DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The smothering Fitchburg State defense held true, as UMass Dartmouth could only account for 227 yards offense and two touchdowns on Saturday, with the Falcons holding on for a 22-14 MASCAC victory at Cressy Field on Senior Day.
Score: Fitchburg State 22, UMass Dartmouth 14
Records: Fitchburg State (5-4, 3-4 MASCAC) | UMass Dartmouth (5-5, 4-4 MASCAC)
How it Happened
Fitchburg State's Quinton Perkins (Leominster, Mass.) ended what had been a quiet first quarter at 4:42, giving the Falcons the early advantage as he took a pass from Connor Fitzsimmons (Flushing, N.Y.) 60 yards for the touchdown after the first six drives resulted in punts.
UMass Dartmouth responded five minutes into the second quarter, when the Corsairs took advantage of strong field position, starting with the ball at Fitchburg State's 27-yard line. Backs Eddie Sheridan (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Michael Slaughter, Jr. (Springfield, Mass.) pounded the ball to the red zone, and quarterback Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.) found fellow senior John Beardsley (Essex, Mass.) for the touchdown reception. A failed two-point conversion put the score at 7-6, but the Falcons struck back on the ensuing drive when Christopher Ludwig (Fort Myers, Fla.) completed a 25-yard field goal to head into half.
The Falcons came out of the break on a 54-yard drive, culminating in a four-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Brown (Yonkers, N.Y.), but the Corsairs kept the margin tight when Sheridan punched in the ball from the one and Matt Mitchell (Stonington, Conn.) completed the reverse pass to Burnham for the two-point conversion. With a slim 16-14 lead, the Falcon defense and running back Jevon Brown-Simpson (Lynn, Mass.) went to work for the remaining time.
In the final quarter, Fitchburg State intercepted the Corsairs twice, and Brown-Simpson ran for 103 of his 166 rushing yards on the game to keep the ball in the Falcons' hands. Brown-Simpson ran in a 29-yard touchdown with less than two minutes remaining, putting the score at 22-14, and Ludwig booted a perfectly-placed onside kick moments later to keep possession in the visitors' hands and tick the clock down to the final buzzer.
Inside the Numbers
- The Falcons held UMass Dartmouth to a season-low with 227 total yards of offense, including just 165 yards rushing and 62 yards passing.
- UMass Dartmouth finishes the season as the best offensive team in program history with 4,636 total yards, shattering the previous record of 4,208 set by the 2008 squad.
- The Corsair rushing attack finishes the year with 2,879 yards on the ground. That total is just 51 yards shy of the program record.
- On his third carry of the game, Sheridan became the first UMass Dartmouth running back since 2008 to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for a season. He closes the year with 1,087 rushing yards.
- With three tackles for loss on the day, junior Marvey Mathurin (Woburn, Mass.) set a new single-season record for tackles for loss, finishing with 16.5. The previous standard was 15.5, set by Derek Tarpey in 2013.
- Senior David Collins (Mansfield, Mass.) went out with a career day, leading the Corsairs with 13 tackles and bettering his previous career high of 10, which he set during his freshman year.
- Fitchburg State more than doubled UMass Dartmouth on the passing game, throwing for 155 yards to the hosts' 62.
UMass Dartmouth closes the season at 5-5 overall and 4-4 in league play, posting its highest overall win total since 2011. Fitchburg State will see one more regular season contest, as the Falcons travel to Plymouth State for a noon kickoff next Saturday.