Photo by Adrienne Terzuoli
Post-Game Press Conference
Staten Island, NY –
Senior running back Ryan Fulse
rushed for a career-high 271 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a pair of 77-yard scoring runs, in leading Wagner to a 40-23 victory over Division II power Bowie State at steamy Hameline Field in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night.
The Seahawks raced out to a quick 14-0 lead jaunt before the Green & White extended its lead to 17-0 on a 22-yard field goal by sophomore Eric Silvester
with 5:22 left in the opening quarter. Fulse, who was the fourth-leading rusher in the FCS last year with 1,386 yards, scored his first TD of the game on a four-yard jaunt early in the second quarter before his first 77-yard TD of the game, with 8:26 left in the halftime, gave Wagner a 31-3 lead.
After the Bulldogs scored 10 straight points to make it a 31-13 game at halftime, Bowie State scored two first touchdowns of the second half to make it a one-possession game at 31-23 early in the fourth quarter.
Fulse then went back to work, bouncing around the left side and racing up the sideline for his second 77-yard TD run of the game, a near carbon copy of his previous 77-yarder, to put Wagner in front, 38-23, and the Seahawks never looked back.
Fulse's 271-yard effort, which eclipsed his previous career-best 228-yard game at Bryant last season, came on 20 rushing attempts, which computes to a gaudy 13.6-yard average.
Defensively, redshirt junior linebacker Santoni Graham
and fifth-year senior defense back Jesse Flaherty
, paced the Seahawks with 10 and eight tackles, respectively, but it was junior linebacker Cam Gill
who turned in two of the biggest plays of the game.
With Wagner leading by a 7-0 count after senior quarterback Luke Massei
connected with senior wide receiver Denzel Knight
on a 55-yard connection less than two minutes into the game, Gill came off the edge to block a Gene Carson punt, corralling the ball in one swift motion and racing 28 yards to paydirt in making it a 14-0 game just 3:28 into the game.
Later in the contest, with the Seahawks on top 38-23 following Fulse's second 77-yarder with 13:52 left in the game, Gill effectively sealed the win for the Green & White by sacking Bowie State's dangerous and elusive big-play quarterback Amir Hall, in the end zone for a safety which fashioned the final score at 40-23.
Massei managed a near flawless game, completed 8-of-16 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown with his one blemish being a hurried third-quarter interception. Knight, a mainstay in the Seahawk backfield as a running back in his first three seasons on Grymes Hill, wound up with 101 yards on two receptions, as he followed his 55-yard TD reception with a 46-yard second-half grab.
For Bowie State, the athletic 6-4 Hill was 30-of-47 through the air for 365 yards and two touchdowns with his favorite target being wide receiver, Gilbert Lunsford, who finished with eight receptions for 86 yards, while Lansana Sesay recorded four receptions for a team-high 89 yards. Hill also led the Bulldogs on the ground with 58 yards on 13 carries. On the defensive side of the ball, juniors John Johnson, IV and Taylor Johnson tallied seven and six tackles, respectively.
In terms of team stats, Bowie State actually outgained Wagner 456-415 and held a 32:54-27:06 edge in time of possession but the Bulldogs were penalized 15 times for 131 yards.
Wagner is next in action on Saturday, September 8 when the Seahawks face a huge challenge in the form of the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome with kickoff between set for 3:30 p.m.
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