DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Sophomore quarterback Alex McLaughlin(Littleton, Mass.) rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Bridgewater State University football team to a 34-13 victory over UMass Dartmouth in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Friday night at Cressy Field.
The Bears (4-2, 3-1 MASCAC) avenged last year's loss to the Corsairs (3-3, 2-2 MASCAC) and now hold a 16-12 advantage in the all-time series.
Bridgewater racked up 415 yards of total offense including 263 on the ground. McLaughlin rushed for 86 yards, while senior running back Carlton Williamson (North Easton, Mass.) led all players with 94 rushing yards including a game-sealing 35-yard score late in the fourth quarter.
BSU junior quarterback Danny Higgins (Manahawkin, N.J.) threw for 152 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore receiver Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) caught three passes for 91 yards including a 27-yard touchdown.
Sophomore free safety Cameron Williamson (North Easton, Mass.) paced the BSU defense with four solo tackles, including one for loss, to go along with his second interception of the season. Senior linebacker Nicholas Salois (Warwick, R.I.) recorded five tackles (four solo) and recovered a fumble, while junior defensive tackle Elvis Romero (Wayne, N.J.) notched four tackles, including two for loss, and five quarterback hurries.
The Bears' defense held the Corsairs to their lowest scoring output of the season.
On the opening possession of the game, McLaughlin capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Junior receiver Dukens Leon (Everett, Mass.) highlighted the drive with a 39-yard run, while Williamson carried the ball four times for 26 yards.
On the ensuing drive, UMass moved the ball into BSU territory before the game was delayed for nearly two hours due to lightning.
When play resumed, UMD turned the ball over on downs. That was followed by four straight punts before Bridgewater took over on the UMass 35-yard line. Four plays later on fourth and two, Higgins hooked up with Bassett on the 27-yard scoring strike to extend the BSU advantage to 14-0 early in the second quarter.
The Corsairs quickly responded with a four-play, 80-yard drive capped of by an Eddie Sheridan (Chelmsford, Mass.) 35-yard touchdown run.
Bridgewater put together a long nine-minute drive and had first and goal from the one-yard line. The Bears, however, were unable to score as a bad snap on second down resulted in a 13-yard loss and a 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
The two teams exchanged punts over the final three minutes of the second quarter as the score remained 14-7 in favor of the Bears heading into the intermission.
UMass whittled its deficit to 14-13 early in the third quarter when junior quarterback Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.) converted a fourth and goal from the one-yard line. Burnham ignited the drive with a 51-yard completion to senior wideout Jason Ferri (Billerica, Mass.), the Corsairs' longest play of the contest. The potential game-tying extra point attempt, however, was missed.
After both teams traded three-and-outs, Bridgewater State regained its momentum with a six-play, 64-yard drive. Starting from their own 36, Higgins connected with Bassett for a 61-yard completion to set the visitors up with a first and goal from the three. The Bears converted their second fourth down situation as McLaughlin powered in from the one.
Bridgewater put the game out of reach by scoring on two of its next three possessions to create the final margin of victory.
McLaughlin put the finishing touches on an eight-play, 82-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Higgins completed passes of 28 and 25 yards during the series, while McLaughlin accounted for 29 yards on the ground.
On the Bears' final drive of the night, Williamson put the game out of reach with his 35-yard scoring run which capped off an eight-play, 80-yard drive. All eight plays were rushing attempts as Williamson accounted for 53 yards, while Higgins had a big 25-yard scamper.
Offensively for the Corsairs, Burnham completed 16 of 32 passes for 168 yards and a TD but also threw an interception and lost a fumble. Ferri produced a career-high 103 receiving yards on four catches, while Sheridan gained 80 yards on ten carries.
Senior linebacker Anthony LaRose (Dorchester, Mass.) led the UMD defense with eight tackles, including two sacks and three stops for a loss. Junior linebacker David Collins (Mansfield, Mass.) and sophomores Brandon Miller (Holden, Mass.) and Marvey Mathurin (Woburn, Mass.) also registered eight tackles. Mathurin added a pair of blocked kicks.
The Bears converted on 8 of 18 third downs plays and were 2-for-2 on fourth down. The Corsairs, however, finished just 2-for-12 third down and 2-for-5 on fourth. Bridgewater also won the turnover battle forcing a pair of miscues and committing none.
Next weekend, the Bears travel to Plymouth State University on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 17) for a one o'clock game with the Panthers. The Corsairs host Worcester State University on Friday night (Oct. 16) at seven.