No. 3 Massachusetts Knocks Lafayette Out of NCAA Division I Football Championship Playoffs
Nov. 25, 2006
AMHERST, Mass. (www.lafayette.edu) - No. 3 Massachusetts rode a stout defensive effort and the legs of senior tailback Steve Baylark to a 35-14 win over Lafayette in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
Baylark carried 24 times for 152 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, and Liam Coen was 9-of-15 for 151 yards and three scores for the Minutemen. Meanwhile, the defense limited the Leopards to 201 yards of total offense (61 rushing, 140 passing).
Massachusetts scored on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Baylark got the ball on six of the first seven plays, gaining 37 yards, and scored on an eight-yard run. The second drive was jumpstarted by a late flag for defensive holding on third-and-seven from the 33, and Baylark scored on a 26-yard run following a 31-yard pass from Coen to tight end Brad Listorti.
Coen extended the margin to 21-0 with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Michael Omar with 13:25 left in the second quarter. Baylark ran for 34 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and the three-play drive covered 74 yards.
Lafayette rallied to pull within a touchdown at halftime, as a pair of turnovers gave the Leopards the ball in UMass territory and senior quarterback Brad Maurer capitalized on the opportunities. An interception and 18-yard return by Torian Johnson gave Lafayette the ball at the 34 with 3:08 left before the half, and Maurer hit Shaun Adair for a 26-yard touchdown.
Courtney Robinson broke the ensuing kickoff near midfield, but Adrian Lawson knocked the ball loose and Adair fell on it at the 43-yard line. Maurer hooked up with Duaeno Dorsey for a 31-yard scoring pass following a short completion to Hurt and a pass interference penalty.
Both defenses locked down after halftime, forcing punts on the first three possessions, before linebacker Jason Hatchell forced a fumble by Duaeno Dorsey at the 29. Massachusetts' scoring drive was assisted by a pass interference penalty on third-and-six from the 12, and Coen tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Ian Jorgensen to go ahead 28-14 with 2:01 left.
A 59-yard interception return by James Ihedigbo set up an 18-yard scoring pass from Coen to Brandon London with 5:26 left to establish the final margin. Massachusetts advances to play New Hampshire, which won 41-38 at Hampton on Saturday.
Lafayette's senior class compiled a four-year record of 27-20 and will leave College Hill as the three-time defending Patriot League champions.
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