BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Maine Maritime Academy rushed for 456 yards as the Mariners downed host Bridgewater State University, 35-13, in New England Football Conference Bogan Division action this afternoon at Swenson Field in Bridgewater.
With the win, the Mariners improve to 7-1 on the season and 5-1 in the Bogan Division. A win next week at Coast Guard and Maine will clinch a share of the division title. Bridgewater falls to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the Bogan.
Maine had three one hundred-yard ball carriers on the day, led by senior fullback Jim Bower (South Paris, Maine) who rushed for a game-high 163 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Junior quarterback Matt Rende (Augusta, Maine) added 121 yards on the ground and a score and also threw for a 31-yard touchdown.
Junior running back Nick Bourassa (Jay, Maine) also finished with 109 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, including a 67-yard scamper which tied the game at 7-7 with 10:10 remaining in the first quarter.
Bridgewater had taken the early 7-0 lead as the Bears took advantage of a bad Maine punt on their opening possession. Starting at the Mariner 41, Bridgewater capitalized on the good field position as freshman quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) connected with freshman running back Chris Constantine (Hingham, Mass.) on a five-yard touchdown pass.
Bourassa quickly tied the score less than two minutes later on Maine's ensuing possession and then Bower put the Mariners up for good on an 84-yard TD run early in the second quarter. Maine closed out the first half scoring with a 32-yard Rende rushing touchdown.
Rende connected with junior wide receiver Nate Douford (Claremont, N.H.) on the 31-yard scoring strike on a fourth and one play with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter to give the Mariners the 28-7 advantage. Bourassa notched his second touchdown of the day on an eight-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
BSU senior backup quarterback Josh Euglow (North Smithfield, R.I.) completed the scoring as he hooked up with junior running back Josh Paulson (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) on a 26-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
Offensively for Bridgewater, McCarthy completed 14 of 28 pass attempts for 142 yards and a score, but was also intercepted twice and sacked three times. Maine picked off three passes in all.
The Bears rushed for 133 yards in the game, but never were able to get the ground attack untracked. Constantine rushed for 34 yards on just four carries, while sophomore running back Ben Desmarais (South Hadley, Mass.) finished with 41 yards on 15 attempts.
Senior linebacker Wade Mondoux (Berwick, Maine) paced the Mariners defensively with eight solo tackles. Freshman nose tackle Matt Pellerin (Leeds, Maine) added five solo stops including a pair of sacks and a pass breakup.
Sophomore defensive back Brian Smith (Lowell, Mass.) led Bridgewater State with six solo tackles, including one for loss, and an interception. Junior linebacker Chris Chamberlin (South Easton, Mass.) and sophomore linebacker Justin Cruz (Dartmouth, Mass.) recorded eight tackles apiece, while sophomore defensive tackle Paul Melicharek (Glen Rock, N.J.) added seven solo stops, including a sack.
Prior to the game, a moment of silence was held in memory of Maine Maritime intern assistant coach Richard Dykas II who was tragically killed in a car accident on October 24th.
Before the game Bridgewater also honored seniors Andrew Carr (Winchester, Mass.), Gilbert Cham (Dorchester, Mass.), Garrett Dyer (Easthampton, Mass.), Euglow, Kevin Fallon (Salisbury Mills, N.Y.), John Farroba (North Attleboro, Mass.), Chris Grande (New Bedford, Mass.), and Brendon Poulin (Plymouth, Mass.).
The Bears will travel to Mass. Maritime Academy next Saturday (Nov. 6) at noon for the Cranberry Bowl.