Western Connecticut State deals Bison 44-7 setback
DUDLEY, Mass. – Freshman Grant Klimek (Toms River, N.J.) scored an 88-yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game for the Nichols College, which suffered a 44-7 loss to Western Connecticut State University in non-conference football action Friday night at Vendetti Field.
Sophomore Connor Richard (Londonderry, N.H.) recorded a game-high 10 tackles (eight solo) as the Bison (1-1) were outgained 474-165 on the evening. Three different Nichols quarterbacks combined to complete five of 16 attempts for 123 yards and one score while Colonials junior signal caller Will Arndt (Sandy Hook, Conn.) went 13-for-15 for 155 yards and one touchdown.
Western Connecticut State (1-0) piled up 299 rushing yards, led by senior Tory Mack (Stratford, Conn.) with a game-high 86 yards on 11 carries (7.8 ypc) and three touchdowns. Junior Octavias McKoy (Stratford, Conn.) compiled 84 yards on 11 carries (7.6 ypc) and one score. The Bison ground attack was led by sophomore QB Quillian Respass(Huntington, N.Y.), who gained 26 yards before leaving in the second quarter with an injury.
"The MASCAC is in trouble because Western Connecticut is phenomenal" said Nichols head coach Kevin Loney. "They have zero deficiencies. They're big, fast, athletic, and physical. They have a lot of veterans running around out there. It was a challenge for our guys and I thought we played hard. They did a good job taking away some of the things we wanted to do. We have to continue to battle."
After Klimak took a screen pass to the house to open the scoring 4:54 into the contest, Mack's six-yard TD run capped a five-play, 49-yard drive and tied the game at seven. Western Connecticut then exploded for 27 points in the second half to build a 34-7 halftime lead. Mack's second scoring run – a 10-yard scamper – capped a six-play, 57-yard drive and put the Colonials ahead for good at 13:50 of the second. His third touchdown was a 19-yard burst that came with 6:55 on the clock in the second and pushed the score to 20-7 (missed PAT). A 38-yard field goal by sophomore Connor Falaguerra (Milford, Conn.) and a one-yard TD run by McKoy closed the first-half scoring.
With most of the starters for both sides on the bench for the majority of the second half, the Colonials put up a 38-yard field goal by junior Michael Killoran (West Hartford, Conn.) late in the third before freshman Nicholas Guardi (New Fairfield, Conn.) closed an eight-play drive with a seven-yard touchdown to account for the final score.
Defensively, the Colonials recorded seven tackles for loss – including four sacks – and were led by senior Williams Birdsell (Newtown, Conn.) with seven tackles (five solo). Freshman William Contois (Palmer, Mass.) tallied his first collegiate sack for Nichols.
Nichols returns to action in two weeks when it heads to New London, Conn. for a 1:30 p.m. New England Football Conference (NEFC) matchup with Coast Guard. The Colonials head to New Hampshire to play Plymouth State on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.