FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – The Framingham State University defense stopped the Bridgewater State University Bears on a fourth down with 1:29 remaining in the game to preserve a 28-20 victory in New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division action in Framingham on Homecoming and Family Weekend.
With the win the Rams even their record at 2-2 on the year and 1-0 in the division, while the Bears suffer their first loss and are 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the Bogan Division.
The Rams jumped out to a 21-0 first half lead on a pair of touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Matt Silva (Dracut, Mass.) to senior wide out James McCarthy (Newton, Mass.). The first Silva to McCarthy connection – a 6-yard strike - came with 4:03 remaining in the first quarter and the second – a 12-yard pass that McCarthy broke a tackle to reach the end zone – came with 7:22 remaining in the second.
The third Rams touchdown came after the Rams defense forced a turnover setting up the offense with a short field. Sophomore linebacker Patrick McGrath (Everett, Mass.) stripped the ball from BSU quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) and junior defensive back Tyrone Notice (Lawrence, Mass.) scooped the loose ball and returned it all the way to the BSU 30-yard line.
The Rams lost yardage on their first three attempts from the 30 and faced a fourth and 12, but Silva scrambled to avoid pressure and completed a 22-yard pass to Jared Gauthier (Dracut, Mass.) to keep the drive alive. Three plays later freshman quarterback Al Krasco (Medford, Mass.) scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 2-yard quarterback keeper.
The Rams amassed 300 yards of total offense in the first half to just 44 yards for the Bears including a 176-6 advantage on the ground.
Trailing 21-0 to start the second half, Bridgewater State took the kickoff and drove 53 yards on seven plays for their first score of the game. McCarthy rushed for 24 yards and senior running back Justin Fuller (Berkley, Mass.) rushed for 19 yards to fuel the drive that was capped by a 7-yard fade in the back corner of the end zone from McCarthy to Matt Monahan (Wrentham, Mass.).
The Rams defense came up with another turnover, an interception by Notice, to set up the Rams final touchdown of the game. Notice intercepted McCarthy at the Bears 29-yard line and returned it nine yards. A Melikke Van Alstyne (Salem, Mass.) rush picked up two yards on first down, but a pair of incompletions put the Rams in a third and long. Krasco picked up the first down on a 9-yard keeper and Van Alstyne took over from there rushing twice to move the ball down to the three yard line and eventually punching it in from three yards out with his first touchdown of the game.
Bridgewater State would cut the Rams lead to one possession with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns. McCarthy scored on a 5-yard run with 10:49 remaining to close the gap to 28-14. After a Bears interception with 7:38 on the clock, Fuller capped a 10 play 64 yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:40 remaining.
The Bears defense forced a three and out and, after the Rams punt, had a chance to tie as they regained possession with 2:57 remaining and no timeouts. Facing a fourth and five McCarthy completed an 18-yard pass to Chris Constantine (Hingham, Mass.) giving the Bears a new set of downs near midfield. After a pair of incompletions, McCarthy converted a 19-yard pass to Constantine at the Framingham 34-yard line on third down. After a 2-yard rush by McCarthy and a pair of incompletions the Bears faced a decisive fourth down with 1:29 left. The Rams defense came after McCarthy and forced a fumble which was batted backwards by several players before eventually being fallen on by a Bear. The Bears turned the ball over on downs and the Rams were able to take a knee and secure the victory.
Van Alstyne finished the game with 165 yards on 30 carries with a score as he was named the 2011 recipient of the Calder Award which is presented annually at Homecoming in memory of former Ram John Calder. Silva finished the game with 122 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns to go along with 49 yards rushing on nine carries. Krasco rushed for 40 yards on nine carries with a touchdown, but struggled throwing the ball completing just 2 of 7.
McCarthy finished the game 13 of 32 for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Bears, while being sacked three times. Constantine caught four balls for 70 yards, while Fuller also had four receptions and rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams defense was led by Mark Nunes (Taunton, Mass.) who picked up 11 tackles and two pass breakups, while McGrath finished with nine tackles, one for a loss, and a forced fumble.
The Rams return to action next Saturday as they travel to Massachusetts Maritime Academy for a noon kickoff, while the Bears host Westfield State on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.