NEW BRITAIN – Central Connecticut State football (1-6, 1-2) dropped its fifth straight game Saturday afternoon, falling to LIU (1-5, 1-2) 30-13.
The Blue Devils were outplayed in nearly all facets of the game as LIU led in first downs (21-19), total yardage (349-260), third down efficiency (46.2-14.3) and red zone percentage (100-50).
To kick off scoring, field goals were traded through the first, with Joe Zoppi nailing a 25-yard kick and Paul Inzerillo hitting from 20 yards to make the game 3-3 through the first frame. CCSU again regained the lead by way of a field goal early in the second, with Zoppi connecting from 42 yards to put CCSU ahead 6-3.
The Sharks gained the lead on a Camden Orth pass to Derick Eugene at the 7:50 mark in the second, capping off an 88-yard drive that took five plays for LIU to gain a 10-6 lead with the extra point.
From there, the lead extended. Inzerillo connected on a 32-yard field goal at 5:26 in the second half and again connected from deep, drilling a 47-yarder ay 8:45 in the third.
Orth’s pass to Owen Glascoe from the three-yard line with under two minutes to go in the second put CCSU in a bigger hole, down 23-6.
Despite getting a Tyhsaun James touchdown pass from Shon Mitchell in the fourth, the Blue Devils trailed by too much too late, and a Kevin Wilson 23-yard rushing score with under two minutes left in the game was the final nail in the coffin for CCSU as they trailed 30-13.
The Blue Devils were inefficient on third down, as mentioned. In 14 tries, CCSU only converted twice, and when pitted with a fourth down the Blue Devils converted just once out of the four situations.
CCSU was unable to contain an LIU offense that saw Orth pass for 146 yards with two scores. On the ground, the team combined for 203 yards with Shemar Paul leading the team with 70 yards.
Frustration after the game was evident from both the coaching staff and the players, who lost to an LIU team that was getting out-scored by opponents 32-247.
“We’re not a good football team . Period,” said CCSU head coach Ryan McCarthy. “It starts with me. I’m the head football coach, I’m responsible for what was out there today. Period. End of story. It was embarrassing. … It has nothing to do with who was out, who played, it has to do with me and the staff and not being able to get what we should be getting out of our players.”
Missing Saturday’s game was Dexter Lawson and Kelvin Apari, two difference makers on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, the Blue Devils were without Nasir Smith and Romelo Williams, the team’s primary running back and quarterback, respectively.
Had they been able to play and sway the outcome is unknown, but McCarthy again deflected the blame on himself and away from those who had to fill in for the four who would have regularly played had they been healthy.
“Whatever I was calling wasn’t working, for whatever reason,” said McCarthy. “I’ve got to go back and look at the tape, but I told the team this is my fault. … I’m obviously not pushing the right buttons. …. That’s on me, point blank.”
In place of Williams was Mitchell, who passed for 201 yards on 20 of 38 passing. Rushing, the Blue Devils were led by Aaron Dawson’s 31 yards. James led in yards for receivers with 113 yards on six catches.
Defensively the Blue Devils had sacks from Shayne Mayson and Harold Miles (one each) and a half sack from Tre Jones and Ifeanyi Okorji each. Jonathan Cabral-Martin had one interception.
Next for CCSU is a road trip against Merrimack (4-3, 1-2), with kick coming at 1 p.m. next Saturday (Oct. 30).