SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It was a tale of two halves as the #24/25 Union College football team fell 31-24 to Utica University in the final nonconference game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon at Frank Bailey Field at Bertagna-Class of 1985 Stadium.
Union led in the ground game with 224 yards of offense, while limiting Utica to 89 rushing yards. Senior Ike Irabor tallied over 100 yards of offense for the second week in a row with 106 yards and his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Classmate Andre Ross Jr. scored for the third straight game with a 31-yard reception in the opening stanza. Junior Michael Fiore picked up 74 yards on 19 carries and a score. On the defensive side, junior Spencer Goldstien had eight tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss. Senior Austin St. Pierre also chipped in eight tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass break up.
Senior quarterback Donovan Pacatte went 5-for-7 with 90 passing yards and a score before exiting the game. Fellow senior Stratton Sherman went 2-for-6 with 13 yards. Junior Andrew Lau was a perfect 3-for-3 on PATs and successfully made a 30-yard field goal, his first of the season.
Union opened the scoring in the second drive of the game. After a 30-yard pass to Robbie Tolbert to enter Utica territory, Irabor rushed for two straight carries to put the Union offense on the Utica 31-yard line. Pacatte connected with Ross Jr. on a 31-yard reception into the endzone to put Union up 7-0.
The Dutchmen found the scoreboard again early in the second frame when Lau successfully made a 30-yard field goal to extend the lead 10-0. The visiting Pioneers were quick to respond in the following drive with a 68-yard touchdown by Travis Decker. It only took 21 seconds and one snap for Union to score again, as Irabor took a handoff 84 yards up the home sideline for a score. The touchdown run, which made it a two-score game, was the sixth-longest touchdown run in program history and the longest since Tom Arciduacono ’07 scampered 94 yards against Merchant Marine on October 1, 2005. Union added one more trip to the endzone in the first half on a one-yard run by Fiore to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room.
The visiting Pioneers found new life in the second half, outscoring Union 24-0. Utica recovered a fumble in the endzone for a score before Cory Lichtman added a 19-yard field goal two drives later. The Pioneers tied the game with a nine-yard pass from Braeden Zenelovic to Nate Palmer with 13:36 to go in the fourth quarter. Palmer struck again five plays later with a 43-yard punt return to give Utica the 31-24 lead.