Gaels Blow Through DaSilva Field

Two strong, talented running backs possessing the ball for nearly 40 minutes can only mean disaster for the defense that is attempting to contain them.

This was the case on Friday night, when the Iona Gaels battered the Red Storm on the way to a 20-6 victory.

The Gaels were led by the tandem of Rob Terry (159 yards on 38 carries) and Tom Adams (105 yards on 18 carries) on a night when the Gaels gained nearly 300 yards on the ground.

“Once they began to run the ball right at us in the second half they completely dominated the game,” St. John’s Head Coach Bob Ricca said. “If they had done that from the beginning, the game would have probably been real ugly.”

Iona got on the board first with a short field goal after beginning the drive on the Red Storm’s 34-yard line. They would later add another field goal midway through the second quarter to take a 6-0 lead.

However, St. John’s quickly responded, in odd fashion, through the air. Quarterback Matt Millheiser connected with Matt May, who was playing his first game since returning from an ankle injury.

The pair hooked up on a 10-yard strike in the end zone following a 31-yard completion by the same two earlier in the drive.

However, St. John’s was unable to convert on the extra point leading to a 6-6 deadlock at the half. The botched extra point was just one of a laundry list of lackluster plays by the special teams unit, including two fumbled but recovered kickoffs and an illegal block that negated a sizeable return late in the second half.

“We did a lot of things in the first half that put ourselves in a hole and gave them great field position,” Ricca said. “You can’t play football that way, giving them the ball in your territory.”

Iona put the Storm away in the second half with two fourth quarter touchdowns, both coming on one-yard runs by Terry and Adams.

“The story is we allowed them to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Ricca said. The Iona defense did not just hold them-they completely shut the Storm down.

“St. John’s is a tough team but towards the later part of the game we controlled with the run and the experience of our defense was able to hold them,” Iona Head Coach Fred Mariani said.

The Gaels allowed only 145 total yards while causing three turnovers, including a crucial fumble deep in St. John’s territory with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

“We basically shut them down on offense and caused a lot of turnovers and big defensive plays,” said Gaels cornerback Frank Meade, who jarred lose the late fumble.

One bright spot on an otherwise disappointing night was junior cornerback Mike DeVore, who nabbed his fifth interception of the season, his first since his four-pick outing against Canisius.

Another bright spot was a ceremony honoring longtime Yankees and Giants broadcaster Bob Sheppard, who starred as a quarterback at St. John’s from 1929 to 1931.

Sheppard was given the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the St. John’s Touchdown Club and presented with a framed 1930 warm-up jacket with a patch commemorating his number and name.

But on this night the Red Storm was more interested on improving their future as opposed to living in the past.

“We had some opportunities but just not enough,” Ricca said. “We need to find a way to create more opportunities and take advantage of the ones we are given.”

The Red Storm will look to bounce back as they begin their first of three straight games on the road with a battle against Central Connecticut State on Sept. 28.