|Print this story||Permalink|
But that was six years ago and a lot has changed for both programs. After Wagner's 35-3 trouncing of the Red Storm Saturday in front of 3,418 at Wagner College Stadium, St. John's head coach Bob Ricca said it felt even longer than that.
"It seems like 1994 was 1,000 years ago," he said.
Led by junior quarterback Aaron Smith, Wagner (6-3, 6-1 Northeast Conference) torched the Red Storm, especially in the air. Add in a few special teams' miscues and two huge Seahawks fourth down completions and the Red Storm lost for the fifth time in seven games.
"It's very discouraging," Ricca said. "We had a chance to keep it close in the first half, but we didn't. In years past we were always explosive on offense, we could come back. Right now, that's not the complexion of this team. We're young and we have to play for field position, try and get scores on the short field."
Wagner quickly jumped ahead on their first possession of the game as, aided by John Campbell's block, Smith ran into the end zone for an 8-yard score. Steve Cross' extra point gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead with 11:11 left in the first quarter.
The first of two big fourth down conversions led to Wagner's second score on its next drive. On fourth-and-six from the Red Storm 25, Smith avoided the pass rush and dumped a pass over the middle to Lou Simone for a 23-yard completion to the St. John's 2. Two plays later Chris Davis scored from one-yard out as Wagner quickly went up 14-0 with 6:55 remaining in the first quarter.
"That's what the game came down to, third and fourth down conversions," said St. John's safety Danny Kelskey. "It was nothing we didn't prepare for, they're just a good team that made big plays today."
While the Red Storm defense held the Seahawks to 139 yards on the ground, it was Smith's aerial attack that killed St. John's. Smith was 15-of-32 for 238 yards. Red Storm freshman quarterback Matt Millheiser was largely ineffective, going 8-for-20 for 38 yards.
"Their quarterback and receivers made some big plays," Ricca said.
St. John's (4-5, 2-5) had a chance to get back into the game early in the second quarter on first-and-goal from the Seahawks 10. After Millheiser was sacked by Adam Jordan, he rushed for nine yards to the 5. Following an incomplete pass on third-and-goal from the 5, the Red Storm settled for Lawrence Tunnell's 22-yard field goal to cut Wagner's lead to 14-3 with 13:24 left in the first half.
Another fourth down conversion, this time a 19-yard pass from Smith to Chuck Kinsley, gave Wagner a first-and-goal from the Red Storm 6. Campbell scored on the next play to give Wagner a 21-3 into the break.
Wagner made it 28-3 with 3:33 left in the third quarter when, with all of his receivers covered, Smith broke free on third-and-six from the Red Storm 11 untouched for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon.
Matt McGuire booted the ensuing kickoff and Wagner's Kharee Shorter recovered the ball at the St. John's 19. Smith found Paul Podlaski in the right far corner of the end zone to go ahead 35-3 with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
"The special teams have been dictating games this year," Kelskey said. "The four games we won were on special teams. It's been a big factor."
With only two games left in the season, the Red Storm hopes to avoid its first losing campaign since 1995 when it finished 4-6. St. John's closes out its first NEC season against Monmouth Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at DaSilva Field. The Hawks (3-6, 3-4) are coming off a 37-10 loss to Albany. The Red Storm finish the season in New Rochelle to take on former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Iona on Nov. 18.
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.