ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Daniel Bronson’s biggest play on a record-setting day as the quarterback at the University of Rochester happened away from the football field.
The 21-year-old junior from Lockport in Niagara County was leaving a restaurant in his hometown on Nov. 5 when he saw a man run past a 73-year-old woman and yank her purse out of her arms as she walked with her husband.
Bronson took off after the man, who dropped the purse but kept on running. Bronson kept running, too, and tackled the man and held him down with the help of his girlfriend’s father and brother. Police arrived and arrested the man on a robbery charge.
Bronson’s off-field heroics came just hours after he piled up nearly 400 yards in total offense and ran 60 yards for a touchdown in a 37-34 home loss to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His 192 yards rushing was the most ever by a quarterback at the Division III school. He also completed 21 of 32 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, despite suffering what was later diagnosed as a separated right shoulder in the third quarter.
But, it’s what happened after the game that has the microbiology major in the spotlight.
After having dinner with his girlfriend and her family at a Lockport restaurant, the group was walking to the parking lot when Bronson saw the man steal the purse of the elderly woman who had just left the eatery with her husband.
“She screamed, ‘Help! Help!’” Bronson said.
The 6-foot, 190-pound quarterback took off in pursuit.
“I chased him a little over 100 yards and jumped on his back,” Bronson said on Friday. “I rode him to the pavement because I didn’t want to hit the concrete.”
His girlfriend’s father, Patrick Ellinger, and her brother, also named Patrick, soon caught up and helped subdue the man.
On Friday, troopers presented Bronson and the Ellingers with Citizen Recognition Awards during a ceremony in Lockport. Afterward, Bronson said the night of Nov. 5 was the first time he had eaten at that Lockport restaurant.
“I guess someone put me in the right place at the right time to help someone out,” he said.