Big Second Half Carries Football Team Past Endicott, 53-35

Nov. 1, 2008

REVERE, MA- The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team scored 39 points in the second half and went on to defeat host Endicott, 53-35, in a New England Football Conference Boyd Division game at Endicott Stadium Saturday evening.

The Corsairs, who broke a 14-14 halftime tie when senior fullback Aaron Russo (Johnston, RI/Johnston HS) scored from 35 yards out a minute and 16 seconds after the second half began, fell behind, 28-27 on a 26-yard run by Mike Land and conversion by Carlos O'Donnell of the Gulls with 4:28 left in the third quarter . UMass Dartmouth was stopped on their next possession, but got another chance at the Gull 17-yard line when sophomore wide receiver Adam Houghton (East Taunton, MA/Bristol-Plymouth Tech HS) recovered a fumble when Aaron Santos tried to return a punt by junior George Vasiliadis (Worcester, MA/St. Peter-Marian HS).  Senior running back J.T. Harold (North Andover, MA/ Austin Prep HS) did the honors on the next two plays, scoring from eight yards out with 2:21 left in the third quarter to give the Corsairs a lead that they would not relinquish.

A 49-yard punt return by freshman defensive back Darrien Furr (Taunton, MA/Taunton HS) set UMass Dartmouth up at the EC 36-yard line on their first possession of the fourth quarter. The Corsairs covered the distance in seven plays, with Russo's three-yard scoring run putting UMD ahead, 39-28 after a two-point conversion attempt failed.

Matt McPherson returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards to the Corsair 46, but Endicott was held on downs and turned the ball over at the UMass Dartmouth 38 after gaining just eight yards in four plays. Harold raced 32 yards to the Gull 30 on the next play, and then capped the 62-yard, six-play drive with a 16-yard scoring run with 6:44 remaining that made it 46-28. The Gulls were forced to punt after their next possession, and three running plays and 64 yards later, the Corsairs scored again, courtesy of Harold's 25-yard run that made it 53-28 with 4:19 left. A late touchdown by the Gulls accounted for the final score.

Harold scored the game's first touchdown, scoring from 30 yards out to cap an eight play, 71-yard drive midway through the first quarter to put UMass Dartmouth ahead, 7-0. Endicott tied it less than four minutes later on a 71-yard, seven play drive capped by Drew Cusato's seven-yard scoring run.

Lane's 31-yard run 2:26 into the second quarter gave the Gills a 14-7 lead, but the Corsairs tied it on a one-yard run by senior quarterback Alex Garro (Mattapoisett, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) with 3:13 remaining in the first half.

"It was a great game with a bunch of big plays," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "J.T. had a great game. It might have been his best game of the year with regard to the tackles he broke. He had three or four runs that were unbelievable. Defensively, we played well at times, but we gave up some big plays. We held them to two scores in the second half until they scored late, and our offensive line was dominant again. Aaron Russo had a great game. His first touchdown was a great run, and on the second one, it was fourth down and two on the two-yard line, and he made a tough run to score."

Harold rushed 22 times for 192 yards for UMass Dartmouth, and caught a pass for eight yards. Garro completed five of nine passes for 102 yards. Russo rushed 11 times for 82 yards, sophomore running back Alex Duff (Acushnet, MA/Old Colony HS) carried six times for 60 yards, and Furr had two kickoff returns for 78 yards in addition to his punt return for 49 yards.

Lane led the Gulls, rushing 21 times for 160 yards. Cusato carried eight times for 87 yards, quarterback Matt DeOliveira was 14 of 20 for 158 yards, but he was intercepted once and EC lost four fumbles while the UMD did not turn the ball over.

Senior linebacker Dave Bombardier (East Bridgewater, MA/East Bridgewater HS) led the Corsairs defensively with 11 tackles, including three solos. He also had a sack for three yards, 1.5 tackles for four yards of lost yardage, forced a fumble and recovered two more. Freshman linebacker John Cordasco (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Knolls HS) and senior linebacker Rich Braley (Wareham, MA/Wareham HS) each had 10 tackles for UMD, while P.J. Bay and Daniel Orlando led the Gulls with nine tackles each.

The Corsairs improved to 6-3 and 4-2 in the Boyd Division with the victory, while the Gulls dropped to 2-7 and 1-5 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host Curry on Senior Day next Saturday.