BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University football team outlasted Worcester State University, 34-28, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Friday night at Swenson Field.
Bridgewater State improves to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in the MASCAC, while Worcester State slips to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play. The Bears also extend their winning streak over the Lancers to eleven games and are now 20-10 all-time versus their MASCAC rival.
Sophomore quarterback Alex McLaughlin (Littleton, Mass.) threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns and added 82 yards on the ground and another score to lead the Bears. Sophomore receiver Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) hauled in six receptions for 104 yards and a score, while senior wideout Michael Viola (Wrentham, Mass.) had three catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Carlton Williamson(North Easton, Mass.) rushed for 47 yards and also caught three passes for 61 yards.
For the visiting Lancers, senior quarterback Trevor Vasey (Cumberland, R.I.) completed 36 of 63 pass attempts for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Vasey also threw a pair of interceptions. Senior running back Kemani Jones (Milton, Mass.) rushed for 100 yards and a score, while junior wideout Arron Witkus (Chelmsford, Mass.) notched seven receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears opened the scoring on a three-yard McLaughlin touchdown run with 5:39 remaining in the first quarter. The scoring rush capped off an 11-play, 71-yard drive.
Worcester answered with a 35-yard field goal off the right foot of freshman kicker Adrian Lingo (Sharon, Mass.) with 2:45 left in the opening period. The short 34-yard drive was set up by a 42-yard kickoff return by senior Terrence Gibson (Rockland, Mass.
Following a BSU three-and-out, Vasey hooked up with Witkus on a 29-yard touchdown pass to put the Lancers on top, 10-7.
Junior quarterback Danny Higgins (Manahawkin, N.J.) came on in relief of McLaughlin and orchestrated a six-play, 70-yard drive culminating in a 23-yard scoring strike to Viola on fourth down and 19 early in the second quarter. Viola also came up with a big fumble recovery to keep the drive alive, while Higgins got it started with a 55-yard pass to Bassett.
The Lancers regained the lead, 16-14, on a Derek Moore (Mendon, Mass.) TD reception which capped off a 13-play, 84-yard drive. The extra point, however, was blocked by BSU linebacker Nicholas Salois (Warwick, R.I.).
After the teams exchanged punts, the Bears took over on their own 36 with 1:38 remaining in the half. Higgins, who finished with 126 passing yards on the night, connected with Williamson on a 28-yard screen pass to move the ball down to the Worcester 36. Three plays later, Higgins hooked up with Bassett on a 20-yard pass to put the Bears in field goal range at the 16. Following a pair of incomplete passes and a Dukens Leon (Everett, Mass.) five-yard run, junior placekicker Liam Murphy (South Hadley, Mass.) drilled a 29-yard field goal to give BSU the 17-16 lead at the intermission.
An eight-yard touchdown pass from McLaughlin to Bassett accounted for the only scoring in the third quarter as the Bears extended their lead to 24-16. Williamson had a key 26-yard reception on third and eight and also added a 19-yard run during the 12-play, 75-yard drive. Freshman running back Anthony Fogarty (Troy, N.Y.) carried the ball seven times for 22 yards including a pair of first down runs to keep the drive alive.
After Worcester missed a short 30-yard field goal, The Bears responded with a 16-play, 72-yard drive. Bridgewater converted three times on third down during the possession including an 18-yard McLaughlin scramble on third and ten. The drive stalled at Worcester eight yard line, but Murphy booted his second field goal of the night, this time from 26-yards out, to extend the BSU advantage to 27-16 with 12:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Senior safety David Console (Malden, Mass.) picked off a Vasey pass at the BSU 12 to stymie a potential Worcester scoring drive, but the Bears gave it right back with a fumble on the very next play. Freshman safety Chris Cesar (Lowell, Mass.) caused the turnover which was recovered by junior defensive back Carrick Driscoll (East Longmeadow, Mass.) at the Bridgewater ten. One play later, Jones rambled into the end zone to pull the Lancers to within five at 27-22. Worcester, however, was unable to convert on the two-point try.
The Bears answered on the ensuing possession. On third down and 16 from the 27, Viola got behind the Worcester secondary, hauled in a long pass from McLaughlin and raced untouched into the end zone for the 73-yard score. The extra point put BSU on top, 34-22, with 8:18 left to play.
A 40-yard Gibson kickoff return gave the Lancers good field position at their own 48. A Jones five-yard run and four Vasey completions quickly moved the ball to the BSU 14-yard line. The drive, however, stalled at the ten and Vasey was unable to connect with a Jones on a pass out in the flat on fourth and six.
Following a Bridgewater punt, Worcester got the ball back with 2:15 showing on the scoreboard. A Vasey to Gibson 31-yard scoring strike with just 34 second remaining cut the deficit to 34-28. The Lancers attempted an onside kick, but Bassett recovered for the Bears to secure the victory.
Sophomore cornerback Kyle Dance (West Roxbury, Mass.) paced the BSU defense with 15 tackles (14 solo), while classmate Cameron Williamson (North Easton, Mass.) finished with seven tackles including three for loss and a forced fumble. Console chipped in with seven tackles to go along with his interception as well as a pass breakup, while sophomore linebacker Andrew Frigault (Assonet, Mass.) notched his first career interception and added a pass breakup with four tackles (three solo) including one for loss.
Junior linebacker Shane Gleim (North Grosvenordale, Conn.) recorded a team-high 11 tackles (eight solo) for Worcester State, while freshman defensive back Mike Holder(Lowell, Mass.) broke up three passes and tallied three tackles including one for loss.
Bridgewater State used a balanced attack to rack up 480 yards of total offense with 292 yards coming through the air and 188 on the ground. The Bears, who had five drives of at least 65-yards, held an 11-minute advantage in time of possession.
Worcester state finished with 448 yards of offense, 316 passing and 132 rushing. The Lancers, who turned the ball over twice on interceptions, also fumbled three times but did not lose any of them.
Gibson finished with 249 yards of all-purpose yards including 60 receiving and 189 on kickoff returns.
The MASCAC schedule continues for both teams on Saturday, September 26th. The Bears travel to Fitchburg State University for a noontime game with the Falcons, while the Lancers entertain Massachusetts Maritime Academy at one.