Wildcats lose Pride to Hofstra

James Evans

In terms of score, the loss to Hofstra by the Wildcats last week was a marginal two points.

But in terms of significance, the blow couldn’t be more powerful.

The ‘Cats, 7-1 before the game, blew a 12-point lead and fell to the Pride, a team ranked 1-8 before the contest, 34-32.

“That was the worst game we have played this year,” head coach Andy Talley said. “We played out of sync. Hofstra didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.”

Trailing 34-26 with 3:11 left in the game, the ‘Cats managed to rally, driving the field for 76 yards.

Quarterback Joe Casamento, who sat on the bench for most of the game, came in for the final drive and was perfect, completing all seven of his passes, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to John Dieser to pull ‘Nova within two. But on the ensuing two-point conversion play, Casamento was sacked by Daniel Garay at the 20-yard line.

‘Nova started slow, giving up 14 straight points to the Pride, but Marvin Burroughs and Ray Ventrone were able to rally the team, scoring 26 unanswered points.

With the ‘Cats trailing by 14, the Pride controlled the ball, but quarterback Bobby Seck tried a run and fumbled the ball. Ventrone pounced on it and took it 43 yards for a touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Hofstra’s Ricky Bryant fumbled the ball and the ‘Cats’ Jeremy Morgan recovered it to give ‘Nova great field position at the Hofstra 23.

On third and goal from the Hofstra two-yard line, Burroughs ran it to make it 14-13. But the extra point snap was botched and the ‘Cats had to settle for only six.

On their next drive, Talley tossed in a trick play that led to a Burroughs pass to DiGiacomo with a 17-yard touchdown strike to make the score 19-14. However, the two point conversion play was stopped.

‘Nova’s next drive started at their own 11-yard line, but that did not stop the ‘Cats, as they went the 89 yards and scored on Burroughs’ six-yard scramble to go ahead 26-14 at halftime.

But Hofstra’s 20 points in the second half ultimately proved too staggering for ‘Nova to overcome.

With only two games left in the season, the ‘Cats will need to win at least one of them to be considered for a possible playoff spot – no small feat against talented Maine and Delaware.

“With the loss, we have to win both games to be a lock, and if we won only one, we would be considered a bubble team,” Talley said. “It is very critical, though, that we win both so we don’t have to worry.

“If we did, we would possibly even be considered for a home game in the playoffs.”