Undefeated Canisius shook off a sloppy first half and rolled to a 25-7 victory over oft-beaten Siena Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore tailback Nick Adinolfi, who has been hampered by knee problems, led all rushers by tying his career high of 196 yards on 31 carries. The West Seneca West graduate also ran for a touchdown and had another score called back by a penalty.
"We were a little ugly today in spots," admitted coach Chuck Williams after the Golden Griffins ran their record to 4-0 overall, 3-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, before 558 at the Demske Sports Complex.
Most of the ugliness came in the first half when penalties, misplays and bad luck -- including two botched field-goal attempts and a punt-return touchdown recalled by penalty -- sent the Griffins into the dressing room in a scoreless tie against a conference rival that was en route to losing its 16th straight.
But Canisius came on strong in the third quarter and opened up a 12-0 lead on a 3-yard rushing TD by backup tailback Hayward Rodgers (South Park) and a 50-yard interception return by cornerback Shane Hurd.
The first score was set up by Adinolfi's 52-yard zig-zag run on a pitch from quarterback Paul Marvar.
"It was just a toss right. I just followed my blockers out and they made some good blocks," said Adinolfi, who is recovering from tendinitis in both knees. "I saw the cut-back lane and I cut back and got a few more good blocks by the receivers and I just tried to run to open field.
"It's easy to run like that when you've got a line blocking great . . . and the whole unit is coming together," Adinolfi said. "You don't have to score many points with our defense holding everyone's offense in check."
Star tailback Reggie Greene scored for Siena early in the fourth quarter. It was just the second TD given up by the Griffins this season.
Greene, who entered the game as the No. 2 rusher in Division I-AA, carried 38 times for 160 yards, about 23 yards over his average.
But he was the only mystery the Saints (0-4, 0-4) posed to the Griffin defense, which held Siena to 204 net yards.
Canisius, which didn't allow Siena across midfield for the first 32 minutes, sacked quarterback Mike Byron three times and intercepted three passes. Byron replaced injured starter Steve Dearstyne in the first quarter.
Hurd said his interception at midfield came as a result of reading the play as it formed.
"We knew that play was coming, they like to run that play," Hurd said.
Rakoski's fourth-quarter interception, when the score was 12-7, killed Siena's penetration to the 31 and started a drive which ended with Adinolfi's 5-yard scoring run.
A few plays before the TD, Adinolfi's 30-yard run to the end zone was recalled by an illegal block penalty.