Mustangs Come From Behind, Hold Off UMass Dartmouth in Football Opener

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DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Mount Ida erased a 12-0 deficit and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to defeat UMass Dartmouth 21-20 in non-conference football action and the first game for each time on Friday night at Cressy Field.

Junior quarterback Jawad Yatim (Shrewsbury, Mass.) threw for 135 yards and also rushed for 47 yards, including both of the second-half touchdowns for the Mustangs.

Junior defensive back Jovan Wilkins (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) was the standout of a very strong effort by the Mount Ida defensive unit. Wilkins intercepted two passes, forced a fumble, and led the squad with seven tackles, including 1.5 for a loss of yardage.  

Sophomore linebacker Zach Samiljan (Sparta, N.J.) ensured that Mount Ida stayed ahead with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter when he blocked a UMass Dartmouth PAT after the Corsairs had found the end zone to cut the lead to one. It was the third missed extra point by the home team and would become the victory-clinching play for the Mustangs.

Trailing 12-0 halfway through the second quarter, Mount Ida got on the board with 6:43 left in the first half when Yatim ran a keeper on second and four at the UMD 13, was hit, and fumbled forward into the end zone, where teammate Kenny Jean (Dorchester, Mass.) recovered the ball for a touchdown.

Freshman kicker Nick Muccia (Jefferson, N.J.) converted the first of his three successful extra point attempts, and despite a safety caused by the UMass Dartmouth defense late in the quarter, the Mustangs went into the half trailing by just a touchdown, 14-7.

The only scoring in the second half came in the third quarter for both teams. Yatim scored on a two yard run with 8:20 left in the quarter, and again on a seven-yard keeper less than two minutes later to give the visitors the lead for good.

Senior wide receiver Jordan Hyman (Middletown, Conn.) caught six balls for 100 yards receiving on the night, while sophomore Melquan Pinkney (Springfield, Mass.) led the Mount Ida rushing attack with 53 yards on 18 attempts.

UMD struck first in front of their home crowd, taking the lead with 9:05 left in the first quarter on a five-yard run by sophomore running back Anthony LaRose (Canton, Mass.). Mount Ida sophomore linebacker Dominique Spaulding (West Hartford, Conn.) blocked the point after attempt to keep the lead at just 6-0.

The Corsairs doubled their lead early in the second quarter when senior linebacker Joe Teixeira (Seekonk, Mass.) hit Yatim and forced a fumble that UMass Dartmouth senior linebacker Jordan McDonald (Brockton, Mass.) recovered and took all the way to the end zone from 40 yards out. The Corsair's point after attempt troubles continued, as a snap on the PAT went awry, and a pass by junior defensive back Wayne Bolz (Billerica, Mass.) failed to connect.

The Corsairs cut the lead to 21-20 on a four-yard pass from freshman quarterback Cullen Hanna (Richmondville, N.Y.) to sophomore wide receiver Abiola Aborishade (Attleboro, Mass.) with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter, before Samiljan's block kept the Green and White with their noses in front.

Yatim completed 10 of 21 passes, while UMass Dartmouth freshman quarterback Trent Barneys (Avenel, N.J.) led UMD with 41 yards rushing and Hanna hit five of 12 passes for 58 yards.

Sophomore linebacker DeAndre Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) also had seven tackles for Mount Ida and he and senior defensive back Frank Greene (Hamden, Conn.) each broke up two passes.

Teixera, McDonald. sophomore linebacker Derek Tarpey( Tewksbury, Mass.) and senior linebacker Jordan Guyton (Canton, Mass.) each had eight tackles for the Corsairs.

Mount Ida will have their home opener next Saturday at 1:00 pm when they welcome Plymouth State to Alumni Field.

UMass Dartmouth has next weekend off and visits Westfield State two weeks from Saturday.

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