CASTINE, Maine – Justin Fuller (Berkley, Mass.) rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns to lead Bridgewater State University to a 27-0 win over Maine Maritime Academy in New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division action on Saturday.
The Bears (6-2, 4-2 Bogan) defense limited the Mariners (4-4, 2-4 Bogan) to 184 yards of offense in posting the first shutout of Maine Maritime since Coast Guard pulled the feat in a 3-0 win five years and one day ago.
The shutout was the Bears' school record-tying third this season and first over MMA since a 12-0 blanking in 1986. Bridgewater tied the school mark set in 1985 and equaled in 1988. The victory was Bridgewater's fourth in as many games.
Fuller reached the 2,000-career rushing yard plateau in the win and scored his 30th career touchdown. He now has 2,136 yards in his career.
Fuller got the Bears on the board late in the first quarter, breaking through on Bridgewater State's second possession for a 30-yard touchdown run. His first score finished off a drive that accounted for 87 of the Bears' 410 yards of offense on the afternoon.
Bridgewater State threatened late in the first half having gotten to first and goal on the three yardline with three seconds left in the second quarter. The Bears managed to get two plays off, but could not punch in. The teams went to the half with Bridgewater State holding a 7-0 lead, but the Mariners gave the Bears a gift early in the second half.
A fumbled exchange gave Bridgewater State the ball on Maine Maritime 30, while a personal foul on the play moved it up to the Mariners 15. Maine Maritime fumbled the ball seven times, losing it twice on Saturday. Fuller broke off 14 yards before being bumped out on the left sideline, and then finished the short drive with a one-yard plunge. A botched snap and hold led to a failed two-point attempt leaving the score at 3-0.
The Mariners were still in the game in the fourth quarter when they pieced together their second deepest foray into Bears' territory. A mishandled exchange left the ball on the Bears' 38-yardline where it was recovered by Bridgewater State. Maine Maritime had gotten as far as the Bridgewater State 27 on its second possession of the game, which ended with a Vincent Henry (Middleboro, Mass.) interception.
The teams traded punts before Bridgewater State's defense forced a turnover on downs at the MMA 41 with 4:53 remaining. Fuller broke through the right side of the Mariners defense and raced into the endzone 1:33 later, making it 20-7. On the next possession, Dillon Huber-Parker (Longmont, Colo.) intercepted a pass and went 32 yards into the end zone to make it the 27-0 final.
Maine Maritime Academy posted more passing yards than rushing yards in the game, gaining 98 yards through the air and 86 on the ground. Ben Violette (Waterville, Maine) completed 7-of-19 attempts for 98 yards.
In addition to his interception, Henry broke up a pass. Ryan Connolly (Norfolk, Mass.) broke up a pair of passes for Bridgewater State. Eddie Jewel (Amherst, Mass.) and Alex Monteiro (Portsmouth, R.I.) led all Bears tacklers with seven stops apiece. Jewel had five solo stops, while Monteiro recorded four.
Maine Maritime's linebacking corps did solid work with three players finishing in double-digits in tackles. Joel Chadbourne (Westbrook, Maine) posted a dozen stops including seven solo tackles. Brock Lawrence (Benton, Maine) had 11 tackles with four solo stops to his credit. Frank True's (Harpswell, Maine) 10 tackles included six solos and a sack.
Bridgewater shuffled between two quarterbacks, Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) and Caleb Gelsomino (North Scituate, R.I.). McCarthy completed 6-of-10 passes for 72 yard, while rushing for 84 yards on 14 carries. Gelsomino went 4-of-7 for 72 yards. He threw an interception to Matthew Rende (Augusta, Maine), the Mariners' quarterback turned defensive back because of injury. Rende recorded six tackles.
The Bears return to action next week against Massachusetts Maritime Academy, while the Mariners will close out the regular season against the Coast Guard Academy at Ritchie Field.