Special Teams, Defense Lead Corsairs Past Bears

Special Teams, Defense Lead Corsairs Past Bears

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth football team executed all three phases of the game to earn a convincing 37-10 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over rival Bridgewater State University this evening at Swenson Field. 

The Corsairs evened their overall record at 3-3, including a 2-2 mark in the conference circuit, while the Bears suffered their third straight set to slip to 2-4 and 1-3. It was UMass Dartmouth's second largest margin of victory over Bridgewater State in a series that dates back to 1988.

The Corsairs defense and special teams were responsible for five interceptions, two blocked punts, including one returned for a touchdown, a blocked field goal and a fumble which resulted in a safety. Thirty of the visitors' 37 points were scored as a result of Bear miscues.

Junior Shaquille Brummitt's (Brookline, Mass.) highlighted the UMass Dartmouth defensive effort with a career-high three interceptions.  Freshman Diego Hebra (Concord, N.H.) tallied a team-high nine tackles, a pass breakup, a blocked punt, and returned a blocked punt 29 yards for his first collegiate touchdown.  Junior Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, Mass.) and freshman Seth DeMello (Somerset, Mass.) each registered an interception.  Rookie Marvey Mathurin (Woburn, Mass.) collected eight stops and a pass breakup.

The visitors set the tone of the hosts' first possession of the contest. The Corsairs forced a punt at the Bridgewater State 42 yard line that freshman Jonathan Biggs (Stone mountain, Ga.) blocked, which Hebra scooped up and raced 29 yards down the right sideline.  Sophomore Steve Trask (Billerica, Mass.) made the first of his five extra points to give UMass Dartmouth the 7-0 advantage.

The Corsairs special teams stymied the Bears at the end of the first frame, when freshman Jared Louf-Woods (Salem, Mass.) redirected a 45-yard field goal with a strong push up the middle. 

Bridgewater State tried to stem the tide and gain some momentum with a goal line stand, preventing three consecutive rushes from the one-yard line.  The Bears momentum was short lived as an errant snap resulted in a safety to increase the visitors lead to 9-0.

UMass Dartmouth capitalized on the great field position resulting from the free kick.  Freshman Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.) only needed two plays to lead the visitors into the end zone, capped by a 16-yard strike to senior Abiola Aborishade (Attleboro, Mass.) in the corner of the end zone. 

The Corsairs' special teams set up the visitors next score as Hebra was able to get a hand on a Bears' punt that gave UMass Dartmouth the ball at midfield.  The Corsairs showcased their quick strike abilities again as sophomore Stephen Roy (Northboro, Mass.) ripped off a 42-yard rush and Aborishade pulled in a seven-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 23-0.    

Bridgewater State responded with 10 unanswered points to whittle its deficit to 23-10.  Alex McLaughlin drove across the pylon for a four-yard TD on the Bears' final drive of the half, while Colin Neri converted a 35-yard field goal on the hosts' first possession of the second stanza.

The visitors quelled thoughts of a Bridgewater State comeback with a methodical 13-play, 85-yard drive.  Aborishade's third touchdown reception of the contest, this time from four yards out, capped the six-minute plus march. 
UMass Dartmouth registered 304 yards of total offense.  Burnham was 22-for-32 with 189 passing yards and a career-high four touchdown passes.  Aborishade registered nine receptions for a game-high 72 yards and career-high three touchdowns.  Classmate Jake Scott (Somerset, Mass.) pulled in five catches for 50 yards, including a seven-yard TD reception to cap the scoring.  Roy saw an increased workload and responded with 126 yards of offense, including a game-high 89 yards on 12 carries.
The Corsairs limited the Bears quarterback to just 137 yards through the air.   The BSU quarterbacks completed just 12 of 39 pass attempts and were picked off five times.  The Bears did, however, find some success on the ground rushing for 182 yards.  Senior tailback Blaise Branch (Brockton, Mass.) led the team with 83 yards on 13 carries.  Sophomore quarterback Danny Higgins (Manahawkin, N.J.) added 61 yards on 10 attempts.  Junior wide receiver Michael Viola (Wrentham, Mass.) caught four passes for a team-best 71 yards.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 2:30 p.m. on Oct.  18, when the Corsairs travel to Worcester State University.