Bumpus steals spotlight in MASCAC shootout

Kevin Bumpus not only led his team to a shootout win on Saturday, he did it coming off the bench with his team in a big hole.
Worcester State photo by SportsPix

Mike Stanton and Keith Caruso have been setting records since stepping onto the Mass. Maritime campus four years ago. And winning games with a frequency that Buccaneer fans had not be accustomed to. The team has won 17 games in their three-plus seasons after the program had only nine wins in the previous six years.

But Saturday they fell to Worcester State and a quarterback who had a relief performance that would be the envy of Mariano Rivera. Kevin Bumpus came off the bench in the second quarter in relief of Pat Viencek and threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns.

Even Stanton, who has rewritten the passing records at Mass. Maritime, had to appreciate what Bumpus did.

"That was outstanding," Stanton said. "I knew he was a good quarterback and when he got in a groove I knew we were in trouble."

Kevin Stanton picked off Viencek and set a Mass. Maritime record while tying an NCAA record, by returning the interception 100 yards to a touchdown. Enter Bumpus.

There were all kinds of records set in Worcester State's 64-63 victory. But maybe the most incredible aspect of the shootout was that the Bucs had a 41-14 lead.

"Maybe in hindsight you say we should have slowed it down (with that lead)," Mass. Maritime coach Jeremy Cameron said.

But the staff discussed it on Sunday morning and felt otherwise.

"We wouldn't have done anything differently," Cameron said. "Where we screwed up was at the end of the game."

The 6-5, 220-pound Stanton owns 17 passing records for the Bucs. Caruso's 134 career receptions is also the school standard.

Stanton doesn't see the tough loss as derailing the season for the 2-1 Buccaneers.

"It's a small bump in the road. We aren't going to let that slow us down," he said.

Stanton said the key to the offense is the tempo. "We try to run as many plays as we can," he said.

The Lancers and Bucs combined for an NCAA record 230 plays in the game. Mass. Maritime set a Division III record with its 44 first downs and also with its 121 plays.

Stanton completed 31 of 49 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns. Heck, even Viencek had completed 18 passes, two for touchdowns, before his exit.

If the records and all the obscene numbers were not enough, the game had a dramatic ending. Bumpus threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Witkus as time ran out for the game-winner.

Worcester State coach Brien Cullen has 159 victories. But this is one that will stand out forever.

Cameron knew this senior class would upgrade the program when they came in.

"We knew we would be better," he said. He knew that recruiting class had improved the skill positions with Mike Stanton, Caruso and tailback Stefan Gustafson who had 223 yards and a touchdown for his 39 carries against the Lancers.

Funny thing about the Stanton-Caruso connection: When Stanton was a high school quarterback playing for North Quincy against Hingham, Caruso intercepted one of his passes. "He never lets me live it down," Stanton said.

Stanton, Caruso and many others in this senior class are from the South Shore.

"I knew a lot of the guys because so many of us were from the South Shore," Stanton said about his arrival four years ago. "I knew we were going to click. I knew we were going to be good."

And he and Caruso really clicked.

"He is one of my best friends at school. We used to run together. He is like a Wes Welker. He is always there for me," Stanton said.

"Mike and Keith work out together is the summer because they live close," Cameron said. "Keith is really smart. He knows how to get open. He has a very high football IQ."

Stanton, because of his size, was the prototype quarterback coming out of high school and looking at Division I and II schools.

"I made all the visits and went to all their camps," he said. "My family was pushing me to go to Mass. Maritime. I had never heard of it."

One of the attractions was the education. "I liked the possibilities you have when you get out of here," the marine engineering major said.

The Bucs have some players from far-flung places like Florida, Georgia and Kentucky, but Massachusetts is the staple when it comes to recruiting.

"People here grow up on the water and they know people at Mass. Maritime, and they know people who work in the industry," Cameron said.

Worcester State is out of the gate at 3-1 and looking to make plenty of noise in the inaugural MASCAC season. Cullen would just as soon the future victories don't require digging out of a 41-14 hole.

The Bucs are 2-1 and looking to prove it is just that "small bump in the road" when they host Fitchburg State this week.

Records and a milestone

It wasn’t quite the record-setting extravaganza that Worcester State and Mass. Maritime staged, but Western New England set program records for margin of victory, total yards, yards rushing and rushing attempts in dismantling Anna Maria 59-0. The Golden Bears had 740 total yards, ran the ball for 580, and had 73 rushing attempts. Freshman Terrence D'Nabian had a 152 yards rushing with touchdown dashes of 50 and 68 yards.

Framingham State's Melikke Van Alstyne went over 5,000 career rushing yards in the Rams' 14-12 win over Western Connecticut.

Getting defensive

Bridgewater State coach Chuck Denune left no doubt during the preseason concerning his excitement about what newcomer Rob Ruggiero might bring to his defense. Ruggiero had 3.5 sacks, including a safety, in the Bears' 30-20 victory over Fitchburg State.

Phil Terio had an interception to go with his 61-yard punt return for a score to help Salve Regina to a 29-21 victory over MIT in a key NEFC game.

Victory for Coast Guard

Coast Guard coach Bill George has to be hoping Victory means victory over the next few years. Freshman quarterback Derek Victory made an auspicious first collegiate start by throwing for 261 yards and two touchdowns and, yes, it spelled victory as Coast Guard defeated Nichols 37-20. Coast Guard's Joe Rizzardi picked off two passes and returned both for touchdowns.

Drew Frenette threw four touchdowns passes for Endicott and now has 10 on the season. Spencer Walsh was the perfect complement, rushing for 149 yards and two scores, as the Gulls beat Curry 42-27.

No place like home

Maybe the ticket to a home game at Trinity should come with a guarantee or victory. There wouldn't have been a need to give refunds for about as long as anyone can remember. The Bantams won their 48th straight in Hartford and their 11th in a row overall. This one was far from easy, however, as quarterback Henry Foye threw the game-winning touchdown with 18 seconds left in a 20-13 win over Williams. It was one of three TD passes for Foye who threw for 225 yards.

Middlebury used its prolific passing game to also go to 2-0 in the NESCAC. McCallum Foote completed 30 of his 46 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He really spread it around with six different receivers having three or more catches. The headliners were Matt Minno with five grabs for 141 yards and a touchdown and Bill Sadik-Khan with seven receptions for 81 yards and a score.

Wesleyan is another 2-0 NESCAC team. The Cardinals did it with balance as they had 203 yards passing and 211 rushing in a 35-6 win at Hamilton.

Bates kept Tufts winless as Shawn Doherty had 182 yards rushing, 42 of the yards come in a TD run.

Amherst is the other 2-0 team in the NESCAC after beating Bowdoin 27-11.

The Big Games

No question about the key game in the ECFC as that conference begins its league season. Gallaudet has fashioned a 3-0 record and many think the Bison are now the team to beat in the league. But Mount Ida is the defending champion and the coaches pick to win the league title again in the preseason. The Bison must make the long trip from D.C. to Massachusetts.

Bridgewater State is a contender in the MASCAC and Western Connecticut is taking on the look of one. The Colonials fell 14-12 to preseason favorite Framingham State. They meet in Bridgewater.

The key game in the NESCAC will take place at Amherst where Middlebury comes to town for a battle of 2-0 teams. 

Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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