NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Senior defensive back Joune Fraser (Barnstable, MA/Barnstable HS/Erie CC) picked up a fumble and raced 88 yards for a touchdown on the next to last play of the third quarter and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team, held o n to defeat visiting Plymouth State, 23-21, in a New England Football Conference Boyd Division game at Cressy Field Saturday.
The Panthers were driving late in the third quarter, and had moved 74 yards in 11 plays to the Corsair 16 when senior running back Andrew Foglia (Montauk, NY/East Hampton HS) was stripped by UMD freshman defensive back O'Brian McHayle (Walpole, MA/Bishop Feehan HS/Wilbraham and Monson HS). Fraser picked up the loose ball and raced down the sideline to give UMass Dartmouth a lead they never relinquished.
The Panthers took the kickoff and drove 59 yards in 18 plays at the start of the fourth quarter, using up 10:13 of game time. But senior defensive lineman Nick Manganello (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS) stopped PSU senior quarterback Jake Tyler on third and two at the Corsair 14, and senior Nick Carvallo's 30 yard field goal attempt sailed wide to the right. The Panthers had two more possessions, but UMD held them without a first down and ran out the clock.
PSU grabbed the early lead, scoring late in the first quarter on a two-yard run by graduate student running back Dustin Matthews (Eliot, ME/Marshwood HS) and early in the second quarter on Tyler's 28 yard scoring pass to Carvallo. Just 41 seconds after the Panthers' second score, senior quarterback Patrick Orlando (Manchester, MA/Essex HS/Saint Anselm connected with freshman receiver Abiola Abonshade (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS) to cut the lead to 14-6 after senior kicker Edgar Osols' (Summit, NJ/Summit HS) extra point was blocked.
Orlando scored on an 11 yard run midway through the second quarter to make it 21-13, but Tyler hit junior wide receiver Zac Iovanella (North Andover, MA/North Andover HS) on a 16 yard scoring play with 1:27 left in the first half to make it 21-13. Osols connected on a 45 yard field goal as time expired in the first half to make it 21-16 at the intermission.
"This was a huge win for us against a good Plymouth State team," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "We got off to a slow start, running only a few plays in the first quarter, but we settled it down and turned it around in the second quarter. We started to move the ball and take some pressure off our defense, and our defense stepped up today. We used a lot of different sets and we were able to keep rotating guys in to make sure everyone was fresh."
Orlando completed 11 of 26 passes for 128 yards and rushed nine times for 48 yards for the Corsairs. Foglia carried 24 times for 91 yards for PSU, Tyler was 7 of 15 for 105 yards and rushed 18 times for 51 yards. Fraser made 11 stops, including eight solo tackles, and broke up a pass in addition to his game-winning score. Josh Morgan led PSU with eight stops, including six solos, and had two tackles for 15 yards in lost yardage.
UMass Dartmouth improved to 1-3 and 1-0 in the NEFC Boyd Division with the victory, while Plymouth State dropped to 1-3 and 0-1 with the defeat. The Corsairs will return to action when they visit MIT next Saturday. PSU will host Nichols next Saturday.