Kanoff’s ca­reer day pow­ers Prince­ton past San Diego

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Kyle Franko kfranko@tren­to­nian.com @kj_franko on Twit­ter

PRINCE­TON » Any ques­tions about Prince­ton’s of­fense with the reign­ing Bush­nell Cup re­cip­i­ent stand­ing on the side­line in­jured were an­swered em­phat­i­cally by quar­ter­back Chad Kanoff.

The se­nior threw for a ca­reer-best 352 yards and three touch­downs, all to Stephen Carl­son, and the Tigers opened the sea­son with a 27-17 vic­tory over San Diego on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

“I think all the re­ceivers knew it com­ing into camp that this was go­ing to be a year that Chad would re­ally shine,” said Carl­son, who caught six passes for 94 yards. “He was putting in work all sum­mer and then dur­ing camp just re­ally be­ing a leader and com­mand­ing the of­fense. It’s on an­other level than he was be­fore.”

A rare fifth-year se­nior in the Ivy League, Kanoff jumped from fifth to third on the program’s all-time pass­ing chart, mov­ing ahead of Jef­frey Ter­rell and Dal­las Cow­boys head coach Ja­son Gar­rett. He upped his ca­reer to­tal to 4,338 yards and trails only Matthew Ver­bit (5,202) and Dou­glas But­ler (7,291).

“You trust your eyes,” head coach Bob Su­race said. “Ev­ery year he has made a big jump in his devel­op­ment. To do this as a fifth-year se­nior, it’s like his con­fi­dence … he’s got the whole of­fense down. When some­body is a lit­tle mis­aligned, he gets them right, and he’s putting the ball in these tight zones to big re­ceivers.”

Kanoff only tossed six touch­downs all of last sea­son, but that num­ber is de­ceiv­ing be­cause he rarely han­dled the ball in the red zone. John Lovett, who watched from the side­line with his left arm in a sling and is out in­def­i­nitely fol­low­ing off­sea­son surgery, racked up 31 TDs (20 rush­ing, 1 re­ceiv­ing, 10 pass­ing).

Kanoff, though, showed the ball is safe in his hands, es­pe­cially when he sealed the vic­tory with a 12-play, 66-yard touch­down drive that chewed up 5:28.

The Tigers con­verted three 3rd-and-longs on the drive as Kanoff hit his fa­vorite tar­get Jes­per Horstead (12 for 108), who made an in­cred­i­ble catch be­tween two de­fend­ers on a 3rdand-7, and later drove the ball into Carl­son on con­sec­u­tive 3rdand-16 plays.

“Some of those catches were ridicu­lous,” said Kanoff, who com­pleted 32 of his 43 at­tempts and posted a 166.2 QB rat­ing. “We had re­ally good pro­tec­tions the whole way through. I think the one I threw to Jes­per, I threw with my eyes closed and he caught it. I don’t know if that was my best de­ci­sion, but he made me right.”

Kanoff capped the drive uti­liz­ing a nifty ball fake and three­yard scor­ing toss to Carl­son with 1:36 re­main­ing. Carl­son be­came the first Tiger with three re­ceiv­ing touch­downs in a game since Michael Lerch caught four on Oct. 12, 1991 against Brown.

“To­day I was part of the an­swer,” Kanoff said. “If you play quar­ter­back, you want the ball in your hands on ev­ery play.”

Prince­ton (1-0) turned a pair of turnovers into a 14-0 lead as Kanoff con­nected with Carl­son on scor­ing passes of nine and 14 yards.

“I was en­vi­sion­ing a cou­ple plays,” Carl­son said. “Chad re­ally put the ball on the money to­day and threw me open.”

The Toreros (1-2) chewed up yards in the first half, out-gain­ing the Tigers, 235-161, and cut the deficit to 14-10 at the half.

An­thony Lawrence, who quar­ter­backed San Diego to a 10-2 record and Pioneer League ti­tle a year ago, com­peted 27of-42 passes for 293 yards, one touch­down and one in­ter­cep­tion.

Tav­ish Rice kicked a pair of third-quar­ter field goals to give Prince­ton a 20-10 lead, but Su­race left the door open for the visi­tors when he elected to go for it on 4th down from the San Diego five in­stead of tak­ing the sure three points.

The Toreros stuffed the play and Lawrence led them on a 9-play, 95-yard drive that cul­mi­nated in a touch­down when they reached into their bag of tricks.

Lawrence tossed a back­ward pass to Chris­tian Brook, who then hit a wide-open Justin Priest (11 for 142) for a 23-yard TD when the Tigers de­fense fell asleep.

“Go­ing up 13 doesn’t give you enough value,” Su­race ex­plained. “If they got the score, they’re go­ing to go for it on 4th down be­cause they’re not go­ing to kick a field goal. So go­ing by 10, you end up tied in­stead of down one.”

In the end, it didn’t matter. “I don’t want to get into the habit of play­ing a game that doesn’t matter,” Su­race said. “We wanted to get a test right away. This was go­ing to give us an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to get ready for the rest of the year.”

GREGG SLABODA — TREN­TO­NIAN FILE PHOTO

Prince­ton QB Chad Kanoff passed for a ca­reer-best 352 yards and three touch­downs in the win over San Diego.

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