up in the second quarter when Millheiser handed the ball off to McGuire, who reversed to Stephen Jones. Jones dropped back to pass to Millheiser, but St. Peter's defensive back Antonio Seay picked him off and broke free down the far sideline for a 36-yard touchdown. Wiggan's extra point attempt was blocked by Omar Lewis and the Red Storm trailed 13-0 with 14:32 left in the first half.

"It's just mistakes," said senior linebacker Josiah Mooney said. "We had a lot of fumbles, a lot of turnovers. You can't have that, but fortunately we fought back from 13-0. That's a tribute to our defense and the team as a whole."

St. John's chipped away at the St. Peter's lead with a 37-yard field goal and a 35-yard field goal by Tunnell and trailed 13-6 at the break.

Another Tunnell field goal, this time a 38-yarder, made it a four-point game with 7:52 left in the third quarter.

Millheiser, who made just his second collegiate start. struggled at times, but orchestrated a great drive at the start of the fourth quarter to give the Red Storm the lead.

St. John's started the drive on their own 41. On third-and-8 from the 43, Millheiser hit Whitestone resident Patrick Avram for a 16-yard completion into Peacocks territory. After he rushed for five yards, Millheiser hit McGuire on a screen pass for 14 yards to the St. Peter's 22.

Two plays later, Millheiser's lob pass found Anthony Muniz in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown pass as the Red Storm took its first lead, 15-13, with 13:27 left in the fourth quarter.

Despite missing the extra point, Tunnell was big down the stretch, as the Peacocks started on their own 10, 4 and 5 after key punts.

St. John's continues its non-conference slate this week when the LaSalle Explorers (6-1), coming off a 39-10 win over Shenandoah, head to DaSilva Field Saturday at 1 p.m.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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