Senior running back Caleb Jones (Lake Placid, Fla./Lake Placid) rushed for a career-high 196 yards to lead the Hiram College football team to an impressive 20-0 shutout against Allegheny (Pa.) College in a North Coast Athletic Conference game in Meadville, Pa.
The win ends a streak of 159 consecutive games without a shutout dating back to the 1995 season. The last time the Terriers posted a shutout victory came against Heidelberg University in which Hiram won, 24-0. It also marks the first win against the Gators since the 1983 season when Hiram captured a 13-6 victory at home.
Hiram (2-1, 1-1 NCAC) wasted no time getting on the board in the first quarter. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Terriers went 65 yards in two plays that ended in a 63-yard touchdown scamper by Jones for the early 7-0 lead. The Hiram defense would force Allegheny to punt on all three of its possessions in the opening quarter to lead 7-0 after the first 15 minutes.
In the second quarter, Hiram added a pair of field goals by junior Greg Klisuric (Mentor). Klisuric’s first field goal came at the 8:53 minute mark that capped a six-play, 57-yard drive in which he connected from 29-yards out. Following an Allegheny fumble that was forced by Hiram sophomore defensive lineman Garrett Primer (Madison), Klisuric made good on a 32-yard attempt to extend the margin to 13-0 with 32 seconds remaining in the half. The Gators failed to get on the board in the final seconds as Hiram maintained its 13-point edge at the break.
Neither team recorded any points in the third quarter despite Allegheny marching to the Hiram nine-yard line. But the Hiram defense held strong as sophomore defensive backAndrew Torres (Cape Coral, Fla./Mariner) picked off an errant Gator pass in the endzone preserving the possible shutout.
Hiram sealed the victory on its first possession of the fourth quarter with Jones finding the endzone for his second rushing TD of the day with 8:33 to go in the game, this time from a yard out that ended an impressive 12-play, 73-yard drive. The Gators offense again got into the Hiram redzone later in the quarter, but the Terrier defense came through again forcing a sack on a fourth down play giving the ball back over to Hiram. Allegheny got the ball back one final time with just over a minute to go, but could not find the endzone as Hiram went on to win by the final of 20-0.
The Allegheny offense was held to just 181 yards (131 rushing and 50 passing) and was led by Nick Deichler who carried the ball 11 times for 73 yards. Quarterback Jon Nigro completed eight-of-22 passes for 50 yards and had one interception. Isaac Gittens led all Gator receivers with two catches for 24 yards. On defense, Cody Stolar and Jake Szoszorek both had a game-tying high 10 tackles.
Hiram had 365 yards of total offense, including 293 yards on the ground. Jones led the way for the Terriers with his 196 yards on 33 carries to go along with two TD. Senior quarterbackGeorge Blake (Parma) completed seven-of-13 passes for 72 yards. Senior wideout Brendon James (Brunswick) recorded game-highs of three catches for 36 yards. Defensively, Primer posted a team-best eight tackles (five solo and three assists), including 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Hiram will look to keep the momentum going when it hosts The College of Wooster next Saturday, Sept. 28 at Charles A. Henry Field. The game will be part of Homecoming festivities with kickoff slated for 1 p.m.