Tag: Blaise Branch

Mass. College Football: Framingham State 16, Bridgewater State 0

By Matt Noonan 

BRIDGEWATER, MA – On Friday evening, Framingham State’s football team exhibited why they were a New England Football Conference preseason favorite by defeating Bogan Division rival Bridgewater State, 16-0.

“This was special,” exclaimed Framingham State head coach Tom Kelley. “I thought turnovers and penalties were going to be huge and it was and that was maybe the difference.

“Our defense just came up huge and we were really, really concerned about [our opponent’s] running game, but we shut the running game down and we knew if we made them pass that we had a real good shot [of earning our first Bogan Division win].”

The Rams defense held the Bears to 148 yards of total offense (30 yards on the ground), along with seven first downs.

Bridgewater State’s quarterback Mike McCarthy, who registered two scores on the ground last weekend against Endicott College, finished Friday’s affair 13-of-32 for 118 yards with two interceptions. He also ran 11 times, but accounted for 10 negative yards, too.

“We knew we had it in us. We just had to come out, play hard and just basically come out here and play,” stated Framingham State’s Jeff Touron, who concluded the contest with three solo tackles and two sacks.

Both squads began the game with similar drives, which resulted in missed field goals. Yet, the Rams managed to capitalize on the Bears first mistake of the evening, a fumble by Blaise Branch that resulted in a two-yard touchdown by quarterback Matthew Mangano five plays later.

The Bears attempted to respond, but numerous penalties halted drives and allowed Framingham State the opportunity to double their lead with a nine-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Matthew Silva to Philip Clain with nine seconds remaining in the first half, which provided the Rams with a 14-0 cushion at the break.

“[Those two scores] definitely boosted everyone’s morale and everyone really, really believed in it,” explained Framingham State running back Melikke Van Alstyne, who finished with 107 yards on 30 carries.

“We already believed [we could win this game], but that [provided] a little poke right there,” added Van Alstyne.

Bridgewater State started with the ball once the second half commenced, but Framingham State’s defense forced the Bears to punt four times.

The Rams offense struggled to move the ball in the second half, too, so the defense went to work and not only recorded a safety early in the fourth quarter, but also a game-clinching interception by Ony Ramos on the Bears final drive.

“Coming off the block [prior to recording the safety], most of their plays were just all sprint outs and in that situation, down and distance I figured it’s going to be a sprint out one way or another, [and] as soon I came off the block all I saw was [their] quarterback [and] there wasn’t a tailback in my way and I just capitalized on the opportunity,” Touron said of safety.

“Basically at the half, coaches told us [to] stay composed, do our assignment and plays will come to us, just make the play when you have the opportunity.”

Coach Kelley added, “We had to take the edge away from [Mike McCarthy]. He was rolling out and he was getting some pretty good looks from his receivers, and he’s a good athlete, he killed us last year with his feet, so we thought if we kept him in the pocket we’d have a pretty good chance of being successful.”

Framingham State has now won three consecutive games against Bridgewater State, which dates back to 2009. The Rams have also strung together three wins since their opening day loss to the Gulls, too.

Mass. College Football: Bridgewater State 20, Endicott 14

By Brian Willwerth 

BRIDGEWATER, MA – On a spectacular Saturday afternoon for football, Bridgewater State established itself as one of the teams to beat in the New England Football Conference (NEFC).

The Bears’ quarterback put on a show, the defense held a high-powered offense in check for most of the game, and the end result: a 20-14 victory over Endicott College, in a battle of 2-0 teams.

BSU got on the board first, taking advantage of an Adam Toman fumble recovery deep in Gulls’ territory. Jarred Diorio split the uprights from 35 yards out to put the Bears up 3-0. They doubled their lead on their next drive when Diorio was good again, this time from 26.

In the second quarter, Bears quarterback Mike McCarthy capped off a 15-play, 78-yard drive by sneaking it in from two yards out. With the two-point conversion, the hosts were up 14-0 at the half.

During the first 30 minutes, the defense held the Gulls offense in check. This was an Endicott team that had scored 100 points in the first two games. But quarterback Drew Frenette was intercepted once in the half, and Endicott missed a pair of field goals, one of which hit the upright just before halftime.

The Mike McCarthy show continued in the second half. Doing more with his feet than his arm, the junior from Edgartown scampered 31 yards for his second score of the day, capping off an 80-yard drive. The extra point was blocked, but Bridgewater State still had a 20-0 advantage. McCarthy finished as his team’s leading rusher, with 144 yards on 20 carries. Blaise Branch also broke the 100-yard plateau on the day, tallying 103 of the Bears’ 307 yards on the ground.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater State continued to pitch a shutout for three quarters. When the Gulls threatened late in the third, Brian Smith came up big, picking off Frenette in the end zone.

Down by 20 entering the final period, fans quickly saw that you can’t keep this Endicott offense down forever. Using a hurry-up mode, Frenette led his team on a pair of 76-yard drives. Both drives ended with touchdown passes to Greg Dellorco. All of a sudden, it was a six-point game. And it left some of us wondering: would that blocked PAT end up being a factor?

Things got really interesting when Nick Kozlowski blocked a punt on the ensuing Bears possession, setting the Gulls up with great field position. Momentum had clearly swung to the visitors. But on fourth and sixth, Justin Cruz came up with a huge tackle, preventing Jimmy Nguyen from picking up a first down after catching the pass. The Bears took over with more than five minutes remaining, and were able to grind out the clock the rest of the way.

Frenette finished 27-of-35 for 219 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Mike Wheeler and Jared DiBiase combined to rush for 125 yards for the Gulls.

The Bears are 3-0 for the first time since 2005. They’ll take on Framingham State on Friday night. Endicott will stay on the road to face Salve Regina.