ONEIDA — The Finger Lakes Impact overcame some season-opening jitters Saturday thanks to a smothering effort on defense.
The Impact began its 2014 season with a 12-0 shutout victory on the road over the Utica YardDawgs.
The Impact compiled 181 yards on the ground, including a one-yard touchdown plunge by Newt Jones with 5:49 left in the fourth quarter that gave Finger Lakes a 6-0 lead.
Jordan Smith powered the rushing attack with 91 yards on 12 carries.
“Our offense had a hard time coming together,” Impact first-year head coach Larry Guererri said. “We were plagued by turnovers and penalties. We moved the ball, but gave it back on turnovers and penalties. We need to take better care of the ball and not be so careless.”
The Impact defense overwhelmed Utica, limiting the YardDawgs to minus-32 yards rushing on 25 carries and three completions for 47 yards.
Justin Wright intercepted a pair of passes for Finger Lakes, which accumulated eight pass defenses, seven sacks and a fumble recovery.
Wright took an interception back 27 yards for a touchdown with 1:42 to go to complete the scoring. Mike Valvano supplied six tackles and three sacks.