FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – The Framingham State University football team clinched its third straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title and ninth in the last ten years as the Rams posted a 40-20 victory over visiting Bridgewater State University on Saturday afternoon at Bowditch Field.
The Rams improve to 7-2 on the season and 7-0 in the MASCAC with their seventh straight win, while the Bears fall to 5-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Framingham has won nine of the last ten meetings between the two teams, while Bridgewater holds a 32-15 advantage in the all-time series which dates back to 1973.
Senior quarterback Adam Wojenski (Stratford, Conn.) threw for 203 yard and four touchdowns to pace Framingham State, while freshman running back Devaun Ford (Mashpee, Mass.) rushed for 135 yards and a score.
Senior quarterback Stefano D'Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass.) completed 20 of 38 passes for 273 yards and pair of touchdowns, including the 50th of his career, to lead the way for Bridgewater State. Senior wideout William Watts (Pembroke, Mass.) caught six passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, while classmate T.J. Hairston (Watertown, Mass.) grabbed five receptions for 97 yards. Senior running back Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Height, N.Y.) added 82 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Bridgewater State scored on the opening possession of the game as the Bears marched 66 yards on six plays capped off by a 22-yard touchdown pass from D'Emilia to Watts. The PAT, however, was blocked as the visitors held the early 6-0 lead.
The rest of the first half belonged to Framingham State as the Rams found the end zone on five of their first six possessions. Ford scored on a two-yard run, Wojenski tossed touchdown passes to senior tight end Jacob Maher (Mansfield, Mass.), freshman receiver Elijah Nichols (Burlington, N.J.) and sophomore wideout Emmanuel Exilhomme (Roslindale, Mass.), and junior linebacker Anthony Behonick (Rutland, Mass.) returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown.
Santavicca found the end zone on an eight-yard run midway through the second quarter to account for the Bears second touchdown of the first half.
Framingham State would take a 33-13 lead into the intermission.
Bridgewater State capitalized on a Ram fumble to open the third quarter. Taking over at midfield, the Bears moved the ball 50 yards on six plays with D'Emilia connecting with Watts on a one-yard TD pass.
The turning point of the second half would come on successive drives late in third quarter and early in the fourth.
After forcing a punt, the Bears strung together a 13-play, 78-yard drive which took nearly six minutes off the clock. Bridgewater had first-and-goal at the Framingham ten, but could not score as the Rams came up with a big stop on fourth down.
On the ensuing drive, the Rams moved the ball down to the BSU 24. On fourth-and-14, Wojenski connected with sophomore tight end Austin Nunn (Bellingham, Mass.) on a 24-yard touchdown pass to make it a three-score game, 40-20, and put the game out of reach with 11:46 left to play in the final period.
Framingham racked up 384 yards of total offense on the afternoon, including 181 on the ground. The Rams converted on 7 of 12 third downs (58%) and were penalized nine times for 88 yards.
Bridgewater finished with 367 yards of total offense with 289 coming through the air and just 78 on the ground. The Bears went 5-for-13 (38%) on third down conversion and just 1-for-4 on fourth down.
Behonick paced the Framingham defense with six tackles (four solo), including two for loss, to go along with a fumble recovery and his pick-six. Senior strong safety Carls Alphonse (Somerville, Mass.) notched a game-high 11 tackles (five solo) and broke up a pass, while sophomore linebacker Cully Curran (Arlington, Mass.) tallied eight tackles (five solo) with two pass breakups.
Sophomore defensive end Dimitri Dorinvil (Brockton, Mass.) registered a team-high seven tackles (six solo) for the Bears with 2 ½ tackles for loss and a sack. Senior strong safety Mark Wilson (Foxborough, Mass.) checked in with six tackles (three solo) and a pass breakup, while sophomore linebacker Steven Silvia (Dighton, Mass.) contributed five tackles and recovered a fumble.
Both teams wrap up regular season play next Saturday at noon. The Bears travel to Mass. Maritime Academy for the 41st Annual Cranberry Bowl, while the Rams head to Worcester State University.
Notes: D'Emilia became just the third quarterback in BSU football history to throw for 50 touchdowns. BSU Hall of Famer Dan Maurer (1996-99) holds the school-record with 57 touchdowns, while Adam Camobreco (2002-05) tossed 50 TD passes….D'Emilia also cracked the 2,000-yard passing barrier (2,013) for the second straight season….Hairston moved into tenth place on the Bears' all-time receptions list with his 84th career catch.