SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Husson University defeated Springfield College 23-21 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Football Postseason. The win marked the first time in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) history that a member institution advanced out of the first round.
With the win, Husson advances to round two and will travel to Delaware Valley University on Saturday, November 25 for a 12pm kickoff.
The Eagles got out to a fast start as quarterback Cory Brandon (Pembroke, Mass.) found Kyle Gaudet (Gilford, N.H.) for a 36-yard touchdown pass to take the 7-0 lead five minutes into the first quarter.
With the first half winding down and Husson leading 7-6, running back John Smith (Fayetville, Ga.) barreled into the end zone from 12 yards out to notch his first touchdown on the day. Devin Pickett's (Sidney, Maine) extra point was good and Husson took a 14-6 lead into the half.
Springfield made some adjustments at the half and a long opening drive saw them tie the game after a Jordan Wilcox touchdown run and successful 2-point conversion.
The Eagles answered right back, as Smith found the end zone for the second time of the day with a 5-yard run to regain the lead for Husson, 20-14. Pickett added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to take the 23-14 lead.
The Pride refused to go down without a fight, as Hunter Belzo broke loose on a 52-yard touchdown run to cut the Eagles lead, 23-21 with just under seven minutes to play. Springfield got the ball back with just over three minutes to play and was driving in Husson territory.
At 3rd and 3 the Husson defense was tormenting Springfield quarterback, Jake Eglintine, who was forced to get rid of the ball or face a sack. Quan Soyini (Manchester, Conn.) stepped up and picked off the errant pass, all but sealing the game for the Eagles.
Three Smith rushes secured the game for Husson, running out the clock and sending the Eagles to the first second round NCAAA game in program history.
They will take on an undefeated Delaware Valley squad at 12pm on Saturday, November 25.