The Central Connecticut football team opened the Pete Rossomando era with a 31-27 victory on the road at #7 Towson on Saturday night. Senior running back Rob Hollomon rushed for 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Central moves to 1-0 on the season with the victory.
The Blue Devils trailed by three 27-24, with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter after a long touchdown drive by the Tigers. Following a CCSU punt, the Blue Devils forced the Tigers to punt and got the ball back with under five minutes to play. Central answered with an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive to take a 31-27 lead with 36 seconds left in the game. The drive was capped by Rob Hollomon's second scoring run of the night, but the play of the drive was a fourth down completion to freshman Joey Fields that set up the Rob Hollomon score.
"This is a group that wants to win and they want to work hard. We talked about adversity all through camp not just this game adversity, just adversity in general. We were able to overcome it today," head coach Pete Rossomando said about his team after the game.
Rob Hollomon finished the game with 161 yards on the ground and 48 receiving as well as 280 all-purpose yards in the victory. He led the country in that category a year ago. Junior quarterback Nick SanGiacomo finished the game with fantastic numbers, completing 22-of-29 for 273 yards and a pair of touchdown. Senior Tyrell Holmes had four receptions for 102 yards and a score.
Defensively the Blue Devils were led by senior Chris Abner who had a team-high 11 tackles, including five solo. Junior Josh Celerin added nine and senior Andrew Murdock had seven. Junior C.J. Morrison had six stops and senior Josh Alaeze had five, including two for a loss and one sack. The Blue Devils had seven tackles for a loss in the win.
Rossomando added, "Our defense played outstanding today. Against a team that runs the ball like that - you ask anybody they would have said these guys will rush for 300 against us. Our guys held strong."
The Blue Devils outgained the 2013 national runner-up Tigers 465 to 315 in total yards, including 273 in the air and 192 on the ground. They held a 33:55-26:05 advantage in time of possession.
To open the game, the Blue Devil defense stopped Towson on three straight possessions, but the Tigers were able to post the first score of the game on a 24-yard scramble by quarterback Connor Frazier.
Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, the Blue Devils answered with a 38-yard touchdown pass from SanGiacomo to Holmes. The long scoring play was set up by a 41-yard kickoff return from Rob Hollomon and three straight rushing plays that gained 21 yards. It was 7-7 at the half.
The Blue Devils posted 190 yards of total offense in the first half, while the CCSU defense held the Tigers to just 129.
The second half started with a Blue Devil and then a strong CCSU defensive stand. A short punt gave the Blue Devils a short field starting at the Towson 49 yardline. On fourth down Rob Hollomon rushed for the first down to keep the Blue Devil drive alive. On the next play SanGiacomo found Holmes with a 23-yard pass to put the Blue Devils in the red zone for the first time this season. Three plays later SanGiacomo capped the drive by finding Brandon Hollomon in the corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown pass.
Towson tied the score but Central answered again. Rob Hollomon answered broke a 74-yard run on 1st down that put the Blue Devils at Towson's three yard line. Three plays later, Rob Hollomon punched it into the end zone from three yards out to put the Blue Devil ahead 19-14. The two point conversion from junior Willie Quarles gave Central a 21-14 lead with 2:33 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers answered again on a 19-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 21-21 with 25 seconds to play in the third quarter. Central answered with another strong drive that was capped by an Ed Groth 27-yard field goal that gave the visitors the 24-21 lead with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter.
Towson's Frazier put together his best run of the day to give the Tigers a lead less than three minutes later. He rushed 49-yards to give Towson the 27-24, but they missed the extra-point to keep the lead at three.
The Blue Devils were forced to punt on the final drive, but a roughing the kicker penalty kept the game-winning drive alive. After the Central score the Tigers threatened, but a last-second pass was ruled out of bounds and the Blue Devils picked up the victory.
Central is back in action next Saturday night in its home opener vs. another CAA team, Albany, beginning at 6 p.m. Fans are encourage to buy tickets in advance by visiting CCSUTickets.com.