After a rocky start to the 2005 season with two straight losses, the Red put one in the win column, defeating the Virginia Military Institute – a team in its first season of competition – at home by a 39-12 margin. The victory was a complete team effort, with the defense setting the tone early when junior linebacker John Samuel intercepted the first pass of the game. On the Red’s first possession, senior Alec Macaulay tossed a 32-yard touchdown to junior Sean Pardo to open the scoring.
“Alec [Macaulay] played a great game,” said head coach Terry Cullen. “Our blocking was much better, and our offense played very well. This was a very positive game for our ball club, and we hope to take all the good things and use it the rest of the way.”
Another offensive hero for the Red was junior Mike Fullowan. The running back was dominant, as he rushed for 50 yards and two touchdowns on seven attempts. As a receiver, Fullowan caught a 49-yard touchdown pass with six minutes to go in the first quarter that extended the Red lead to 14-0.
“The early success we had offensively elevated our confidence a lot, and when you play with confidence, you play better,” Macaulay said. “We had a couple of big plays early and big plays were something we didn’t have at all in the first two games. Whenever you can get a couple of quick scores on an opponent, it is very demoralizing for them. We hit them with two quick touchdowns and I think it sent them reeling a bit.”
Macaulay finished the day with 103 passing yards on 3-of-8 passing attempts for two touchdowns, and no sacks. In addition to the touchdown receptions by Fullowan and Pardo, the Red’s leading receiver, senior Jon Amoona, had two catches for 72 yards, while catching a touchdown late in the third quarter from sophomore quarterback Brian Kennedy, to put the game out of reach.
“We played against a defense unit that was tough,” Cullen said. “I was impressed with the intensity of VMI the first time seeing them. They play a similar kind of defense as Navy does, so it should help us that we had a great deal of success against them this week.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Red’s strong play continued, as senior defensive tackle Amos Smith led the Red with nine total tackles, in addition to two sacks for a combined loss of nine yards.
Junior defensive end Matt Collin also had two sacks, with senior Ryan Juliano, juniors Jason Zittel and Matthew Curler, and sophomore Greg Solomon each recording a sack in the ballgame. Unfortunately for the Red, the squad lost starting senior defensive end Steve Baron indefinitely to a knee injury.
As for takeaways, along with Samuel’s first-play interception, senior Larue Robinson and junior Sam Klein each had an interception.
Each team had four turnovers on the day.
“Our defense has been so solid all year long,” Cullen said. “We rotated guys through all game and everyone contributed. Once we got the early lead, we were able to out-tough them and really take advantage.”
The Red will continue its ’05 campaign with a rematch against the defending champions, Navy, in Annapolis, Mary., this Friday night.
The Red hopes to rebound from a 41-0 defeat to the Midshipmen last week.
“It will certainly be a tough matchup again for us,” Cullen said. “We hope to continue the positives from our game against VMI and pull out a win.”
Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer