BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University football team posted a 28-10 Senior Day victory over Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Plymouth State University on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The Bears improve to 5-3 on the season and 5-1 in the MASCAC with their fifth straight win, while the Panthers fall to 6-3 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
The Bridgewater State defense limited the Panthers to 165 yards of total offense and recorded 11 tackles for loss including six sacks.
BSU senior quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) paced the Bears' offense as he completed 19 of 29 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. D'Emilia also rushed for 35 yards and a score.
Plymouth State scored on its opening possession as Dan Carey booted a 30-yard field goal.
Bridgewater State answered with a six-play, 65-yard driving capped off by a five-yard D'Emilia touchdown run.
The score remained 7-3 until late in the second quarter. The Bears strung together a ten-play, 57-yard drive resulting in a seven-yard TD pass from junior wide receiver Wyatt Shisler (Hanover, Mass.) to freshman wideout Anthony Adams (Sylvester, Ga.). Shisler took a lateral from D'Emilia and found Adams uncovered in the end zone with 1:24 left to play in the period. The touchdown was the first of Adam's collegiate career.
Bridgewater State would take the 14-3 lead into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, a blocked punt gave the Bears outstanding field position at the Plymouth State 25. Seven plays later, senior running back Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Height, N.Y.) punched it in from a yard out. The key play of the short drive was a fourth-and-one conversion run by D'Emilia which set up Santavicca's touchdown.
After forcing a punt on the ensuing possession, the Bears put together an 11-play, 69-yard drive to put the game out of reach. D'Emilia connected with sophomore wide receiver Nathan Ellis (Dartmouth, Mass.) on a 15-yard touchdown pass to cap off the drive. Sophomore kicker Thomas Fay (Raynham, Mass.) converted the connected the extra point, his fourth of the afternoon, to give the hosts a commanding 28-10 lead with 2:31 left to play in the fourth quarter.
Plymouth State put together its best drive of the afternoon early in the fourth quarter to account for the final score of 28-10. The Panthers moved the ball 54 yards on 11 plays with senior running back David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) finding the end zone from six yards out.
Senior defensive tackle Chris Gemayel (Dedham, Mass.) led the BSU defensive effort with seven tackles (four solo) including a sack and 3 ½ for loss. Sophomore linebacker Steven Silvia (Dighton, Mass.) checked in with a team-best nine tackles (six solo) to go along with a pass breakup, while sophomore defensive end Dimitri Dorinvil (Brockton, Mass.) added eight stops (two solo) with 1 ½ for loss. Junior defensive end John Philpott (Gloucester, Mass.) contributed six tackles, including a pair of sacks, and senior safety Mark Wilson (Foxborough, Mass.) tallied five tackles (four solo) with a sack and a pass breakup.
The Bears held Plymouth to just eight first down. The Panthers also went just 3-for-14 in third conversions, and eight of their 11 drives ended in punts with one turnover on downs.
The BSU offense racked up 403 yards of totals offense with 267 yards coming through the air and 138 on the ground. The Bears also recorded 20 first downs.
The two teams combined for just three accepted penalties.
Junior receiver T.J. Hairston (Watertown, Mass.) was D'Emilia's leading target as he caught five passes for 76 yards. Santavicca finished with 51 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Hamilton rushed for 77 yards on 13 attempts to lead the Panther offense. Sophomore quarterback Brett Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) completed 7 of 18 pass attempts for 91 yards.
Junior safety Matt Tosone (Walpole, Mass.) recorded a game-high 13 tackles (ten solo), forced a fumble and broke up a pass to highlight the Plymouth defense.
Prior to the game, the Bears honored 16 seniors who were playing in their final regular season home game.
Next Saturday, the Bears travel to Framingham State for a key noontime MASCAC game with the Rams, while the Panthers are on their bye week.