Football Suffers First Liberty League Loss at Nationally-Ranked Hobart

Sean Murphy

Geneva, NY --- The nationally-ranked Hobart football team produced a season-high 501 yards of offense and scored 41 unanswered points on the way to a 41-7 Liberty League win over WPI on Boswell Field this afternoon. Junior quarterback Patrick Conlan (Sewickley, PA) threw for a season-high 208 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Troy Robinson (Johnson City, NY), the longest pass play in Statesmen history. 

Hobart (4-0, 2-0) improves to 10-0 all-time against WPI. The Statesmen are ranked fifth in the nation in the AFCA poll and seventh in the poll. 

Conlan was 9-of-15 on the day and also connected on a 5-yard TD pass to junior wideout Elvin Souffrant (Randolph, MA). Robinson had three catches for 127 yards, including the record-breaking catch. Senior running back Steven Webb (Dundee, NY) was over 100 yards before time expired on the first quarter, logging 113 yards and two touchdowns on just two carries. 

Hobart's defense limited the Engineers (2-3, 1-1) to just 270 yards of offense, 165 of which came in the fourth quarter as the Statesmen reserves. Senior linebacker Cory Davis (Lancaster, NY), junior linebacker Jacob Price (Johnson City, NY) and sophomore defensive end Julian Jackson (Margate, FL) shared team-high honors with five tackles apiece. Junior defensive end Tyre Coleman (Poughkeepsie, NY) had one of Hobart's three sacks and is now just half a sack behind the career record of 33 held by Dave Russell '98. 

WPI got 93 rushing yards from junior running back Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) and 113 yards passing and a TD from senior backup quarterback John Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA). First-year linebacker Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA), junior linebacker Robert Harasimowicz (Gardner, MA), junior defensive lineman Jack Downey (Framingham, MA), and sophomore defensive back Sean Murphy (Mattapoisett, MA) each recorded a game-high six tackles for the Engineers. 

WPI got the ball first and moved down to the Hobart 37 before stalling out and punting. The Engineers downed Vinny Tavernelli's (Plymouth, MA) kick at the Hobart 1. The Statesmen needed just seven plays to cover 99 yards and take a 7-0 lead. Conlan hit Souffrant for a 37-yard gain and move Hobart to the WPI 38. On the ensuing play, Webb broke free for a 38-yard TD. 

The Statesmen intercepted WPI starting quarterback Jacob Grills (East Lyme, CT) (7-of-17 for 47 yards) twice in the first quarter. The first, by senior Connor Garrett (San Diego, CA), gave Hobart the ball on the WPI 46. Two plays later, Webb scored on a 42-yard run. The second pick was tipped at the line and corralled by junior linebacker Nolan Toran (Pittsburgh, PA) at the WPI 20. That led to Conlan's 5-yard fade pass to Souffrant in the back corner of the end zone and a 21-0 lead. 

In the second quarter, Hobart continued to win the battle for field position. Senior Yosh Karbowniczak's (Syracuse, NY) 49-yard punt pinned the Engineers back at their own 1. The defense forced a three and out and Robinson fielded the punt at the WPI 41 and returned it 33 yards to the 8. Three plays later, Conlan called his own number and scored on a 3-yard keeper. The snap was high on the extra point attempt and the kick was no good, leaving the Statesmen a 27-0 lead. 

Short field or long field, it didn't matter for Hobart today. On the next Statesmen possession, the home team was backed up at its own eight. After a pair of handoffs moved the ball out to the Hobart 11, the Statesmen dipped into their bag of tricks. On third down, Conlan handed the ball to Webb, who took two steps toward the line and pitched the ball back to Conlan, who unleashed a beautiful spiral that hit Robinson in stride near midfield. Robinson won the footrace to the end zone for the longest pass play in Hobart history. The previous record was 88, a Craig Swanson to Dan Suozzi toss on Sept. 27, 2003 against Union. 

The extra point was good and Hobart took a 34-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. 

The Statesmen showed no signs of slowing down, using the opening drive of the second half to march 71 yards in eight plays. Junior quarterback Kyle Bayly (Schenectady, NY) directed the drive and threw his first career TD pass, a 27-yard connection with Robinson. Hobart, playing second and third stringers, led 41-0 at the end of three quarters. 

WPI broke up the shutout on its first drive of the fourth quarter. Antonopoulos completed a 70-yard TD pass to junior wideout Larry McGillicuddy (Stow, MA). The pass play accounted for 26 percent of the Engineers' offense on the day. 

Hobart will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 12, when the Statesmen visit Springfield for a Liberty League scheduled to kickoff at noon.  WPI heads back to New York state on Saturday for a 1:30pm contest at Union.

Release Courtesy Hobart Sports Information