BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Sophomore running back Alex McLaughlin (Littleton, Mass.) rushed for 164 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bridgewater State University football team to a convincing 48-20 Homecoming victory over visiting Westfield State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The host Bears improve to 6-2 on the season and 5-1 in the MASCAC standings with their fourth straight win, while the Owls slide to 2-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play. Bridgewater is now 25-9 all-time versus Westfield as the two teams have met every season since 1982.
Bridgewater scored the first 35 points off the contest and were never threatened. The Bears racked up 499 yards of total offense including a season-high 356 on the ground. The BSU defense forced two turnovers and limited the Owls to just 35 rushing yards.
Senior running back Carlton Williamson (North Easton, Mass.) added 96 yards on 15 carries, while junior quarterback Danny Higgins (Manahawkin, N.J.) completed 12 of 26 passes for 143 yards to go along with a rushing touchdown.
Sophomore defensive end Emmanuel Omere (Bessemer, Ala.) paced the BSU defense with four solo tackles including a sack and three tackles for loss. Omere also forced a fumble and broke up a pass. Junior defensive tackle Elvis Romero (Wayne, N.J.) added four solo stops including a pair of sacks, while sophomore cornerback Kyle Dance (West Roxbury, Mass.) registered four solo tackles with one for loss, forced a fumble, and had two pass breakups including his second interception of the season.
On their first possession of the game, the Bears marched 59 yards on eight plays with Higgins rushing for a two-yard touchdown. On the first play of the Owls' ensuing possession, Dance intercepted a pass and returned the ball 20 yards down to the Westfield 27. Five plays later, sophomore receiver Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) punched it in from three yards out as the Bears led 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
McLaughlin rushed for scores of 22 and 48 yards in the second quarter as the Bears took a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Bridgewater marched 65 yards on nine plays capped off by a McLaughlin 13-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter.
Westfield quickly responded with a 55-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Erik Washburn (Lisbon, Conn.) to classmate Colin Smith (Groton, Conn.). The Owls recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Bears' 20-yard line. Four plays later, junior running backBryan Waruhiu (Dracut, Mass.) barreled into the end zone from a yard out to cut the deficit to 35-13 (the PAT was blocked).
A pair of one-yard touchdowns runs by McLaughlin and sophomore running back Malik Garrett(Dorchester, Mass.) capped off the scoring for the Bears who built a 48-13 advantage with 8:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Westfield sophomore quarterback Phil Cohen (Lyme, Conn.) hooked up with Smith on a 27-yard scoring strike to account for the final score of 48-20.
Washburn completed 9 of 19 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. He threw an interception and was sacked four times. Smith finished with game-high receiving totals of five catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore linebacker John Ollari (Millers Falls, Mass.) led the Westfield defense with 15 tackles (13 solo), while senior free safety Greg Sheridan (Burlington, Mass.) chipped in with 13 tackles (11 solo). Senior linebacker Marcus Pettigrew (Auburn, Mass.) had five tackles including three for loss and pair of sacks.
The Bears had possession of the football for nearly 19 more minutes than the Owls (39:26 to 20:34) and held a 28-10 advantage in first downs. Bridgewater converted 6 of 17 third down plays and finished a perfect 5-for-5 on fourth down. Westfield went 1-for-9 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth.
Following a bye week, the Bears host Framingham State University on Saturday, November 7th at noon. The Owls entertain Fitchburg State University next Saturday, October 31st at 1:00 PM.
Notes: With his three receptions, Bassett increased his career total to 66 as he moved past Vin Harte (1979-82) into eighth place on the Bears' all-time list.