WORCESTER, Mass. – The visiting Bridgewater State University football team posted a 21-9 victory over Worcester State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup on a rainy and windy Friday night at Coughlin Memorial Field.
The Bears improve to 3-3 on the season and 3-1 in the MASCAC with their third straight win, while the host Lancers fall to 0-6 overall and 0-4 in conference play. The Bears are now 23-11 all-time versus the Lancers (12-4 on the road) as the two teams first met in 1986 and have played every season since.
Senior quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) completed 19 of 24 pass attempts for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns to pace the BSU offense, while the Bears' defense allowed just 165 yards of total offense, recorded five sacks and forced two turnovers including an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
BSU sophomore wide receiver Nathan Ellis (Dartmouth, Mass.) grabbed four receptions for a career-high 121 yards and a touchdown.
After both teams fumbled on their opening possessions of the game, the Lancers got on the board with a six-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Aaron-Moses Williams (Springfield, Mass.) to junior wide receiver Kyler Brown (Chelmsford, Mass.). The touchdown capped off a four-play, 57-yard drive highlighted by a 42-yard pass from Williams to senior tight end Zach MacAlister (Gardner, Mass.).
The next four possessions ended in punts. Bridgewater then strung together a ten-play, 57-yard drive with D'Emilia finding sophomore receiver Maurice Ashley (Brockton, Mass.) in the corner of the end zone on fourth and goal from the six to make it a 7-6 game. The extra point attempt, however, was no good.
Following a punt, Bridgewater State put together a 20-play, 89-yard drive which took more than nine minutes (9:15) off the clock in the second quarter. The Bears had first-and-goal at the one-yard line, but were unable to score. A touchdown pass was called back due to an ineligible man downfield penalty, and a fourth-and-six pass attempt fell incomplete.
Bridgewater State took the opening possession of the third quarter and quickly marched 50 yards on six plays down to the Worcester 14. The Bears then fumbled the ball away to end the scoring threat.
Following three straight punts, D'Emilia hooked up with Ellis on a 90-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to give the visitors the lead. D'Emilia's two-point conversion pass to junior receiver T.J. Hairston (Watertown, Mass.) was successful as the Bears made it a 14-7 game with 46 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
A blocked punt went out of the end zone for a safety to cut the Lancers' deficit to 14-9 with 9:59 remaining in the final period.
Following the free kick, BSU senior safety Mark Wilson (Foxborough, Mass.) returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears the 21-9 advantage.
Wilson finished with eight tackles (three solo) to go along with his pick-six. Freshman linebacker Ben McMahon (Somerset, Mass.) notched a team-high 11 tackles with half a sack, while sophomore linebacker Steven Silvia (Dighton, Mass.) checked in with nine tackles (four solo) with a sack and 1 1/2 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker John MacDermott (Bridgewater, Mass.) added nine stops, for the Bears, while sophomore cornerback Jaren Alves (East Providence, R.I.) and freshman safety Grayson Hardy (Danville, Va.) tallied two pass breakups apiece, and defensive linemen Chris Gemayel (Sr., Dedham, Mass.), Maxwell Kroll (Sr., North Attleboro, Mass.) and Dimitri Dorinvil (So., Brockton, Mass.) combined for 12 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks.
Bridgewater State finished with 369 yards of total offense (252 passing, 117 rushing) and 20 first downs, while the Bears' defense limited the Lancers to 31 rushing yards and nine first downs. Worcester also went just 3-for-16 (19%) on third down conversions. The Lancers were flagged for 11 accepted penalties totaling 95 yards.
Sophomore running back Kerwin Smith II (Sicklerville, N.J.) paced the BSU ground game with 56 yards on 10 carries, while classmate Jeremy Soule Jr. (Middleborough, Mass.) had 57 rushing yards on 15 attempts.
Offensively for the Lancers, Williams completed 13 of 26 pass attempts for 130 yards and a touchdown with an interception.
Sophomore linebacker Nick Ashley (Worcester, Mass.) led all players with 12 tackles (three solo) to go along with a forced fumble, while sophomore defensive back AJ Byard (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) added 11 stops (six solo) and a pair of pass breakups for the Lancers.
The Bears celebrate Homecoming Weekend next Saturday (Oct. 19) by welcoming UMass Dartmouth to Swenson Field. Kickoff is slated for 3:00 PM. Following a bye week, the Lancers travel to UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, October 26th to take on the Corsairs also at three.
Notes: The touchdown strike from D'Emilia to Ellis marked the fifth longest passing play in school history....D'Emilia moved into second place on the Bears' all-time passing list (4,922 yds.) and fourth among the program's all-time leaders in passing touchdowns (42). He passed 2019 BSU Hall of Fame inductee Mike McCarthy in both categories. McCarthy threw for 4,672 yards and 41 touchdowns from 2010 to 2013.