WESTFIELD, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's junior quarterback Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.) threw for 489 yards and six touchdowns to set single-game records in both categories and power the Corsairs to a 48-41 victory over Westfield State University this afternoon in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest at Alumni Field.
UMass Dartmouth (2-1, 1-0 MASCAC) scored touchdowns on six of its nine second-half drives to account for 41 of its 48 points. None of the scoring drives took longer than two minutes, 16 seconds to complete.
The Corsairs enjoyed a historic offensive afternoon, producing a single-game record 744 yards of total offense. Burnham piloted the offensive attack, completing 24-of-40 attempts for 489 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions. The junior from Essex, Mass. connected with freshman Abbi Bamgbose (Fitchburg, Mass.) for a career-high 73-yard touchdown reception with 68 seconds remaining in regulation to snap a 41-all tie. Bamgbose also etched his name in the program's single-game annals, pulling in seven catches for a record-breaking 209 yards, and four touchdowns.
Burnham spread the ball around, completing passes to eight different receivers. Senior captain Jason Ferri (Billerica, Mass.) registered a career-high 95 yards on four catches. Junior Jakarrie Washington (Everett, Mass.) hauled in six passes for 73 yards, while junior Kevin Wadsworth (Bridgewater, Mass.) contributed 32 yards and a four-yard TD in the second quarter. Junior Alex Heffernan (Quincy, Mass.) caught his first collegiate touchdown, a 40-yard strike in the fourth quarter.
UMass Dartmouth also featured an exceptional running attack, gaining a total of 255 yards on 34 carries. Junior Stephen Roy (Northboro, Mass.) eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the second straight contest, netting a career-high 164 yards. Roy averaged an impressive 12.6 yards on 13 carries, including a 72-yard touchdown scamper to stake the visitors to their largest lead of the contest, 41-28, with 10 minutes, 56 seconds left on the clock.
Trailing 14-0 late in the first half, the Corsairs marched 99 yards on just seven plays to cut the deficit in half. With 35 seconds remaining, Burnham found Wadsworth from four yards out to switch the momentum entering the halftime locker room.
UMass Dartmouth sustained its momentum through the break, scoring the first points of the wild second half. The Corsairs needed only five plays to chew up 73 yards, capped by a Burnham to Bamgbose 30-yard strike. The visitors headed up field still trailing 14-13 after a missed extra point.
Westfield State (1-2, 0-1) answered on the ensuing possession to extend its advantage to 21-13. However, UMass Dartmouth came storming back, scoring 21 consecutive points on three straight drives. Burnham connected with Bamgbose for two touchdowns (24, 40) before finding Hefferann (40) to complete the surge.
The Owls would not go quietly into the night, as the hosts responded with 13 consecutive points to forge a 41-all tie. The Corsairs' special teams unit stepped up with the contest on the line, blocking the potential go-ahead extra point with one minute, 25 seconds remaining in regulation.
UMass Dartmouth only needed one play to regain the lead as Bamgbose streaked down the right sideline for 73 yards, the visitors' longest play from scrimmage.
Westfield State staged a last stand, driving 40 yards from its own 35-yard line. The Owls converted a fourth and nine from the Corsairs' 35-yard line, but UMass Dartmouth denied four consecutive attempts from 25-yards out to gain the clinching turnover on downs. Sophomore DaVon Fuller (Washington, D.C.) broke up the final attempt, his third of the day, at the back pylon to seal the victory for the visitors.
Sophomore Jon Biggs (Stone Mountain, Ga.) spearheaded the Corsairs' defensive attack, registering a game-high 12 tackles and two interceptions. Junior Alex Ortega (Lynn, Mass.) posted nine tackles, one more than senior Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, Mass.) and sophomore Brandon Miller (Holden, Mass.).
Westfield State quarterback Erik Wasburn set a program record with 448 passing yards and four touchdowns. Evan Cain was his top target, registering a game-high eight catches for 115 yards. Colin Smith opened the scoring with the longest play from scrimmage, an 85-yard catch midway through the first quarter. He finished with seven receptions for 178 yards.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, when the Corsairs host Plymouth State University (1-3, 0-1) to conclude the annual Homecoming festivities.