DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- The visiting Bridgewater State University football team edged UMass Dartmouth, 24-22, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Friday night at Cressy Field.
The Bears improve to 2-5 on the season and 2-3 in the MASCAC, while the host Corsairs fall to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Bridgewater is 18-12 all-time versus UMass.
Offensively for the Bears, junior wide receiver Jack Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) caught seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown while sophomore Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) came on in relief at running back and rushed for his first two career touchdowns.
Senior cornerback Jonathan Marrero (Boston, Mass.) paced the BSU defensive effort as he had a hand in all three UMD turnovers. Marroro recorded a pair of interceptions and forced (and recovered) a fumble.
Sophomore quarterback Jace Pena (East Providence, R.I.) hooked up with junior wideout Abbi Bamgbose (Worcester, Mass.) on a 77-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the first quarter.
The Bears knotted the score at 7-7 following a 14-yard scoring strike from sophomore quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) to Lavanchy with 8:39 remaining in the second quarter. The touchdown capped off a six-play, 80-yard drive which was set up by Marrero's end zone interception.
Another Marrero interception later in the quarter led to a 26-yard field goal by BSU senior kicker Russell Bolarinho (Acushnet, Mass.) with 1:06 left until halftime. The Bears would take a 10-7 lead into the break.
After forcing a punt on the opening possession of the third quarter, the Bears moved the ball 52 yards on 14 plays capped off by a Santavicca two-yard TD run. Bolarinho's second of three successful PATs extended the BSU lead to 17-7.
A 33-yard field goal by freshman kicker James Tooker (Harwich, Mass.) early in the fourth quarter cut the UMD deficit to 17-10. The Corsairs then capitalized on junior cornerback Tony Slaughter's (Springfield, Mass.) interception deep in Bridgewater territory as four plays later Pena found freshman receiver Leroy Brown (Milton, Mass.) in the end zone from five yards out to make it a one-point game, 17-16. The extra point attempt, however, was blocked by BSU defensive tackle Chris Gemayel (Dedham, Mass.).
The Bears answered with a ten-play, 69-yard drive resulting in a Santavicca two-yard touchdown run. Lavanchy caught two passes on the drive including one for 27 yards that moved the ball down to the UMD five. Three plays later, Santavicca punched it in and Bolarinho conveted the PAT to make it a 24-16 game.
Following an exchange of punts, Bamgbose scored from eight yards out to pull the Corsairs to within two at 24-22 with just 1:42 left to play. The touchdown was set up by a 43-yard pass from Pena to junior wideout Jeremy Jackson (Middletown, R.I.). UMD, however, was unable to convert the two-point try.
Bridgewater recovered the ensuing onside kick and then ran out the clock to come away with the victory.
D'Emilia connected on 11 of 30 pass attempts for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Senior running back Alex McLaughlin (Littleton, Mass.) rushed for 67 yards on 14 carries before an injury sideline him for the game late in the second quarter. Classmate Malik Garrett (Dorchester, Mass.) added 66 yards on the ground on 12 attempts, but was also injured on the Bears' opening drive of the third quarter and did not return.
Senior linebacker Charles McCarthy (North Reading, Mass.) paced the BSU defense with nine tackles (seven solo). Marrero also checked in with a pair of solo tackles and a pass breakup in addition to his three forced turnovers.
The Corsairs racked up 388 yards of total offense. Senior running back Michael Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) rushed for a season-high 138 yards, while Bamgbose hauled in five passes for 124 yards and two scores. Pena completed 15 of 29 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw a pair of interceptions.
Senior linebacker Marvey Mathurin (Woburn, Mass.) recorded a career-high 15 tackles including 13 solo stops. The UMD defense held Bridgewater State to 151 passing yards, but gave up 193 yards on the ground.
The Corsairs will travel to Worcester State next Saturday as MASCAC play continues, with kickoff slated for 2 p.m. Bridgewater State will host Western Connecticut for Homecoming on the same day, starting at 4 p.m.