BY STEVEN SOUSA //
The Colonels suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday by way of a 17-14 decision to the visiting Union College Dutchmen.
Traveling from Schenectady, N.Y., Union came well represented as its fans could be heard loud and clear at Walter M. Katz Field.
The Colonels’ first possession of the game ended with a turnover when Dutchman linebacker, sophomore Evan Gilland, intercepted Alex Corvese’s pass and ran it all the way back to Curry’s 31-yard line.
However, the Purple and White defense was able to hold Union to just a 25-yard field goal, putting them up 3-0 with seven minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Colonel offense couldn’t gain a whole lot of momentum throughout most of the game and especially in the first half.
Curry finished the half with two turnovers and a blocked field-goal attempt that would have tied the game with seconds to go in the second quarter.
The defense kept the Colonels in the game though, limiting the Dutchmen rushing attack until the fourth quarter.
“I think our defense played great, but the offense can’t leave the defense on the field all that time, it’s just not good football,” said Head Coach Skip Bandini after the game.
Curry finally found paydirt on its second drive of the third quarter when it started at the Union 43-yard line with 4:20 to play in the third quarter.
Corvese led a nine-play scoring drive that ended with an option play where he called his own number and barreled in from five yards out to give the Colonels a 7-3 edge after three quarters of play.
The Dutchmen wasted no time formulating their response, driving 63 yards in only five plays to take the lead back at 10-7 with just under a minute played in the final frame.
After a three-and-out on offense, mental mistakes started to catch up with the Purple and White.
Union converted on their first fourth-down opportunity of the ensuing drive but the Curry defense forced another on their own 18-yard line. However, an illegal touching penalty gave the Dutchmen another chance which they did not spoil.
Sophomore Brett Waller got all nine yards he needed to put his team up 17-7 with just over five minutes left in the game.
Bandini didn’t put any of the blame on his players for those errors.
“We did some stupid things, so that’s coaching, we gotta coach our kids better,” Bandini said.
Facing a 10-point deficit and only 5:06 left in his back pocket, Corvese again led the Purple and White onto the field. Starting on their own 11-yard line following an illegal block, #12 never wavered and relied on a balanced attack of aerial and ground forces to reach the Union Red Zone.
From eight yards out, Corvese found the 6-2 205-pound frame of senior Spencer Tyler to cut the score to 17-14 with 1:31 left to play.
Junior Mark Mrozek lined up for an onside kick following the score but the Colonels failed to retrieve the bouncing ball and all the Dutchmen had to do was bleed out the clock.
Waller ripped off a 67-yard run down to the Curry four but got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct which brought the ball back to the 14. There the victory formation came out and the 17-14 score went final.
Corvese felt the offense should have executed a lot better but his focus turned to improving for the next game.
“We were moving the ball pretty well at times, then we came up short a couple times,” Corvese noted. “Couple mistakes here and there, but we need to sharpen up for UMass Dartmouth in two weeks,” the senior from Cranston, R.I. added.
The Colonels dropped to 3-1 on the season while Union improved to an identical 3-1.
As Corvese mentioned, Curry has their bye week coming up so they’ll have an extra week to prepare to return to Walter M. Katz field to square off against UMass Dartmouth for a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday, Oct. 7.