WESTFIELD, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth seniors Eddie Sheridan (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Pat Sullivan (Everett, Mass.) headlined the the 2016 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Football Major Awards program on Wednesday, earning Offensive Player of the Year and Offensive Lineman of the Year accolades, respectively. As voted upon by the league’s coaches, the Corsairs garnered 10 spots on the All-Conference teams, the most in program history.
Sheridan and Sullivan join senior Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.), senior Austin Peters (Taunton, Mass.) and sophomore Antonio Mitjans (Ashland, Mass.) on the First Team. In addition, five were recognized as Second Team honorees, including sophomore Abbi Bamgbose (Worcester, Mass.), senior Marcel Flynn (Taunton, Mass.), junior Marvey Mathurin (Woburn, Mass.), sophomore Tony Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) and junior Mike Tinlin (Pembroke, Mass.).
Sheridan becomes the first UMass Dartmouth offensive major awardee since Cory Williams was named the NEFC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004. With 1,087 rushing yards, he is the first Corsair running back since J.T. Harold in 2008 to surpass 1,000 yards on the ground in a season and is making his debut on the All-MASCAC teams. Nationally, Sheridan finished the regular season ranked 22nd with 120.8 yards per game and 27th in total rushing yards. He rushed for 100-plus yards in eight of his nine games on the year, and reached a career-high with 203 yards on the ground on Sept. 17 against Westfield State. Sheridan led a multi-faceted Corsair ground game that accumulated 2,879 yards on the year, just 51 shy of the program record. He rushed for seven touchdowns on the season, including two with a career-long run of 87 yards in his record day against the Owls.
Sullivan, a captain this season, repeats as a First Team lineman and collects his first major award. He, fellow guards Peters and Tinlin, along with center Mitjans powered the strongest offensive line in the conference this season, anchoring the Corsairs to a school record 4,641 total yards offense. UMass Dartmouth averaged 464.1 yards per game, posting 500-plus yards in six separate outings including a 705-yard performance against Mass. Maritime. The quartet was key components in a season that saw a league-best 2,879 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns, with three Corsair backs totaling above 500 on the season. The linemen also provided protection for 1,762 passing yards (176.2 per game) and MASCAC-best 19 passing touchdowns while allowing just 19 sacks. As a unit, the Corsair offense scored an average of 30.1 points per game, totaling 40-plus points in four games.
For the third-straight year, the Corsair offense was piloted by Burnham at the quarterback position. This fall, Burnham was a consistent passing threat, completing 53 percent of his passes for a total of 1,588 yards. He completed 18 touchdown passes to pace the MASCAC, while throwing a career-low six interceptions. Burnham posted a season-high 277 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns against Mass. Maritime, and gained 104 rushing yards on the season, including 12 carries for 72 yards in the 35-34 overtime victory over Framingham State. The senior wraps up his time at UMass Dartmouth as one of the most prolific passers in program history, as he owns the career record for completions (432) while ranking second in career passing yards (5,374) and career passing touchdowns (56).
After a strong freshman campaign, Bamgbose became the go-to receiver for the Corsairs as a sophomore, pulling in 40 receptions for 550 yards. Six of his catches went for touchdowns, and he averaged 13.8 yards per reception on the season. Against Hartwick on Sept. 10, Bamgbose made a career-high nine receptions for a total of 117 yards, and snagged a season-long 40-yard catch against Mass. Maritime. Most notably, he was the difference-maker in UMass Dartmouth’s 35-34 overtime win against Framingham State, making a 24-yard touchdown reception in extra minutes before taking the reverse into the end zone for the game-winning two-point conversion.
Three from the UMass Dartmouth defensive corps received Second Team honors, with Flynn anchorning the middle. He posted a career-high 40 tackles as a starter for the fourth-straight year. A force on special teams, he registered a career-high and MASCAC-best four blocked kicks on 2016. At Bridgewater State on Oct. 7, Flynn wrapped six tackles including two for loss while blocking a Bear extra-point in the first quarter. He produced a career-high seven tackles at Plymouth State on Sept. 24, and finishes his UMass Dartmouth career with 131 tackles, four sacks, 19 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception in 39 games.
Mathurin repeats as a Second Team linebacker this season. With 81 tackles, the junior topped the Corsair roster, twice turning in double-digit tackles on the season. In the season finale against Fitchburg State, Mathurin set a new program record for tackles for loss in a season, finishing with 16.5 on 2016. He posted a season-high 12 tackles, including nine solo, at Western Connecticut and 10 in the victory against Framingham State. Additionally, Mathurin proved to be a bull hawk at creating turnovers, registering three interceptions on the season and recovering a fumble against the Rams. After the UMass Dartmouth defense shut out Mass. Maritime on Oct. 22, Mathurin was tabbed as the MASCAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Upon transferring from Division I Bryant prior to the season, Slaughter quickly established himself as an impact player in the Corsair secondary. He tied Mathurin for the most interceptions on the roster with three, and broke up five passes on the season including a pair against Westfield State. In two separate games, Slaughter reached double-digit tackles, leading his squad with 14 on Sept. 10 against Hartwick and 11 against Framingham State on Oct. 1. The sophomore registered his first career sack in the Oct. 22 shutout victory of Mass. Maritime.
In head coach Mark Robichaud’s 10th season, the 2016 Corsairs featured the most productive offense in program history, finishing with a record 4,641 total yards. That mark led all MASCAC teams by over 400 yards, and UMass Dartmouth’s 2,879 offensive yards in league play paced the conference by over 1,000. During the course of the season, the Corsairs handed Framingham State their first-ever MASCAC loss and produced the program’s first shutout since 2011 with a 33-0 victory over Mass. Maritime. UMass Dartmouth additionally claimed wins over Mount Ida, Westfield State and Worcester State to close with a 5-5 overall record and 4-4 slate in the league, the program’s highest win totals since 2011.