Framingham, Mass. – Sophomore runningback Melikke Van Alstyne (Salem, Mass.) carried 39 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns as the Framingham State University football team clinched its first ever New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division with a 14-7 win over Coast Guard on a bitter cold, windy and rainy day at Maple Street Field.
With the win, Framingham improves to 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the Bogan Division, while Coast Guard dropped its fifth game this season by seven points or less as they are now 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the division.
With his 180 yards in the game, Van Alstyne established a new FSU single season rushing mark as he now has 1,399 yards on the season which surpasses the previous single season best of 1,373 which was set a season ago by Dave Leach.
The Rams scored on the opening drive of the game as Van Alstyne capped a nine-play, 56 yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Framingham State missed the extra point and led 6-0 with 10:28 left in the first quarter.
Coast Guard took the lead late in the second quarter when backup quarterback junior Jon Resch threw a 30-yard touchdown to senior Stephen Spotts. Senior Jacob Shackleford added the extra point giving the Bears the 7-6 lead.
In difficult conditions, both team has 119 yards of total offense in the first with Coast Guard accumulating 72 yards passing and 47 yards rushing. The Rams picked up the bulk of their yards in the first half on the ground (89) and only 30 yards through the air.
The Rams took their first possession of the second half and drove 54 yards in six plays to regain the lead for good. The Rams ran a reverse on their first play of the second half and sophomore Tyrone Figeroa (Revere, Mass.) picked up 18 yards. Van Alstyne carried the ball the remainder of the drive eventually scoring his second touchdown of the game, this one from 15-yards out, on a 4th and one. The Rams went for two and Van Alstyne barreled into the end zone giving the Rams a 14-7 lead with 10:29 remaining in the third.
After a short kickoff, Coast Guard answered with a six play 33 yard drive that set Shackleford up for a 32-yard field goal. Shackleford missed wide right keeping the Rams lead at seven.
Junior corner Tyrone Notice (Gardner, Mass.) had interceptions on two of the Bears next four drives, but the Rams were unable to sustain a drive giving Coast Guard one last chance to tie the game.
The Bears took over possession with 3:08 remaining in the game. Facing a 4th and one on their own 23 yard line senior Jarrod Owens rushed for seven yards giving the Bears a new set of downs. On the very next play Owens completed a 36-yard pass to Spotts down the middle giving the Bears a first down on the Rams 34 yard line with 1:33 remaining.
Freshman Rob Staub (Dracut, Mass.) sacked Owens for a six yard loss on first down and a pair of incompletions put the Bears in a 4th and long with 1:01 on the clock. The Rams were called for pass interference on the play giving the Bears a new set of downs. Framingham's defense came up with the big plays once again in the final minute as freshman Olajuwon Dickerson (Milton, Mass.) deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and Notice tackled Jacob Wawrzyniak short of the first down marker on fourth down to secure the victory.
The Rams finished the game with 214 yards of total offense, while the Bears finished with 210. The Rams rushed for 163 yards and threw for just 51, while the Bears had more success in the air throwing for 123 yards and rushing for just 87.
Sophomore Patrick McGrath (Everett, Mass.) finished the game with a team-high 11 tackles including 1.5 for a loss, while junior James Muirhead (Lakeville, Mass.) picked up four tackles including a one for a loss as he tied the FSU career record for tackles for a loss. Notice finished the game with five tackles, three interceptions and a pair of pass breakups.
The Bears defense was led by David Britten and John Manganiello who each had 11 tackles, while Nick Peters picked up 10.
The Rams return to action next Saturday when they travel to Worcester State at noon, while Bears travel to Maine Maritime next Saturday for a noon kickoff.