The Vermont Catamounts got their season off to a roaring start with a 55-point shutout of the University of Hartford Hawks. The Catamounts’ dominating defense did not yield a first down, forced five turnovers, and held Hartford to minus-18 total yards of offense. Meanwhile, UVM scored on their first four drives to take a 24-0 first quarter lead, leaving the outcome of the game in no doubt.
Hartford’s tough day started on their first drive. After a tackle for loss by UVM linebacker Jake Ermolovich, Hartford faced a 3rd & 16 from their own 32 yard line. Safety Blake Walker intercepted the third down pass at the Hawks’ 44 and returned it to the 13 yard line. UVM was unable to gain a first down and settled for a Josh Taylor 31 yard field goal. Vermont took the lead, 3-0.
Hartford’s next drive ended on their own 26 yard line when the fourth-and-14 punt went off the side of the foot of the punter.
The Catamounts then drove 25 yards on three plays, all runs by running back Eddie Hockenbury, for the first touchdown of the game. Hockenbury’s 6 yard run, followed by Taylor’s point after gave Vermont a 10-0 lead.
On the very next offensive play, Hartford was intercepted by again Blake Walker at midfield; his second interception of the quarter. Vermont scored three plays later when QB Kyle Morand threw a 39 yard TD pass to WR Ryan Augustine. Another Taylor extra point extended the Vermont lead to 17-0.
Vermont linebacker Eric DePhillips’ sack on the next drive jarred the ball loose from the Hartford quarterback and fellow linebacker Griffin Comerci recovered the loose ball giving the Catamounts a short field again, this time at the Hartford 27. On third-and-13 from the Hartford 21, Morand fired his second TD pass, this time to receiver Tyler Fennell. Vermont led 24-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Vermont then started to slow the game down by primarily running the football. Hockenbury scored on a 7 yard TD run in the second quarter and lineman Pat McGrath scored on a 9 yard run in the fourth. Hockenbury led all rushers with 84 yards on 14 carries and two TD’s. He also had one reception for 11 yards and a 31 yard interception return for a TD.
As well as going 7 for 7 on extra points and 2 for 2 on field goals, Josh Taylor also caught a 22 yard TD pass from the tight end position in the third quarter. Freshman quarterback Kyle Morand ended the game throwing three TD’s and completing 6 passes out of 15 attempts for 151 yards and no interceptions.
UVM will host Clarkson University on September 24 at 7:00pm at South Burlington High School in a non-conference game.