BANGOR, Maine — Alfred University senior middle linebacker Corry Wallace and junior defensive tackle Andy Miller combined on two crucial plays in the second half that set up the go-ahead and insurance touchdowns as Alfred University remained unbeaten against Husson University by virtue of a wild season-opening 39-25 victory at the Winkin Complex Saturday.

The New York-based Saxons, now 4-0 against Husson, limited Husson star sophomore running back John Smith to 81 yards on 24 carries (3.4 yards per carry) and held the Eagles to only 95 net rushing yards.

Smith ran for a school-record 1,408 yards a year ago and averaged 140.8 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry. He was the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference’s Rookie of the Year.

The Eagles averaged 225.2 rushing yards per game.

“If you can’t run the ball, you can’t win,” said Husson coach Gabby Price. “They were tougher at the line of scrimmage than we were. We also missed some holes.”

“The holes were there. We just have to run hard and hit them,” said Smith.

“We saw what (Smith) did last year and we wanted to shut him down,” said Miller. “It’s good to see that you can shut down a good running back like that.”

“The defense saved us today, honestly. They got some turnovers and some (key) stops on third and fourth down,” said Alfred junior quarterback Tyler Johnson, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for two TDs.

The first key play involving Wallace and Miller occurred late in the third quarter with Husson leading 25-24.

On third-and-one at the Husson-17, Wallace broke through the line and jolted Smith in the backfield, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Miller.

“Their guard pulled and I saw the hole so I shot it,” said Wallace.

On the ensuing play, sophomore flanker Maleke Fuentes lined up at quarterback in the shotgun position, took the snap and busted around the right end for seven yards to give Alfred the lead for good.

“Their defensive line crashed inside and I knew our outside receiver, Brendan Buisch, sealed it off at the corner so I bounced outside,” said Fuentes.

Johnson tossed a two-point conversion pass to Ralph Pagliei to make it 32-25.

The Eagles were assessed three costly penalties in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally.

With Husson facing third and two at the Alfred 34, a false start penalty made it third-and-seven and quarterback Joe Seccareccia’s pass fell incomplete. Husson then punted.

Later in the quarter, Seccareccia’s six-yard run which would have set up a third-and-two from the H-49 was nullified by a holding penalty and, on the following play, the scrambling Seccareccia was stripped of the ball by Miller into the hands of Wallace and he carried it 15 yards down to the H-15.

“We had been working on stripping the ball throughout the preseason. I saw the ball, swiped at it and it worked,” said Miller.

“I saw him and tried to bow out around him. Unfortunately, things happen,” said Seccareccia.

Johnson cashed it in with a two-yard TD run with 7:55 remaining after he had set it up with a 13-yard jaunt.

“Their turnovers came at big times in the game,” said Husson standout junior linebacker Ellis Throckmorton, who had a game-high 13 tackles.

Husson, aided by two pass interference calls, marched to the A-16 but an illegal substitution penalty turned a fourth-and-six into a fourth-and-11 and Seccareccia’s pass to Joe Farrell was broken up by Jared Watkins.

Husson jumped out to a 12-0 lead on a safety off a poor snap on a punt; Seth Freudenberger’s 23-yard field goal and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Seccareccia to Robenson Saintard on fourth-and-11.

But Alfred responded with 21 unanswered points.

Johnson capped an eight-play 65-yard drive with a two-yard pass to Fuentes; Johnson finished off a nine-play 65-yard march with a two-yard run and he then fired a 26-yard strike to Fuentes with 2:58 left in the half.

Husson closed to with 21-18 after Kenny Sweet forced a Johnson fumble and Jeff Turcotte recovered it at the A-35.

Deon Wiggins went up and made the first of his two acrobatic TD receptions in traffic in the corner, a 35-yarder, with 38 seconds left in the half.

Early in the third quarter, Alfred extended the lead to 24-18 on Trevor Monk’s 21-yard field goal but Wiggins made another terrific TD catch on a fade route in the corner, a 31-yarder this time, to supply Husson its final lead.

“That number 17 (Wiggins) is a phenomenal receiver,” said Alfred coach Robert Rankl.

Fuentes ran for 55 yards on 10 carries and Johnson had 44 more yards on 13 carries for Alfred. Pagliei and Fuentes each had four catches for 54 and 53 yards, respectively.

Free safety Michael Berardi was in on a team-high 12 tackles for Alfred. Outside linebacker Holden Whitehead had nine.

Seccareccia completed 20 of 38 passes for 258 yards and three TDs. He was intercepted twice. Saintard had seven catches for 33 yards, Wiggins caught four balls for 134 and Greg Moore had four for 65 yards.

Complementing Throckmorton and his 13 tackles for Husson were free safety Sweet, who had 10 tackles.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said Seccareccia. “We’ve got to start tweaking the little things because that will make a big difference. We developed our passing game today but we’ve got to get our running game going.

“You’ve got to give Alfred credit. They’re a phenomenal football team. They came to play and got the best of us,” he added.

“They’re the best team we’re going to play,” said Price. “They were better than us today. They outcoached us and outplayed us. But our guys played their hearts out.”

Husson visits Alfred’s neighbor, Alfred State, next Saturday at 1 p.m.