North Dartmouth, MA --- UMass Dartmouth freshman Charles Ruffin (Miami, FL) rumbled into the end-zone on a four-yard touchdown with just over a minute remaining in regulation and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with stood a late charge by Worcester State to earn a 34-33 victory this afternoon in MASCAC football action this afternoon at Cressy Field.
In the first meeting since the 2003 ECAC Northeast Bowl, the Corsairs are now 9-5 in the all-time record.
UMass Dartmouth (3-3, 2-3 MASCAC), sophomore quarterback Cullen Hanna (Richmondville, NY) engineered the game-winning drive, leading the Corsairs on a 12-play, 86-yard march to provide the hosts with one-point lead.
Hanna completed 18-of-40 attempts for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Ruffin paced UMass Dartmouth on the ground with 79 yards, including the decisive score. Junior Adam Ledoux (Somerset, MA) hauled in a team-high six receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Abiola Aborishade (Attleboro, MA) caught three passes for 73 yards and a TD.
Worcester State was propelled by junior quarterback Pat Viencek (Bernardston, MA), who entered the contest midway threw the second quarter. Viencek finished 20-for-37 with 329 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior AJ Scerra (Marlboro, MA) recorded a game-high 11 receptions for 147 yards and a TD, while junior Casey Hippert (Douglas. MA) pulled in eight catches for 136 yards and a score. Junior Dana Valentine (Roxbury, MA) accounted for 162 all-purpose yards—59 on the ground, 69 threw the air on four receptions and 34 return yards.
The UMass Dartmouth defense put up a stout effort with under one minute remaining in their own red zone with the game on the line.
Viencek led the Lancers into the Corsair red zone by completing three passes for 49 yards, setting up the visitors on the 14-yard line. However, senior Alex Blakeslee (Shrewsbury, MA) missed a 31-yard field goal just to left of the uprights as time expired.
Worcester State broke the scoring column with 5:11 remaining in the first quarter, when junior Kevin Bumpus (Bridgewater, MA) scampered in from seven-yards out. Valentine sparked the scoring drive with a 23-yard screen pass to convert on third-down to put the Lancers inside the 10.
After a Corsair interception near the end of the first stanza by WSU freshman Markiesh Harmon (Leominster, MA), Worcester State took advantage of good field position to march to the UMD 18-yard line.
The UMass Dartmouth defense registered a fourth-down stand to turn the ball over to its offense. The Corsairs offense responded with a 69-yard scoring strike from Hanna to Aborishade to even the contest at 7-7.
The Lancers promptly answered with a 64-yard scoring flick at the 3:08 mark of the second quarter from Viencek to Hippert, sending the visitors into the locker room with a 14-7 halftime advantage.
UMass Dartmouth took the opening possession of the second half on a methodical 15-play, 79-yard series that was capped by a 17-yard touchdown reception by Ledoux with 10:16 left in the third.
Worcester State regained the lead on its ensuing possession with a six-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in a two-yard toss to junior Jack Sprague (Maynard, MA) less than 2½ minutes later. The scoring drive was sparked by 56-yard grab Scerra.
The Corsair defense produced two touchdowns to provide UMass Dartmouth its first advantage of the contest for the 27-21 margin.
Sophomore Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, MA) forced a fumble that was recovered for a 40-yard touchdown by junior Cody Merritt (Plymouth, MA) with two minutes remaining on the third quarter clock (PAT failed). Less than three minutes later, freshman DeVon Fuller (Washington, D.C.) picked off Viencek for a 94-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Lancers responded with 12 unanswered points to take a 33-27 lead with four minutes, 36 seconds remaining in regulation. Viencek started the surge with a four-yard plunge with (PAT blocked) while also firing a three-yard score to Scerra (PAT missed) with 4:36 remaining in regulation.
Fuller led the Corsair defense with four interceptions for 106 return yards and four tackles, while Tarpey collected a game-best 15 tackles (nine solo), including 1.5 for a loss, and a forced fumble. Senior Arthur Azatyants (Brookline, MA) also reached double digits in tackles with 10 (seven solo).
Senior Adam Straughn (Rockland, MA) posted nine tackles (five solo) —1.5 for a loss—one sack and a forced fumble for Worcester State. Freshman Matt Loureiro (West Bolyston, MA) registered 10 stops (six solo), while junior Mike Dance (Rocky Hill, CT) collected six unassisted tackles, including four for a loss.
Harmon added two interceptions, sophomore Samie Jean (Malden, MA) picked off one pass and junior Bryan Narcisse (Medway, MA) forced one fumble.
The two teams accounted for 1,049 yards of total offense - including 774 through the air. Worcester State, who was sixth in Division III in average passing yardage (344.6 YPG), put up the second highest passing yardage total in program history with 476 yards between the two signal callers.
UMD had the slight edge in posession time (31:09-28:51), and first downs (30-28) while neither team did well on third-downs (10-for-23 - UMass Dartmouth; 10-for-18 - Worcester State).
Both squads return to MASCAC action on Saturday. The Corsairs head to Mass Maritime for a noon-time game while the Lancers host Western Connecticut at 1:30 in their annual homecoming game.
Major Portions Of Release Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth Sports Information