WORCESTER, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth football team went blow-for-blow blow with the second-best offense in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Conference (MASCAC), ultimately falling by a 45-40 score at Worcester State on Saturday afternoon.
Score: Worcester State 45, UMass Dartmouth 40
Records: UMass Dartmouth (2-5, 2-3 MASCAC) | Worcester State (4-3, 3-2 MASCAC)
How It Happened
The Corsairs got the first points on the board with 7:06 left in the opening quarter as Michael Slaughter Jr. (Springfield, Mass.) capped off a nine-play drive with his first rushing touchdown of the year.
Worcester State responded, gaining control of the game with 21 unanswered points as quarterback Noah Brum (Honolulu, Hawaii) found Jacob Maher (Marshfield, Mass.) on two touchdown connections before linking with Kharif Pryor (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on a 42-yard catch-and-run to put the hosts up 21-7.
With five minutes left in the first half, UMass Dartmouth cut the gap when Slaughter Jr. scored again, this time on a 28-yard pass reception from freshman Stephen Gacioch (Tiverton, R.I.). But the Lancers re-upped the advantage with just 14 seconds left, as Noah Hwang (Brooklyn, N.Y.) knocked down a field goal from 23 yards out (24-13).
In the second half, the Corsairs were able to build their own streak of unanswered points, starting with 11:05 left in the third quarter. Junior Matt Mitchell (Stonington, Conn.) powered into the end zone from one yard out, and the visitors made it 14-straight points moments later when Gacioch drove in his own one-yard rush bring the deficit down to just three points.
After the Lancers got across the goal line again, Slaughter Jr. continued his stellar effort, scoring his third touchdown of the game when he scampered in from four yards away to make the score 34-31.
With three quarters said and done, the offenses were not yet finished scoring in the fourth. Worcester State broke off another 14-0 scoring run as Dexter Andrews (Boston, Mass.) got it going with a rushing score before Frank Catanoso (Marshfield, Mass.) pulled in a 19-yard pass from Brum.
The Corsairs would register the last points of the game with 2:28 left, as Gacioch put in his second touchdown on the ground. The team opted for two points, trying to cut within a field goal in the final minutes, but were stuffed at the line. Worcester State drained the remaining clock to put the stamp on the barnburner.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth set a new season-high in total offense with its 456-yard output in the loss.
- The Corsairs were 8-for-20 on third down and 2-for-3 when going for it on fourth. The Lancers were 3-for-13 and 1-for-1 in those same fields.
- Led by Slaughter, Jr.'s 136-yard rushing effort, the Corsairs outgained Worcester State on the ground with 209 yards to the Lancers' 96.
- UMass Dartmouth's top target in the air was junior Jeremy Jackson (Middletown, R.I.), who hauled in a career-high 86 yards on nine receptions.
- Gacioch posted his second 200-plus yard throwing outing of the season, totaling 234 yards on a career-high 21 completions. In just six games, he has amassed 820 total yards in the air.
- Penalties proved costly for the Corsairs, as UMass Dartmouth racked up over 100 yards on 11 flags to the Lancers' 57 yards.
- UMass Dartmouth came away with a season-high three interceptions on defense, with senior Scott Tupper (Holden, Mass.) snagging his fourth of the season.
- Senior Brandon Miller (Holden, Mass.) and freshman Jacob Burkhead (Plymouth, Mass.) led the Corsair tacklers with 16 and 13, respectively, for the game.
The Corsairs host Framingham State on next Saturday for the final home game of the season at Cressy Field, with kickoff slated for 12 p.m.