Three Ups, Three Downs from Pace Football’s Loss to Assumption

Pace Footballs loss to Assumption College this past Friday saw a mix of unexpected highlights and lowlights.

Pace University Athletics.

Pace Football’s loss to Assumption College this past Friday saw a mix of unexpected highlights and lowlights.

Kwadar Ray , Managing Editor

Pace Football fell to Assumption College 49-21 this past Friday night at Pace Stadium. However, the score does not indicate the type of contested game it was. The Setters remained in the game throughout its entirety, and had Assumption on its reels at multiples points.

Despite the positives that came out, it was an overall up-and-down game for the Setters mixed with highlights and lowlights.

Up: QB Carlton Aiken – Starting with the obvious here. In his first start as a Setter, the junior transfer not only made a great impression, he had one of the better Pace quarterback performances in recent memory. His 163 passing yards was accompanied by 159 yards on the ground, including an awe-inspiring 22-yard run in the third quarter that electrified those in attendance. If the plan is to stick with Aiken for the foreseeable future, his ability as a dual threat is sure to give upcoming defenses fits, as Assumption had no answer for the quarterback throughout most of the game.

Pace University Athletics.
Carlton Aiken mixed nice passes with multiple elusive runs in a 487-yard night for the Setters.

Up: The run game – The Setters stayed true to their rushing attack throughout the game, regardless of the deficit. The decision paid off, as the team ran for 324 yards. Running back Jhalen Bien-Aime registered 114 yards on 11 carries, including a 71-yard run up the right sideline in the third quarter when it looked like the Setters were done for. Though Bien-Aime regularly posts stellar rushing stats, Aiken’s threat to keep the football himself helped Bien-Aime and the other backs find the hole easier, as certain Assumption defensive players had to keep an eye on the dangerous Aiken.

Aiken’s runs, designed or otherwise, greatly helped the Setters’ run game.

Up: Tenacity- Last Friday night at Pace Stadium felt different. Though the Setters trailed the entire second half, it seemed as though the team was never truly out of it. The opening touchdown drive alone gave a feel that the Setters can hang with NE-10 powerhouses like Assumption. Not only was there a good start, but each time this team looked dead, they made a big play that kept the 1109 in attendance on their feet.

Down: Special Teams – While the offense flashed on multiple occasions, the special teams unit could not do the same. The Setters missed two short field goals that would have successfully culminated two exciting drives that halted in the redzone. Along with the field goal woes, the Setters also allowed a 62-yard kickoff return to return man Deonte Harris.

Down: Penalties – Despite the fact it was Pace Goes Pink Night, yellow was the color of the evening at Pace Stadium. The Setters were called for 15 penalties in the game, including two huge penalties that negated two successful onside kick recoveries. Although one of the calls–kick catch interference–was questionable to say the least, the team cannot play mistake-ridden football against a team like Assumption and expect to win.

Down: Finishing drives – The reason last Friday night’s game did not feel like a blowout is due to the multiple opportunities the Setters had to put points up on the board. The inability to score in Assumption’s territory began early in the second quarter after the offense could not convert on 4th and 1 at the Assumption 31-yard line. The woes continued with two missed field goals after getting inside Assumption’s 15 and a a fourth quarter interception in the redzone. While entering the redzone is thrilling for fans to watch, if the team cannot cash in on its opportunities, that is what leads to lopsided scores like 49-21.

The Setters will return to their usual weekend afternoon action when they take on 1-3 Stonehill College at Pace Stadium Saturday at 12 p.m. In last year’s matchup, Stonehill defeated Pace 56-30.