Alessi runs wild to lead Benedictine over Maranatha, 32-6
October 19, 2009
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
The Benedictine University football team rode a 200-yard rushing effort by freshman tailback John Alessi to a 32-6 Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) win over Maranatha Baptist Bible College on Saturday afternoon.
The win improved the Eagles to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the NAC, while the Crusaders fell to 0-6 and 0-3 in league.
Alessi carried the ball a workhorse-like 30 times for 201 yards (the first 200 yard game of his young career), while also scoring three touchdowns on runs of 31, 3 and 61 yards. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry, exiting the game early in the fourth period with matters well in hand for his team.
The stubborn Maranatha team gave the Eagles all it wanted in the first half of play, with the hosts trailing by just a 7-0 margin after Benedictine quarterback Dave Klinger dove in from one yard out, capping a 17-play, 76-yard marathon drive at the 9:05 minute mark of the second quarter.
Ryan Walsh added the extra point to make it the 7-0 intermission score.
The second half was a wake-up call for Benedictine as the visitors began to showcase their rushing attack, especially Alessi, who had 114 of his yards in the second half.
Benedictine’s defense forced a MBBC punt on the opening series of the third period and – after gaining the ball at the Crusaders’ 44-yard line – the Eagles needed just two Alessi runs to up their advantage on the scoreboard. The first carry was a 13-yard jaunt, followed by the 31-yard TD run off right end that, with the PAT kick, made it 14-0.
The harassing BU defense kept the pressure on Maranatha quarterback Andrew Green. On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Green (who was sacked four times by the Eagles in the game) hurried a pass to avoid a BU blitz and senior linebacker Ryan Koziczynski intercepted the ball on MBBC 40 and returned it to the 25 before being pushed out of bounds.
The Crusaders looked to have received a reprieve of sorts when their defense – led by Ethan Rosen (11 tackles) - kept Benedictine at bay in four- down territory and gave the football back to the Maranatha offense.
MBBC moved the ball into Eagles’ country before a sack by Eddie Hill helped bring up a fourth-and-long, forcing a Crusader punt. The BU defense flocked toward punter Rob Dupre and Hill’s outstretched arms blocked the punt attempt. The ball was caught by teammate Dan Kleppin at the Maranatha 37- yard line, and the 5-foot-10, 220-pound junior linebacker rumbled to the goal line to make it 20-0 after the failed extra point at the 7:16 mark of the third stanza.
Hill had four tackles and 1 ½ sacks on the day to go along with his blocked kick.
Benedictine moved out to a 32-0 lead on its next two possessions thanks to the Alessi runs of 3 and 61 yards. Alessi’s third TD jaunt occurred at the 14:26 mark of the fourth period and spelled the end of a great day for the Eagles’ first-year tailback.
Maranatha broke its scoring drought with 9:05 left in the game as Green was money on a 53-yard, pass-and-run to Dupre, who beat the Eagle reserves in the secondary to make it the 32-6 final score.
Benedictine held a 320-to-126 yard advantage in total offense, 236 of which came via the run. BU reserve signal-caller Matt Brown came off the bench to complete 4-of-7 passes for 54 yards, while Klinger was 2-for-5 for 30 yards.
Mike Crawford led the MBBC rushing game with 51 yards on 20 attempts. Green was 6-of-17 for 73 yards through the air in the loss.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, email@example.com or visit ben.edu.