Friday, October 2, 2009

Fifteen years ago (yesterday): Hofstra 28, New Hampshire 6

Joe Gardi and the Flying Dutchmen made a lot of believers with a Homecoming win over New Hampshire Oct. 1, 1994.

Editor’s note: “Fifteen years ago today…” is a feature we’ll be running all fall at Defiantly Dutch as we look back on how the unforgettable 1994 football season unfolded. I’ll add quotes to note and other random memories of the games as well. Our first entry, in which we reflect on the games against Butler, Bucknell and Fordham, can be found here. The recap of the 27-6 win over Lafayette can be found here. Today: A recap of the 28-6 win over New Hampshire Oct. 1.

Oct. 1, 1994: Hofstra 28, New Hampshire 6

QB Carlos Garay threw for two TDs and rushed for another and the Dutchmen limited New Hampshire to 35 rushing yards in a dominant defensive performance as Hofstra treated a Homecoming crowd of 3,379 to an upset of the 11th-ranked Wildcats that served the biggest win since the program moved to I-AA three years earlier. The Dutchmen broke a scoreless tie with two second quarter TDs—on a seven-yard run by Garay and a 24-yard touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet in which Chrebet made a sensational diving catch in the end zone—and were never seriously threatened in the second half. It was the fourth straight game in which the Dutchmen followed a scoreless first quarter by scoring at least two touchdowns in the second quarter.

Michael Wright had a four-yard TD catch and Severin Cornelius rushed five yards for a score in the final minute for the Dutchmen. Garay threw for 180 yards and led the Dutchmen—who lost top rusher Haywood Cromartie to an ankle sprain in the first half—with 56 yards rushing. Chrebet had six catches for 125 yards.

In addition to their smothering run defense, the Dutchmen recorded six sacks and allowed New Hampshire to convert just two of its 16 third down situations and one of its four fourth down situations. The lone success occurred with 8:31 left, when the Wildcats scored their lone TD. Hofstra also forced New Hampshire to go three-and-out in seven of its 15 possessions.

The win ran the Dutchmen’s unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1) and vaulted them from 43rd to 26th in the Sports Network poll.

Quotable: “I love this game.”—Dutchmen offensive coordinator Mike McCarty, who uttered those words as he climbed down the ladder from the coaching booth into the press box as time expired

“This is a great feeling. I knew we had a chance to win, but I never thought we’d dominate New Hampshire like this. I’m going to savor this win.”—Joe Gardi

“I’ve never been 5-0 at any level, and now we’ve got a chance at a ranking. This game was for all the marbles and we won it.”—Herve Damas

Other random memories: This was the only Homecoming my parents attended while I was at Hofstra (my sister had her car accident two nights before the 1993 game and her Homecoming in 1995 was the same day as Hofstra’s, so my parents understandably attended hers) and Wayne Chrebet made a lifelong fan that day. My Dad doesn’t say much about anything, but I’ll never forget walking through the Student Center with him after the game and hearing him rave, over and over again, about what a player Chrebet is and how impressed he was by that diving TD catch. Chrebet could have recorded zero NFL catches and my Dad still would have been a fan.

I also remember it rained (because that’s all it ever did at Homecoming during the Defiantly Dutch Era) and that there was remarkably little suspense about the game. There was a real “holy smokes” feel to the thoroughness of the win, like…wow, this team is authentically and really good, not just good for a team that has no scholarships and plays an independent schedule. It was the win that changed everything for that team and that season. Hopefully I’ll have a more in-depth feature about the win in the coming days.

Next game: vs. Central Connecticut State, Oct. 7.

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