CANTON Two weeks into the season and the St. Lawrence University football team has scored only two touchdowns and is still looking for its first win.
The Saints dropped their home opener Saturday, falling 20-7 to Norwich University, a team SLU defeated 29-14 in a road game last season.
But after Saturdays defeat, and a 40-7 loss in the season opener at Utica last weekend, the Saints (0-2) remained optimistic.
SLU lost most of its key offensive playmakers from last season and is still struggling to adapt this year, but the team showed some potential in Saturdays game, which was played in a steady rain for most of the second half.
I think its more about coming together as a team, Saints offensive tackle Don Rohauer said. We are still making too many mental mistakes. I know theres a lot of young guys. We all have to step up our game.
One of the new starters for SLU is quarterback Zane Fish, a former Indian River standout. Fish was busy on Saturday, throwing the ball 49 times, completing 21 of those attempts for 193 yards and SLUs only touchdown. He also ran the ball eight times for 33 yards.
One of the things we have to do is keep growing, Saints coach Mark Raymond said. We have to take a step forward every week. We were better in some aspects today than we were a week ago. Well be defined how much better we get from week to week.
SLU is still trying to establish a running game two weeks into the season. The Saints gained only 86 yards on 39 carries last week against Utica and Saturday, SLU picked up only 72 yards on 24 carries, though freshman tailback Maurice Irby, who is only 5-foot-5, showed some breakaway potential. He finished with 36 carries on 13 yards.
And an area of concern from last season, converting on third downs, has remained an issue. SLU went 3-for-16 on third-down plays Saturday and is now just 6 of 27 so far this season.
We didnt move the ball either half, Raymond said. Giving (Norwich) a lead made it a lot more difficult. We werent able to make them pay early in the passing game and get out in front of them. With that style of offense, its much more difficult to come from behind.
Norwich (2-0) scored a touchdown on its very first series, moving 75 yards on 14 plays and ending with a 1-yard run by Dan Triplett. The Cadets missed their extra-point attempt however.
The Saints capitalized when a bad punt gave them possession on Norwichs 38 late in the first quarter, and took a 7-6 lead when Fish threw a 7-yard pass to Mike Tateosian and Chris Dris added the extra-point kick.
SLU freshman safety Leondre Simmon intercepted a Kris Sabourin pass in the second quarter and returned the ball 39 yards to the Cadets 24. But Dris missed a 44-yard field goal attempt when the wind appeared to hold up the ball in midair halfway through the end zone.
Norwich put the game away by scoring two touchdowns to close out the half. Mike Cavanaugh scored on a 1-yard run with 10 minutes, 25 seconds left and then Zach Allen caught an 11-yard pass from Sabourin with just 53 seconds remaining in the first half to make it 20-7. That lead meant even more once a heavy downpair and gusty winds arrived with about 10 minutes left in the half.
We figured it was going to be windy, but I didnt know it was going to be hailing, Norwich coach Mark Murnyack said. I did feel pretty comfortable having that lead. You get a two-score lead in this (type) game and its a little more comfortable. If you slip and fall, you still have a TD lead.
SLU took some consolation in keeping Norwich scoreless in the second half and the Saints moved the ball but were thwarted on four failed fourth-down conversion attempts.
We had a couple great stops, a couple turnovers and I think we can build on that, Rohauer said.