BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University football team posted a 34-16 victory over visiting Coast Guard Academy in New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division action on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The host Bears improve to 3-2 on the season and 1-2 in the Bogan Division, while Coast Guard slips to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in divisional play.
BSU sophomore quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) accounted for four of the Bears' five touchdowns on the afternoon as he threw for two scores and ran for a pair. Junior safety Eddie Jewel (Amherst, Mass.) added a defensive touchdown for Bridgewater State as he opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 67-yard fumble return. Bridgewater would force three turnovers in the game.
In the second quarter with Coast Guard driving for the game-tying score, the Bridgewater defense came up big once again. Starting on their own 11, Coast Guard marched 88 yards on 13 plays down to the BSU one-yard line. However, Coast Guard senior quarterback Jarrod Owens (Monroe, GA) fumbled on a QB sneak with Bridgewater junior linebacker Justin Cruz (Dartmouth, Mass.) coming up with the big recovery.
On the very next play, Coast Guard junior linebacker John Manganiello (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) stopped BSU freshman running back Blaise Branch (Brockton, Mass.) in the end zone for a safety to cut the deficit to 7-2.
After the ensuing Bridgewater kick from the 20, Coast Guard took over at their own 46-yard line. The visiting Bears were not able to capitalize on the good field position as they turned the ball over on downs after four plays.
Bridgewater took over at the BSU 45 and five plays later McCarthy connected with junior wide receiver Jake Scott (Somerset, Mass.) on a 23-yard scoring strike to give the host Bears a 14-2 lead late in the second quarter.
After Coast Guard was forced to punt to open the second half, Bridgewater promptly marched 70 yards on six plays with McCarthy finding the end zone from ten yards out.
Trailing 20-2, Coast Guard made things interesting when Owens capped off a five-play, 56-yard drive with a one-yard QB sneak late in the third quarter.
But Bridgewater answered with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach. First McCarthy and Scott hooked up once again, this time on a 41-yard TD pass with 10:24 remaining in the game. Then, after Jewel intercepted a Jon Resch (Lititz, Pa.) pass and returned it 40 yards to the Coast Guard 18, McCarthy punched it in from a yard out to put Bridgewater up 34-9.
Resch, who replaced Owens in the second half, found sophomore tight end Luke Kenzik (Daytona Beach, Fla.) in the end zone with a 23-yard touchdown pass to cap off the scoring with just seven seconds left on the fourth quarter clock.
Offensively for Bridgewater State, McCarthy completed 4 of 6 passes for 95 yards and also rushed for 50 yards on 15 attempts. Branch, who was filling in for injured running back Justin Fuller (Berkley, Mass.), ran for a game and career-high 111 yards on 21 carries. Bridgewater outrushed Coast Guard by a margin of 213 to 111.
For Coast Guard, Owens finished 13-for-20 for 113 yards, while Resch completed 9 for 17 passes for 120 yards. Owens also ran for 32 yards on 11 attempts. Sophomore running back Tyler Hames (Milford, Conn.) added 74 yards on the ground, and junior wide out Erik Gerken (Tampa, Fla.) led all receivers with eight catches for 84 yards.
Along with his 67-yard fumble return for a touchdown and 40-yard interception return, Jewel also registered four solo tackles. Sophomore defensive end Tate Doehler (Lakeville, Mass.) recorded six solo tackles including two for loss. He also forced a fumble and batted down two passes.
Manganiello led the coast Guard defensive effort with seven tackles (six solo) with one tackle for loss.