Second Quarter Surge Lifts Western Past Football
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Western Connecticut State University produced five interceptions by three different signal callers to earn a 35-12 victory over homestanding University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this afternoon at Cressy Field in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football contest.
The Corsairs suffered their second-straight setback to fall to 3-5 and 3-4 in the conference circuit, while the Colonials raised their mark to 6-2 and 5-2 in MASCAC action.
Western Connecticut quarterback Will Arndt (Newtown, Conn.) led the offense, connecting on 12-for-20 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Octavias McCoy (Stratford, Conn.) continued to add to his school rushing record with 123 yards on 23 carries and two TDs. Sophomore wide receiver Alex Altermatt (Branford, Conn.) pulled in a team-high five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, while junior wide receiver David Plaza (Waterbury, Conn.) had four catches for a team-best 87 yards and a TD.
UMass Dartmouth freshman quarterback Cullen Hanna (Richmondville, N.Y.) completed four of eight attempts for 55 passing yards and a touchdown, while classmate Trent Barneys (Avenel, N.J.) was eight-for-14 with 53 yards. Barneys also paced the Corsairs on the ground with 68 rushing yards, while sophomore Anthony LaRose (Canton, Mass.) picked up 60 yards.
After exchanging touchdowns in the opening quarter (7-6) with the visitors holding a one-point edge, Western broke the contest open with three touchdowns in the second quarter to build a commanding 28-6 advantage heading into the break. Arndt was the spark for the Colonials, throwing a touchdown pass and rumbling in on a four-yard scamper. The junior signal-caller threw a 26-yard strike to Plaza (Waterbury, Conn.) to fuel the surge, capping three-play 36-yard drive.
Western Connecticut scored 14 points in the span of 40 seconds late in the second quarter to break open a closely contested affair. Arndt added a rushing TD on a quarterback keeper to stretch the Colonials lead to 21-6 with 1:39 remaining in the opening half. Following a fumble by the hosts in their own territory, McCoy capped a two-play drive with a one-yard plunge to balloon the visitors lead to 28-6 at halftime.
The second half was very quiet offensively with the squads exchanging touchdowns. UMass Dartmouth temporarily stemmed the tide with a two-yard rush from freshman running back Mike Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) to narrow the margin 28-12. The Corsairs tried to utilize its momentum with a two-point conversion, but the visitors denied the attempt.
McCoy capped the scoring for Western Connecticut early in the fourth frame, when the senior ripped off a 33-yard run to paydirt. The Colonials only needed two-plays and 30 seconds to seal their third consecutive victory.
Senior linebacker Joe Teixera (Seekonk, Mass.) and junior defensive end Nils Swenson (Ipswich, Mass.) led the UMass Dartmouth defense with seven tackles each. Freshman DaVon Fuller (Washington, D.C.) was one stop off the team lead, while junior safety Cody Merritt (Plymouth, Mass.) recorded two interceptions and three tackles.
On the defensive side for Western, James Glowa tallied a game-high 12 solo tackles with senior defensive back Tyrell Ballard added nine solo tackles and an interception.
UMass Dartmouth will close out its regular-season at 1 p.m. on November 9, when the Corsairs travel to Fitchburg State University for a MASCAC contest.