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Football Picks up First-Ever NE10 Win, 7-3, at AIC

Christian Keeling

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 24, 2022) -- For the first time in program history, the Franklin Pierce University football team has a Northeast-10 Conference victory. In its 18th game in the league, the Ravens used a third-quarter touchdown rush by senior Christian Keeling (Taunton, Mass.) to pull out a 7-3 victory on the road over American International at Abdow Field.

With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 1-3 (1-1 NE10), while AIC falls to 0-4 (0-2 NE10). Full stats were unavailable at press time, due to technical difficulties at AIC. This story will be updated with further details when a full box score is available.

After the first half went scoreless, the Ravens got the only points they would need on a quick, five-play, 64-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. The biggest blow of the drive came on first-and-10 at the AIC 36, as senior Bryce Macina (Syracuse, N.Y.) found freshman Austyn Howe (Newington, Conn.) on the right side to set up first-and-goal at the 5-yard line. After a four-yard rush up the middle by Macina, Keeling took a handoff and swept out to the left for a one-yard touchdown carry, the first score of his career.

The point-after attempt was a bit of an adventure in and of itself. First, the Ravens took a delay of game after some sloppy substitution work. Then, AIC blocked the attempt, but only via hurdling the center, which resulted in a personal foul penalty. When the teams lined up for the third time, sophomore Nolan Startzell (Scituate, Mass.) finally banged the ball through the uprights to push the lead to 7-0.

AIC's only points would be via an 11-play, 55-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter, though the Ravens did most of the work on the Yellow Jackets' behalf. AIC gained just 18 of the yards via its own offense, which featured four plays of zero or negative yardage on the drive. Franklin Pierce took two facemask penalties totaling 30 yards, and also a costly two-yard pass interference penalty on a fourth-and-three play to prolong the drive, effectively gifting AIC three points. Sophomore kicker Josh Hamel was good from 36 yards to cap the 5:26 drive.

The Ravens are back home next Saturday, Oct. 1, when they host Bentley on Family Day and Homecoming Weekend, for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Sodexo Field.