WESTFIELD, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth earned a complete sweep of the weekly Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) honors on Sunday afternoon following the Corsairs’ 17-13 victory over Western Connecticut on Saturday.
Freshman quarterback Stephen Gacioch (Tiverton, R.I.) was tabbed the Offensive Player and Rookie of the Week, earning honors for the second week this season, and junior Tony Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) collected Defensive Player of the Week honors. Finally, freshman James Tooker (Harwich, Mass.) was selected as the Special Teams Player of the Week.
Gacioch was responsible for both of UMass Dartmouth’s touchdowns on the contest, and accounted for 280 of the Corsairs’ 379 total yards offense on the game. The freshman threw for 193 yards on 15-of-26 passing, while additionally leading his team with 87 rushing yards. On UMass Dartmouth’s first drive, Gacioch connected with junior Abbi Bamgbose (Worcester, Mass.) for a 26-yard touchdown pass, and in the fourth quarter put the Corsairs in front for good when he found junior Jeremy Jackson (Middletown, R.I.) for 10 yards in the endzone. His final touchdown capped a nine-play, 90-yard drive that included a team-best 33-yard scamper by Gacioch to extend his team’s possession.
For the season, Gacioch is averaging 146.5 passing yards per outing and completing 58 percent of his passes. He additionally ranks second on the UMass Dartmouth roster with 138 rushing yards (34.5 per game).
Slaughter made five tackles on the defensive side for the Corsairs, including two game-clinching plays in the fourth quarter. The junior safety halted a 57-yard catch-and-run by the Colonials near the goal line to keep UMass Dartmouth in front 14-13, and on the next play recovered WCSU’s fumble to put the ball back in the hands of the Corsair offense. Slaughter furthermore registered a tackle for a loss of seven yards and a pass breakup on the game. On four games so far, he currently ranks second on the Corsair defense with 25 tackles and leads the secondary with three breakups.
Tooker made good on all three of his trips out to the field on Saturday evening, converting both extra-point attempts before connecting on a 31-yard field goal to close the scoring for UMass Dartmouth in the fourth quarter. The field goal marked Tooker’s longest of the season thus far, as the freshman is currently 3-for-6 on field goals this season and 10-for-11 on extra-point tries.
With Saturday’s victory, UMass Dartmouth rises to 2-2 on the season and 2-1 in the MASCAC. The Corsairs sit tied for second in the tight conference standings heading into their final non-league matchup this coming Saturday, when they travel to Curry for a 1 p.m. kickoff.