BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University football team opened the 2015 season with a 42-21 victory over Curry College on Friday night in front of a capacity crowd at Swenson Field.
The Bears (1-0) scored the first 35 points of the game and held off the Colonels (0-1) in the second half.
Bridgewater is now 13-11 all-time versus Curry as the two teams were meeting for the first time since 1991.
Sophomore quarterback Alex McLaughlin (Littleton, Mass.) threw for 105 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 56 yards and a pair of scores to lead the BSU offense.
Senior free safety Eric Ford (Oakville, Conn.) got the Bears on the board with a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:46 remaining in the first quarter.
McLaughlin rushed for a pair of short touchdowns to cap off drives of 71 and 62 yards in the second quarter to give BSU a 21-0 lead at the half. He also hooked up with sophomore receiver Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) on a 64-yard touchdown pass just 29 second into the third quarter to increase the Bears' advantage to 28-0.
Junior quarterback Danny Higgins (Manahawkin, N.J.) capped off a six-play, 81-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown run to make the score 35-0 with 8:57 remaining in the third quarter.
Curry finally got things going in the second half reeling off 21 straight points on three Mike O'Hearn (Billerica, Mass.) to Jake Cawlina (Danvers, Mass.) touchdown passes. O'Hearn connected with Cawlina on scores of 17 and 26 yards in the third quarter and added a ten-yard touchdown strike with 4:55 remaining in the final period to pull the Colonels to within 35-21.
The Bears, however, answered with a 35-yard halfback option touchdown pass from sophomore running back Malik Garrett (Dorchester, Mass.) to junior wideout Dukens Leon(Everett, Mass.) to cap off the scoring. Leon finished with a team-best five catches for a game-high 92 yards.
O'Hearn completed 36 of a school-record 69 pass attempts for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw a pair of interceptions. Junior receiver Anthony Nastasi (River Edge, N.J.) had a game-high 14 receptions for 82 yards, while Cawlina finished with six catches for 87 yards and his three touchdowns.
BSU senior running back Carlton Williamson (North Easton, Mass.) led all players with 80 yards rushing on 13 attempts as he averaged 6.2 yards per carry. The Bears outgained the Colonels on the ground by a margin of 262 yards to 36. Bridgewater finished with 475 yards of total offense with 213 coming through the air.
Senior linebacker A.J. Pascuzzo (Wallingford, Conn.) finished with seven tackles (five solo), a sack, a forced fumble, an interception and a pass breakup to pace the BSU defense. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Dance (West Roxbury, Mass.) added eight solo tackles. The BSU defense recorded four sacks, notched ten tackles for loss and broke up ten passes.
Curry sophomore linebacker Devin Williams (Gardner, Mass.) led all players with 13 tackles (nine solo).
The Bears were penalized 14 times for 136 yardsflagged for 14 accepted penaltieshad troubles with penalties
Next weekend, Bridgewater State travel to Kean University in Union, New Jersey on Saturday for a one o'clock non-conference game with the Cougars. Curry hosts non-league foe Fitchburg State University on Friday night at seven.
Notes: The Bears were flagged for 14 accepted penalties in the game for a total of 136 yards....The Colonels converted on just 4 of 20 third down situations, but went 7-for-11 on fourth down....O'Hearn eclipsed the Colonels' previous school mark of 60 pass attempts set by Steve Leach against Plymouth State back in 1979....The last time the Bears put up as many as 42 points in the season opener was in 2005, a 42-18 win at home over Nicholas College.