MILTON, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University football team opened the 2016 season with a 28-24 setback to host Curry College on Friday night at Walter M. Katz Field.
Bridgewater got on the board first, putting together a 16-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a field goal by sophomore newcomer Jack Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.).
On the ensuing drive, Curry answered with a 10-play, 62-yard march that was capped by a 31-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-11 by junior quarterback Alex Corvese (Cranston, R.I.). Sophomore kicker Marc Mrozek (Stratford, Conn.) would tack on the extra point to give the Colonels a 7-3 lead.
Following a stop, the Colonels strung together a 10-play, 89-yard drive that spanned the rest of the first quarter and two minutes into the second. On a first and 10 from their own 46- yard line, Corvese would connect with senior receiver Nate Chartrand (Pelham, N.H.) for a 49-yard completion to get the Colonels down to the Bridgewater five-yard line. Two plays later, freshman D'Aundray Burcy (Hyde Park, Mass.) would haul in a five-yard touchdown pass from Corvese to give the hosts a 13-3 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Curry tacked on a field goal after a 17-play, 71-yard drive that ate up six and a half minutes. Mrozek connected from 30-yards out to give the Colonels a 16-3 lead going into the half.
Curry received the kick to start the second half, but couldn't put much together as the Bears forced a punt. On the ensuing BSU drive, senior Joseph Grogan (Forestdale, Mass.) forced a fumble which was recovered by classmate Sean Conroy (Derry, N.H.) on the Bears' 18-yard line.
The Colonels would capitalize on the miscue as Corvese found senior Jake Cawlina (Danvers, Mass.) for a seven-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The PAT was missed again, however, as Curry led 22-3 with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Bridgewater would put together a 13-play, 73-yard drive that would span just over five minutes, ending with a three-yard touchdown run by junior Alex McLaughlin (Littleton, Mass.). Lavanchy would tack on the extra point to cut the Colonels lead down to 12 (22-10).
The teams would trade the next two possessions, until the Colonels would nab their final score of the game, a 23-yard touchdown run by Burcy to extend the Colonels lead to 18 with nine minutes left to play in the final quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Bridgewater put together a quick six-play, 73-yard drive that took less than two minutes off the clock. Higgins would find Lavanchy on a 16-yard catch-and-run for the touchdown. Higgins connected with junior receiver Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) on the conversion to make the score 28-18 with under eight minutes left to play.
Bridgewater looked to make the most of a Corvese fumble that would give the Bears the ball at the midfield line with just under six minutes remaining. The Bears drove down the field, but a strong goal-line stand by the Colonels would force Bridgewater to go for it on fourth-and-one. Junior Steven Grogan (Forestdale, Mass.) and senior Christian Braga (Acushnet, Mass.) would stuff McLaughlin on the one-yard line, giving the Colonels the ball back with three minutes remaining in the game.
The Colonels offense would go three-and-out, but not before eating up a minute and forty-four seconds of clock. Mrozek would barely get off a 46-yard punt from deep in his own end zone, giving the ball back to the Bears with just over a minute remaining in the game. Bridgewater would waste little time, as the visitors took just three plays and a total of 17 seconds to get the ball into the end zone. Higgins connected with Bassett for a 12-yard touchdown pass out to make it a 28-24 game. The Bears had a chance to pull to within a field goal, but the ensuing PAT was missed.
Bridgewater would attempt an onside kick, but senior Anthony Nastasi (River Edge, NJ) would fall on the ball, securing the victory for the Colonels.
The Colonels offence was led by Corvese, who went 27-36 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Freshman Tyler Furey (Atkinson, N.H.) led the Colonels backfield with 40 yards on the ground. Nastasi reeled in 12 passes for 96 yards. On the defensive side, Curry was led by junior Devin Williams (Gardner, Mass.) who totaled 11 tackles (seven solo).
For the Bears, Higgins completed 29 of 44 attempts for 258 yards and two touchdowns. McLaughlin led the charge on the ground, rushing 14 times for 51 yards and one score. Lavanchy was the leading receiver for the Bears, grabbing ten passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Senior linebacker A.J. Pascuzzo (Wallingford, CT.) and senior defensive tackle Elvis Romero (Wayne, NJ.) both tallied eight tackles on the night. Romero also forced a fumble, recorded a sack and registered 2 1/2 tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Emmanuel Omere (Bessemer, Ala.) added six tackles including a pair of sacks.
With his 258 yards through the air, Higgins became the player in program history to reach the 4,000-yard mileston.
Senior receiver Dukens Leon (Paris, France) added nine receptions for 78 yards, while junior wideout Travis Bassett (Littleton, Mass.) finished with six catches for 63 yards and a score. Bassett moved into seventh place (84 rec.) on the Bears' all-time receptions list and eighth overall in receiving yards (1,366).
Bridgewater returns to action on September 10th, when the Bears welcome Kean University. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 PM.
Curry returns to the field on Saturday, September 17 when the Colonels welcome the AMCATS of Anna Maria College to Walter M. Katz Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM.