NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- The visiting Bridgewater State University football team opened the 2011 season in fine fashion as the Bears blanked the Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth, 27-0, in a non-conference game at Cressy Field Saturday evening.
The shutout marked the Bears' first since September 24, 2005, a 57-0 win at home over Framingham State. It was the first road shutout for Bridgewater since a 54-0 victory at Framingham on September 25, 2004..
With less than four minutes of play left in the first quarter, Bridgewater State orchestrated a 75-yard drive in nine plays, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.), giving the Bears a 6-0 lead. The ensuing extra point failed on a bad snap.
At the 6:56 mark of the second quarter, UMD junior quarterback Patrick Orlando (Manchester, Mass.) attempted to connect with a receiver downfield, but was intercepted by BSU senior safety Kevin Laudano (Wallington, Conn.), who returned the ball 40 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Bears lead to 13-0 with 6:45 remaining in the first half.
As the first half came to a close, Bridgewater attempted a 29-yard field goal, but the kick was blocked by Corsairs freshman linebacker Alex Kershaw (Foxboro, Mass.), keeping the score at 13-0 as the first half ended.
Bridgewater State continued to add to their lead. With 8:55 on the clock, it took the Bears one play, a 42-yard touchdown strike from McCarthy to junior wide receiver Jake Scott (Somerset, Mass.), to score, putting them on top 20-0 midway through the third quarter.
After his team forced a three and out, sophomore defensive back Wayne Bolz (Billerica, Mass.) fumbled a punt return, and the ball was recovered by BSU sophomore defensive back Matt Brouillard (Plymouth, Mass.) at the Corsairs' 8-yard line. Three plays later, senior running back Justin Fuller (Berkley, Mass.) rumbled into the endzone for Bridgewater's final score of the day, securing the 27-0 victory.
The Bridgewater defense dominated throughout the contest limiting the Corsairs to just 91 yards of total offense and forcing three turnovers.
Bears junior defensive tackle Paul Melicharek (Glen Rock, N.J.) had a team-high eight tackles with a sack, while Laudano tallied five tackles to go along with his interception return for a touchdown.
McCarthy led the Bears offensively, completing 13-of-25 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 39 yards and a score on 10 carries. Bears sophomore running back Chris Constantine (Hingham, Mass.) led all receivers with 76 yards and seven catches.
Corsairs' freshman running back Mike Janey (Dorchester, Mass.) gained 68 yards on 18 carriers, while Orlando rushed for 30 yards on 10 attempts.
Defensively, UMD's Kershaw made a game-high 10 tackles, five unassisted, with an interception. Sophomore linebacker Joe Teixera (Seekonk, Mass.) notched 10 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss. Senior linebacker John Cordasco (Rockaway, N.J.) and senior defensive back Ross O'Toole (Weymouth, Mass.) added five tackles in the loss.
UMass Dartmouth dropped to 1-1 with the loss, while Bridgewater State improved to 1-0 with the win. The Corsairs will be home again next week, hosting Maine Maritime next Saturday afternoon. The Bears will visit Plymouth State next Saturday.