MIDDLETOWN, R.I. - Freshman quarterback Bradley Skeffington (Salem, Mass.) accounted for three touchdowns in his first collegiate start to spark the Salve Regina University football team to a 38-7 victory over UMass Dartmouth during a New England Football Conference (NEFC) match up at Gaudet Field on Saturday afternoon. It was the first conference win of the season for the Seahawks who now improve to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the NEFC. The loss evens the Corsairs' season record to 3-3 overall while giving them their first NEFC loss, moving to 2-1 in conference play.
Skeffington led the way for the Seahawks offensively, completing 16-of-23 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a rushing touchdown on a 24-yard scramble. Sophomore Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.) carried the ball 21 times for 96 yards and a touchdown, while senior Patrick Keenan (North Smithfield, R.I.) and junior Trey Scales (Boston, Mass.) each had touchdown receptions while compiling five and four catches, respectively.
Defensively, Salve Regina was paced by senior Anthony DePaolo (Southington, Conn.) who led all players with nine tackles while also adding a fumble recovery and a pass break up. Senior A.J. Albert was also very active on defense, totalling eight tackles (three for a loss), a sack, and a forced fumble. Senior Shane Lange (Branford, Conn.) recorded 1.5 sacks on the day to surpass Trae Minicucci as the program's all-time leader with 19.0 career sacks. Junior Maxwell Shubert (West Chester, Pa.) also made several big plays for the Seahawks, including an interception and a blocked field goal.
Junior Brendan McNeish (Springfield, Mass.) paved the way for the Corsairs on offensive and led all players with 74 receiving yards on five catches. Freshman Mike Janey (Dorchester, Mass.) carried the ball 16 times for a team-high 55 yards on the ground, while junior Darrien Furr (East Taunton, Mass.) compiled a team-best 84 all-purpose yards on returns.
Senior Ross O'Toole (Weymouth, Mass.) and sophomore Joe Teixera (Seekonk, Mass.) each recorded eight tackles for the Corsairs, while senior John Cordasco (Rockaway, N.J.) had seven stops and a 15-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown to account for UMass Dartmouth's lone score.
After both teams failed on their opening drives, the Seahawks moved the ball down to the UMD four yard-line before being forced to attempt a field goal. SRU kicker Brendon Deasy's (Quincy, Mass.) attempt was low and subsequently blocked at the line of scrimmage, but in an amazing turn of events, sophomore Alexander Lord (Shermon, Conn.) recovered the ball and went 11 yards to the end zone for the game's first score, putting the Seahawks on top, 7-0.
With the Corsairs driving on their next possession, linebacker A.J. Albert shot through the line and recorded a strip-sack with the fumble eventually being recovered by Lange at the UMD 34 yard-line.
The Seahawk offense took advantage of the good field position, driving 34 yards on six plays for a touchdown, capped by a 15-yard connection from Skeffington to Scales to extend the Salve Regina lead to 14-0.
After the Salve Regina defense held for a quick three-and-out, and the Corsairs' punt went only 22 yards, the Seahawks were back in business with the ball on their own 44 yard-line.The offense took advantage of their good field position once again, driving 56 yards on seven plays, including a 24-yard touchdown scamper by Skeffington to put SRU ahead, 21-0.
On the ensuing drive, the Corsairs set up for a 35-yard field goal attempt to try and get on the board. However, the attempt was blocked by Schubert and recovered by SRU junior Ryan Mannion (Danbury, Conn.) to give Salve Regina possession at their own 26 yard-line.
Two plays later, faced with a third-and-seven, Skeffington dropped backed to pass and was sacked by UMD's Joseph Martin (Spencer, Mass.) who jarred the ball loose. The fumble was scooped-up by Cordasco and returned 15 yards to the end zone to get the Corsairs right back in the game, 21-7.
After the intermission, the two teams battled through a scoreless, defense-dominated third quarter of play.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Corsairs were driving inside the Salve Regina 25 yard-line when they were faced with a critical fourth-and-sixth situation. Trailing by two touchdowns, UMass Dartmouth elected to go for it. As UMD quarterback Patrick Orlando (Manchester, Mass.) dropped back to pass, he was quickly met by Albert who took him down for an 11-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
Sparked by the big defensive play, Skeffington drove the Seahawk offense right down the field, throwing for 72 yards on a 65-yard touchdown drive, including a 25-yard hook-up with tight end Patrick Keenan for the score. After the successful point after, Salve Regina led by a comfortable 28-7 margin.
The Seahawks added a 16-yard touchdown run by Edwards and a 47-yard field goal from freshman Mark Moore (Hattiesburg, Miss.) in the final minutes to seal the 38-7 victory.
Both teams will return to NEFC action next Saturday at 1 p.m., with the Corsairs hosting Nichols and the Seahawks hitting the road to face Curry.